Goodbye, Toys “R” Us…

Today is June 29, 2018 and if your local Toys R Us hasn’t closed yet, today is probably the day…

Toys R Us Kids all around the world were shocked enough when the American retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2017. But March 15, 2018 was the final nail in the coffin.

It appeared there was no way out of it this time and 735 locations in the United States would be closed. There were, however, attempts to try and save the brand – GoFundMe campaigns, bids, and even a former CEO was trying to reboot TRU and save it from bankruptcy, but to no avail.

I have such fond memories of Toys R Us as a kid (and also as a grown up kid). The magic of going down aisles & aisles of toys, shelves higher than I can reach loaded with action figures, and the mysterious wall of blue plastic pockets with video game titles that had to be redeemed from a special room.

It’s so hard to believe that hundreds of locations across the country are being emptied out as I’m typing this. Repo men loading up trucks with leftover inventory and fixtures… It’s so heartbreaking!

Online I read some parents were avoiding TRU’s final days so that the image of bare shelves and taped-off sections wouldn’t tarnish their good memories… but that didn’t stop me. I was going to go until they kicked me out!

All those times I went to Toys R Us after getting good grades, or got to pick out a birthday present, or joined in on a midnight release, or a grand opening… There’s no way I’d let it just slip by without a final moment or two inside my favorite childhood store!

Growing up, there were 2 locations near me and I got to visit both before they finally locked the doors.

All stores stopped accepting gift cards and coupons pretty early on, roughly mid-April, so I missed my chance to redeem what store credit I had left. But fairly quickly, prices started dropping. 20-40% off in April, 30-50% off in May, 50-70% off in early June, and finally up to 90% off…

Unfortunately, one of the last memories I’ll have in a Toys R Us will be a belligerent mother arguing with store associates while trying to steal a cheap electronic wand… But that’s okay because I got some amazing parting gifts as the home of our favorite giraffe packs up:

  • Electronic Shadow Trooper $16.98 > $6.79
  • 16 Month Star Wars Calendar $14.99 > $1.50
  • 3.75″ Jakku Rey Speeder $19.99 > $6.00
  • A New Hope Steelbook Blu-Ray $19.99 > $6.00
  • The Last Jedi Poster $6.99 > $0.70
  • The Force Awakens Digital Code + 3 Exclusive Poster Cards $29.99 > $6.00
  • TRU Cardboard Display $10.00 > $5.00

For a whopping total of $31.99 + tax!

They were very strict about no signage being given out. Licensed signs had to be sent back (?) to manufacturers and “nothing with a Toys R Us logo” was to be sold… yet they were selling the above cardboard display! Whatever the case, I now have a fine memento & a piece of TRU history!

Funny enough, when the news first broke out about the bankruptcy, several people asked me how I was holding up – as if a major tragedy hit me. I was actually alright up until today. The enormity of what it means to no longer have a Toys R Us finally occurred to me and I don’t know how to feel!!

As a kid from the 80s & 90s, a collector, and a lover of Geoffrey, Toys R Us will truly be missed. And with that, I close with the lyrics to the Toys R Us theme song. Sing along if you want:

I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid
They got a million toys at Toys R Us that I can play with
I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid
They got the best for so much less, you’ll really flip your lid
From bikes to trains to video games
It’s the biggest toy store there is
I don’t wanna grow up, ’cause baby if I did
I couldn’t be a Toys R Us kid
More games, more toys, oh boy!
I wanna be a Toys R Us kid!

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