True story, the last time I walked into a Toys ‘R’ Us store there was a poopy diaper in the middle of the bike aisle, just sitting there waiting to get slipped on like the world’s shittiest banana peel. Then I spent 20 minutes looking for a backgammon board but all the board games were mixed up on the shelves and all I could find was 20 different versions of Monopoly. The cashier, while pleasant and cheerful, appeared to be high as fuck. It was a sad experience and I left empty handed but with a full head of poopy diaper odor and the Toys ‘R’ Us theme song that stayed stuck in my head for several days. It’s stuck in my head right now. It is now also stuck in yours.
If you were a Toys ‘R’ Us kid like me you probably have fond memories of the place and feel some type of way about the fact that they’ve filed for bankruptcy.
According to Forbes:
The retailer sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Monday evening in federal court, seeking a way out of the $5 billion in debt it has racked up. It said it would keep its 1,600 Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us stores open as normal heading into the busy holiday season.
As Forbes suggests, competition from Amazon and Walmart have hit Toys ‘R’ Us hard and it comes as no surprise that it has had a hard time staying relevant. Forbes adds some additional sad, dry facts:
Toys ‘R’ Us has been crippled by debt since it was acquired by private equity firms KKR and Bain Capital, plus real estate company Vornado Realty Trust, in a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout in 2005. It had started the process of going public in 2010, but ultimately pulled the filing, citing “unfavorable market conditions.”
Of course this does little to address the elephant in the room: Will they have to put Geoffrey the Giraffe to sleep?
While Toys ‘R’ Us said the “vast majority” of its stores are profitable, it will likely be reevaluating at its physical footprint during the bankruptcy process.
So while Toys ‘R’ Us works on getting their shit together, we can all reflect on the impact the store has had on our lives as TRU children, indoctrinated into a world of consumerist frenzy. How many kids roamed the aisles with their parents making up their Christmas and birthday lists and were all “I’ll have one of those, one of those, I definitely need one of those and if I don’t get that I’m going to make you wish I was never born”. We may have grown up, against our childhood wishes, but gee whiz, in our hearts we will always be Toys ‘R’ Us kids.