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Game Over?
August 11, 2004 10:38 PM   Subscribe

Game over for Toys "R" Us? A sale of their global toy business is being considered. FAO Schwarz and KB Toys have declared bankruptcy in the past year as discounters such as Wal-Mart have put the toy industry in turmoil. [full NY Times article; req.req]
posted by F Mackenzie (15 comments total)

 
Good thing we still have Fry's Electronics.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:21 PM on August 11, 2004


Well, I'm torn. On one hand, the whole Toys R Us experience was a major part of my childhood.

On the other hand, I wasted too much of my life behind a counter dealing with horrible customers and an even more horrible company as a guest service "associate" there.

I can't say I'll miss Geoffrey all that much.
posted by circe at 1:53 AM on August 12, 2004


I always found the idea of a giant store full of toys to be, unsettling, even as a child. Toys were supposed to be special and different, something you cherished and saved for life, handed down to each generation. Not boxes of cloned plastic shrink wrap in a warehouse to be disposed of. There was something cheap and non-permanent about it all. So the non permanence of TRU seems appropriate and only surprising it lasted so long.
posted by stbalbach at 3:51 AM on August 12, 2004


Growing up in Maine, Toys R Us was a basically Shangri-La-- You heard it advertised, the ads claimed it was amazing, and you couldn't get there.

We got Boston TV channels and the ads with the happy giraffe family, but we didn't get the actual Toys R Us until much later. Then my parents took me to a Toys R' Us in Massachusetts, and I found out that it was pretty much just another store. But I got to meet Chewbacca, which was pretty cool.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:24 AM on August 12, 2004


Wonderful news, in my book. A horrible shopping experience in rows and rows of low-creativity, aesthetically horrific merchandise; Stage I of the embarassment that is American consumer culture.

Not that Wallmart is any better, but I can't help but think this is a positive development.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:31 AM on August 12, 2004


There was this little cute great toy store down the street from me here in Park Slope that closed due to, apparently, a landlord issue.

Like, you really need a bigger selection than that little store had?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:07 AM on August 12, 2004


It's about time. I'm surprised it took this long.

Toys R Us has had its business shares hit by outside vendors for a long time. For traditional toys, stuffed things, Barbies, etc. you can go to any discount retail outlet.

For Video Games, you go to retailers who specialize in video games, if you are an avid gamer. If you're just someone who plays video games occassionally, picking up a copy of whatever is hot and has been out a month can be done at Target just as well.

I'm surprised that their baby supplies business is doing well. They seemed expensive when I was shopping for a baby shower gift for someone. But then I don't know much about babies, I'm in a group of non-producing humans.

Slight aside... I hated Fry's. I went to Fry's for the first time in Downers Grove, IL last month, and the store was terribly laid out, the staff was terrible, and I had to wait in line for a sales rep to sell me a case and processor, and then he tried to upsell me all the wrong parts.
posted by benjh at 5:10 AM on August 12, 2004


Toys ? Us
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:37 AM on August 12, 2004


Toys Я Us
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:39 AM on August 12, 2004


Toys “Я” Us®
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:41 AM on August 12, 2004


Thank God. I worked a Christmas season there as a teenager and have never set foot in the place again. One of the ugliest and most sinister stores ever.

Too bad Wal-Mart is the bigger fish.
posted by swift at 6:31 AM on August 12, 2004


I made it all the way up to "assistant manager" at Toys R Us back in the day. The store I worked at had a 1/4 size of a stock room, and at christmas they would send a truckload of toys every second day, to the point that evey square inch of the stockroom would be filled with toys - to the roof. What a nightmare.
*shudder*

They were pretty good to me though, and I always kind of liked working there, I think mainly for my co-workers, and also all the really cool toys.
posted by Quartermass at 7:08 AM on August 12, 2004


I'm surprised that their baby supplies business is doing well. They seemed expensive when I was shopping for a baby shower gift for someone. But then I don't know much about babies, I'm in a group of non-producing humans.

As a producing human I know why this is. Most other baby sections (WalMart, Sears, Zellers etc) have absolutely craptasic items quality wise. If you're looking for even a marginal step up in quality ToyRUs baby section is your store. For example they carry Medela breast pumps as well as lesser brands where WalMart carries only the cheapest.

And at least in Canada WalMart's toy section blows compared to ToyRUs. Wal Mart especially, with the exception of Lego, has the worst quality stuff imaginable. Not to say ToyRUs didn't have cheap stuff. But they also had at least a little medium quality stuff. And they have a much larger inventory. Where WalMart carries maybe a dozen different plastic model kits ToysRUs carries 50-100+ different kits.
posted by Mitheral at 7:31 AM on August 12, 2004


A bit conflicted by this. ToysRUs sucks pretty bigtime, but Wal-Mart is an even bigger threat to America...
posted by Windopaene at 9:44 AM on August 12, 2004


Toy stores will always have the yuppie market, since their inventory, atmosphere and scope are better, so I assume they're just losing the less discerning and less rich markets.
posted by abcde at 9:54 AM on August 13, 2004


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