Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Final Visit To Toys R' Us



My girlfriend and I took one final trip to Toys R' Us on Easter Sunday. Not because we wanted to buy anything, but rather to do one final lap around the toy isles before saying farewell to a store we had visited so many times over the past couple decades.

This particular location was special to me because I actually helped build and open it when I was a teenager. I remember assembling the shelves, opening all those cases of toys to stock the shelves for the first time and the mad dash of customers who flooded the place on opening day - You literally couldn't move in there with how many people showed up for the grand opening. It was an experience I've never had again to date in my life. Mainly because my days of working retail are long behind me - and hopefully stay that way.

It was honestly a little sad to see the store in such disarray as it was. My girlfriend commented, "There's nothing here to buy." To which I responded, "That's been the problem for a long time." A sad yet true statement. Toys R' Us hadn't been a fun place to shop since the 80's - At least for me.

What was interesting was the amount of people shopping. With signs of 5% and 10% off everything in the store you would have thought it was Christmas time with how packed the place was. Did people honestly think this minimal discount made the store suddenly the best place in the world to shop?

I'll put it in perspective for you.

I saw a copy of Justice League on DVD, and while I briefly considered picking it up, when I did the math it was a whopping $2.00 off. Target would beat that deal any day just by putting the disc on sale - Which it most assuredly will in the near future. The point being, it was odd that so many people were ravaging the place with a mentality of some form of savings when the reality was the average person would only save a couple bucks.

I have to say I was a little disappointed in an answer I got from the manager when I saw a vinyl sign I was hoping to take home. The sign had the Toys R' Us logo on it and underneath that it said, "The world's greatest toy store." I wanted to grab this for my toy room and was really put off when the manager told me I could come back on the last day the store was open as they would be "selling" all of this stuff then.

Really? Selling it? On any given day the store wasn't going out of business this kind of sign would end up in the trash once they were done with it. Now all of a sudden I have to pay for it? Pass. I don't want it that badly.

It honestly put into perspective the continuous problems the company has had with building quality customer relationships. It was also my queue to leave.

However, I won't let this poor experience (one of many) at Toys R' Us soil the fond memories I have as a child wandering down isles packed to capacity with Star Wars, G.I. Joe, He-Man, Transfomers and so many other iconic toys.

As a final note to this post, I'll share some photos of the isles for no other reason than one last look at the store and to potentially capture a snapshot of history for someone who stumbles across this website twenty years from now.





















This was by far Toys R' Us at its best, but it was still a place where a kid (or adult) could be a kid.

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14 comments:

  1. I also worked at Toys R Us long ago but the store I worked at in San Francisco closed 12 years ago and that was 13 years after I had worked there so I can't really comment on the condition of that store when they closed but I know in 1993 the store was in pretty good shape. I guess it must have been in the early to mid 1990's that things started going downhill. By 2000 I bought nearly all my toys from comic book stores and I was still digging in the bins at KayBee toys and rarely ever went in Toys R Us because they never had what I was looking for when I did.

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    1. Yeah, Toys R' Us pretty much just became a scalpers den. People would wait outside for the store to open, go in and swoop up all the new stuff which was stocked the night before and leave the "garbage" for everyone else.

      The biggest thing of what killed Toys R' Us for me is the last thing you mentioned - I never found what I was looking for.

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    2. Brother Midnight: If its the one I am thinking of, it was in good shape and had a good selection up until the day it shut down. That was a sad day for me as I was then stuck with stores like Jeffrey's toys (and you all think TRU's prices are bad lol.)

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  2. Shame the chain is going out of business, but I suppose it's not a surprise.

    I am surprised they didn't have bigger discounts though!

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    1. You know how it goes. They'll continue to incentivize over the next few weeks with deeper discounts until the place is bone dry.

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  3. I plan to hit TRU one last time in May (Hopefully discounts will be better then). The only stuff I bought in my last two visits thus far were: a Star Wars Micro Machines R2 set from Force Awakens which was $4.50 due to being clearanced from 20 to 5 and a Disney Afternoon Mystery Mini (which even with the discount was over a buck more than Wal-Mart) which I thankfully got one of the TRU exclusives in. My latest visit I got stuff Iwould have gotten regardless: A ship I needed for a display, a Jurassic World dino thatisn't even supposed to be out yet, and a Geoffrey plush (that was actually 30% off).All in all I agree that it is ridiculous and miss the old days.

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    1. Speaking for the location near me, I don't know how much stuff is honestly going to be available come the next couple weeks. The place was getting picked apart.

      I can't imagine they're going to get anymore truck deliveries.

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  4. I went into the Winston Salem NC store yesterday and it was stocked the best I have ever seen it. All hooks filled very few empty spaces on the selves and after a brief conversation with an employ (a guy I actually now or did now a couple decades ago) I learned that the stockroom is still brimming full.The 10 % off is a joke.Im after the Schleich Dinosaurs but Im willing to wait till nearly the very end to get that 60% off.

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    1. I hear you on that. 60% off - Now that's a deal.

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    2. Ah, the Winston Salem store... now that brings back some memories.

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  5. "As a final note to this post, I'll share some photos of the isles for no other reason than one last look at the store and to potentially capture a snapshot of history for someone who stumbles across this website twenty years from now."

    I wish more people, for whatever reason, had thought to do this 20 or 30 years ago.

    Cool, and kinda sad, that you got to help build the store (sad in seeing how it's fallen since, I mean).

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    1. I wish I had. I would love my own photos of toy isles from back in the day.

      It's a real shame to have watched the store fizzle fast from it's early 1990's glory days.

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  6. This is the Toys R Us I shopped at. I finally went in since the announcement. The LEGO shelves were empty due to the 5% off signs. Star Wars shelves were still full - a testament to all the crap that has the Star Wars label slapped on it. I really did have a chuckle with the 5% off signage. Still - sad to see it go. Walmart isn't a good replacement. Gamestop seems to be my only hope.

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    1. Even the day I went the Lego section was empty.

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