Toys R Us growing up, as I'm sure was probably the case for most people of my age, was a damn magical place. Seeing that goofy giraffe and the backwards 'R', that flew in the face of the English language, used to send me into a twitching coma. Growing up in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, it was one of the only toy shops I had any experience with, that and the Early Learning Centre. It blew my mind that cramming that many awesome things in one place was allowed, all other shops in comparison sucked. Hearing that in the next five weeks it will no longer exist in any form is sad but not wholly unexpected.
Now, I am being nostalgic and that's fun and all but I do wanna say that I feel seriously bad for the thousands of people who have just lost their jobs and the many more that will do so in the coming weeks. I have been at two companies in the past that have hit financial difficulties and that situation is not something I would wish on anyone. To those people I send good vibes and digital hugs.
When I was little Toys R Us was like nowhere else on planet Earth. Whereas the rest of the world was bleak and rather boring, Toys R Us was a place FOR KIDS. It felt liberating to have a place I wish could have become a sovereign nation. That's not saying I was one of those kids who demanded he be taken to Toys R Us every weekend and be bought something otherwise there would be hell to pay. In fact, other than a bike that one time, I'd be hard pressed to tell you something my parents bought me from there. That's not to say I'm ungrateful...just VERY forgetful. That's not the point though, The fun wasn't going and getting something, it was going...which from a business standpoint is probably a bit of an issue. There's nothing sales people love more than window shoppers.
You know when you get older and see something you used to love and are a bit disappointed because either 1) it's changed a lot or 2) you're being nostalgic at the memory of something and not what it actually was? No one had that with Toys R Us because it never went through a change. The Toys R Us in Wakefield looks exactly as it did when I was six. That's the problem. As shopping habits changed, Toys R Us didn't. It's brick and mortar shops were left behind as people flocked to Amazon that can have a pink sparkly bouncy ball delivered five hours before you order it. Where does the blame lay? Most definitely at the top. The 'we've always done business like this, it'll be fine' model just doesn't fly anymore. If you're not convenient or have a strong web presence you might as well be a Dodo (you know, extinct). How can you expect people to travel to a physical, overpriced, location when there is a bagillian things to watch on Netflix?
The market is uber competitive. Two year old video games are still £50 and a LEGO playset is £10 more than RRP in Toys R Us! So although I'll mourn the loss of a high street staple and a childhood wonderland I can't say I didn't see this coming...curious those in charge didn't. What's your fondest memory of Toys R Us? Maybe you've worked there, what has been the chatter from management? Comment below or tweet us @ghoulishent.
Founder and Writer