Nobody wants to grow up. Being a kid in the age of ‘Toys R Us’ told us we didn’t have to.
Unfortunately, all of the ‘Toys R Us’ kids became adults, and being a ‘Toys R Us’ parent isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I remember taking my kids to ‘Babies R Us’ and ‘Toys R Us’ a few years back. I was excited because I remember it being exciting in my youth (it was exciting, right?!), but our recent trips to the store left us with a sour taste in our mouths.
Let’s back up a bit. Does anyone remember going to ‘Toys R Us’ decades ago? In the 80s and 90s when video games were becoming hugely mainstream for kids to play and things like Big Wheels, Barbie, Battle Trolls, and My Buddy where big ticket items? I remember only a couple of trips, but those few times I got to play around, Geoffrey mascots walked around giving high fives and stickers, and every toy I could ever dream of was there. It was like a magical land of imaginative play that I never wanted to leave (and my parents never wanted to enter in the first place).
Fast forward to around 2011-2014. I’m now a parent and decide that ‘Toys R Us’ is the place to go to buy some goodies for my kiddos every so often. I’ve seen a couple of ads for sales they’re having, so I go to check it out sometimes. Lo and behold, I usually can’t find any of these supposed sales. The sales I found had items that weren’t included in the sale mixed in (one particular instance was lunch-boxes). On more than one occasion, we went in with the kids and they didn’t see anything that really interested them that I couldn’t get somewhere else for MUCH cheaper (and no, I’m not talking ‘Amazon’). The kids would actually beg to leave within minutes of entering the store. What was supposed to be a treat for the kids turned into the equivalent of having them wait while I was clothes shopping.
Once we went in with a return. The kids grandparents mistakenly bought them a gift that we couldn’t use as it was only compatible with an iPhone app, which we don’t have. After an hour of back and forth with the associates on the return-ability of the toy, we left with it in tow. There were many reasons they couldn’t take it back (it had to do with a green dot sticker and some kind of clearance, plus the inventory of the store I guess), but the way it was handled was shoddy.
I have not been in a ‘Toys R Us’ since 2014, with the exception of around five minutes in one of those express stores that they had after they bought out ‘KB Toys’ (RIP).
So where do I get toys now? Anywhere else. Literally anywhere. It’s not exclusive to ‘Amazon’ or any other online retailer. Though I like shopping online through them, it’s actually not the number one way I shop. Dollar stores have toys that I don’t freak out over when the kids break them in less than a day. ‘Walmart’ and ‘Target’ have much better prices than ‘Toys R Us’ ever had. There are also a bunch of local toy places that I like to go check out every so often… but, let’s be honest here, usually for me.
Overall, my kids just don’t really like toys. They like video games and some ‘Legos’ and ‘Hot Wheels’. Then there’s certain toys they can play with outside, like different sport balls or ‘NERF’ guns. Mostly, they want time. Time to make science experiments, code on the computer, go on picnics or hikes, draw, sing, and dance. They like to experience things more than they like to imagine things. That may just be my kids, and I’m fine with that, it just means that they don’t really have a ton of toys or care to have many others. Which means I don’t really have to buy them. My kids aren’t ‘Toys R Us’ kids, and at this point my husband and I are too old for that title.
And if that hurt ‘Toys R Us’, I’m sorry. But, we all have to grow up some time.