Toys are us.
They really are.
For both adults as well as kids.
It’s been that way in this country since the very start nearly 242 years ago.
Kids, of course, love the toys, and if the truth be told, the adults love buying them. It harkens them back to their own childhood days.
And there was no better store to shop for toys than Toys R Us. It was the LeBron James of toy stores. It was the mecca, the crown jewel, the standard bearer against which every other toy store was measured.
It had everything – and then some. Aisles and aisles of toys, with shelves stacked seemingly to the sky.
Indeed, if you couldn’t find it at Toys R Us, then either it wasn’t made or there were none to be found anywhere.
The name was catchy, so much so that it opened up a whole new realm of slang.
If there was a Toys R Us, why couldn’t there be all kinds of other such stores – Major Appliances R Us, Used Cars R Us, Oil Changes R Us, Furnace Filters R Us, Tennis Shoes R Us, Carpet Remnants R Us, Pizzas R Us, Toasters R Us. You get the picture. The list was endless, and some businesses actually made R Us the end of their name. They were proclaiming that, like Toys R Us, they had everything under the sun in whatever they were selling. It was one-stop shopping.
What name recognition! Every time somebody said "(Insert product line here) R Us," it was a free advertisement for Toys R Us, like saying you’re getting a Coke when you merely want a soda pop, or that you want a Kleenex when you merely need a tissue.
After all that, then, how is the chain that started it all, Toys R Us, going out of business? How is that possibly happening?
Allegedly, reportedly, supposedly, the seismic shift to online shopping in so many product lines at the expense of brick-and-mortar stores, is not the reason for the demise of Toys R Us. It was the incredible amount of debt the company incurred, keeping it from making needed changes and improvements to stay current and provide a pleasant shopping experience.
I’m not a businessman, so I’ll take the experts’ word for it. What I do l know, however, is that the loss of this giant will be felt in a variety of ways.
First of all, Toys R Us was so much bigger and better than everybody else for so long that it basically eliminated the competition. When you wanted a toy, you went to Toys R Us. It was that simple. It wasn’t rocket science.
Now, with Toys R Us out of the picture, where will we go to buy toys? What other toy chains are there?
Tell me. I’m Listening.
There is a huge void to fill, if someone wants to fill, and can fill it.
If someone does step up, it won’t happen overnight. It can’t.
Big companies take a big amount of time to grow to be big.
Then there’s the emotional aspect of this. Don’t forget about that. A lot of stores have gone out of business in the last three of four years, but none has had anywhere close to the kind of effect that the closing of Toys R Us is having – and the news is still fresh. Wait a while, until the doors are locked for good after all the liquidation sales have done their job, and the loss will be felt even more.
Taking kids to Toys R Us was like going to an amusement park without an admission fee. They don’t charge you to just look, and touch, and dream.
We are a nostalgic lot in this country. Going to Toys R Us was a lot of fun for a lot of people – of all ages – for a lot of years. It became part of our culture. It was a tradition, especially at the holidays.
But like a lot of traditions in this day and age of change, change and more change it’s fading into our memory banks and the history books.
Toys R Us won’t be us anymore, and for kids – and kids at heart – everywhere, that’s a big deal.