The Vanishing of Our Childhood Paradise


Bina Lee, Staff Writer

“I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid.” Some may still recall this iconic jingle from their halcyoned childhoods, but future generations won’t get the chance to. Why? The reason is simple: our favorite childhood place won’t exist anymore. The retail store Toys R Us—headquartered in Wayne, NJ—filed for bankruptcy in September, and it planned to clear out its shelves over the upcoming months. But after a disastrously unsuccessful holiday season, Toys R Us’s chances of paying off its $5 billion debt is dim. Two other toy retailers, Walmart and Target, competitors of Toys R Us, have also struggled to compete with sales of electronics that have attracted and replaced traditional kids’ entertainment in recent years. Moreover, online toy sales have increased more than 55% the past couple of years, according to The New York Times.

On Wednesday, March 14th, the company announced the closing of all stores in Britain, the first sign of the company’s demise. Soon after came the decision to close all 2,000 or more stores in the U.S., which would affect more than 30,000 employees. Currently, blame has been directed at the leadership of the company, particularly David Brandon, the CEO since 2015. As of now, all Toys R Us stores are liquidating their remaining stocks. However, stores located in Canada, a still-booming site for sales, will stay open.

There were at least 17.7 million gift cards that could still be used when liquidation began in 2011, according to Business Insider. If you either own a gift card or have rewards/earnings with Toys R Us, use them as soon as you can, as they’ll last for only 17 more days. If they’re not used by that time, there will be no refunds because the company is expecting to close or sell all its stores in the U.S.

It looks like by the time that April rolls around this year, we’ll have to say goodbye to our longtime friend, Geoffrey the Giraffe, and the cheerful ads displaying the toys that we all wanted. Once a Toys R Us kid, always a Toys R Us kid.