Growing up, a trip to Toys R Us was practically along the level of what going to Disney World is for today’s generation of children. Maybe not to that extreme exactly, but it was pretty up there as something my siblings and I looked forward to. I mean, it wasn’t like we actually took family vacations or anything. Toys R Us was something that didn’t seem out of reach for us.
When I first read about the bankruptcy, I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t very optimistic that the store we once all loved, wouldn’t be soon closing its doors for good. I just didn’t realize that “soon” would be only a few months later. I’m a parent who actually shops at Toys R Us, mainly during the holiday season or my daughter’s birthday, but I occasionally went there throughout the year for birthday and baby gifts for loved ones. I used the eCommerce site more often than not, but definitely had no issues going in store when I was in the area, or simply wanted to purchase something and not have to wait a few days for it to arrive. Yes, I’m a rare person who prefers to walk out of the store with a item after spending money on it.
I’ll admit that Toys R Us didn’t always have the cheapest prices, but they price matched, so that wasn’t really a deal breaker for me. I also live nearby a location, so it was never a hassle for me to go in store. My daughter also loved going to Toys R Us because of its name mainly I’m sure. She knew that we could get toys from WalMart, Target or pretty much anywhere, but it was something about a trip to the magical toy place that made her little eyes light up. In fact, my dad just treated her to a trip there a month or so ago to pick out a few toys. Before that, she received a few gift cards for her birthday and went in-store to pick out the items she wanted.
I’ve read and watched think pieces that suggest that demise of the big toy retailer weighs primarily on the tech savvy generation of today’s children, the company’s lack of innovation and the consumer’s desire to buy everything online. I agree that all three are likely valid factors that may or may not have been avoided. I noticed them trying to get more people in-store with Lego and Shopkin’s events and things of that nature. Children and parents today love experiences, and creating more experiences is something is extremely important. Without that innovation, the experiences alone I guess weren’t quite enough to keep them going. We’ve seen many of the retailers of our childhood close the doors, it’s just sad to see that our one and only iconic toy retailer has to be the next one to bite the dust. Regardless of what happens with the Toys R Us name in the future, I hope that this is a lesson to other retailers to truly remain current and creative in efforts to stay afloat and ahead of the game.
I guess it’s true what they say, “You never know what you got til it’s gone.” If all the people who are speaking out about how devastated they are that Toys R Us is closing its doors were actually shopping there, maybe, just maybe this wouldn’t be happening. Who knows?