I was instantly transported back to 1988, as I walked through the sliding doors with my daughter’s hand in mine.
I don’t want to grow up, I’m a TOYS “R” US kid
Very little had changed in this mega toy store. I’m certain over fifty percent of the toys that overloaded the shelves were the same toys I enjoyed during my childhood.
Fisher Price xylophones, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Lite Brites, Easy-Bake ovens, Power Wheels, the game Hungry Hungry Hippo, and Guess Who? All there for the taking.
It was a fantastic trip down memory lane for my husband and I, both products of the eighties. But not so fantastic for a dying retailer that never evolved.
They got a million toys at TOY “R” US that I can play with.
They may have gotten the million toy part correct. The store felt chaotic and overloaded with all the toys haphazardly jammed inside.
They got the best for so much less, it’ll really flip your lid.
Except no one has actually associated them with having low prices in quite some time. And in an Amazon world, it’s probably not the best idea to try to compete using copious amounts of in-store inventory. The liability is too large.
They already had a lot of square footage in their stores. They could have converted a portion of that to encourage experiences…
- an entire magical Island of Sodor set-up for kids to indulge their Thomas the Train day dreams
- a stage to encourage play with dress-up clothes, musical instruments, and story time
- miniature houses with back yards to ignite the imagination using outdoor basket ball hoops, scooters, baby dolls, and play kitchens
- a humongous Lego table featuring the best child-made creation of the day
- or even a race track around the store for those Power Wheels that the kids still love today
Honestly, I’m excited just thinking about the possibilities!
Some will contend that kids are busy playing with iPads and computers and aren’t interested in the same kinds of toys. But every family I know, still has a house full of bikes, train, and video games. The toy market isn’t dead.
From bikes to train to video games, it’s the biggest toy store there is!
It’s just that the retail strategy has evolved and grown up since the eighties. TOYS “R” US should have revised their in-store experience long ago. It feels like they refused to grow up, getting by on nothing more than nostalgia. Eventually memories weren’t paying the bills, and the store is now coming to a close.
I don’t wanna grow up, because maybe if I did, I couldn’t be a TOYS “R” US kid!
Sadly, as of Spring 2018, no one gets to be a TOY “R” US kid.