Toys R' Us memories.
Tomorrow; Friday June 29th, Toys R’ Us will close it’s doors forever. Unless a miracle comes along, that chapter of our lives will be closed. Tonight, I poured myself a beer and prepared to eulogize with some fond memories of Geoffrey and his house of wonder.
My earliest memories of Toys R’ Us come from the gift certificates that they sold called Geoffrey Dollars. These were money specifically to be spent at Toys R’ Us and as a kid, this was better than actual cash. Our parents couldn’t force us to save it for college, or buy savings bonds. This was money meant to be spent, and it would burn a hole in our pockets from the moment we got it. I remember being the alter boy for my aunt and uncle’s wedding, and usually when you’re an alter boy for something other than Sunday mass, you can expect a tip, and I was tipped in Geoffrey dollars. I don’t recall exactly what I bought, but I remember I was going for quantity over quality. My brother, who was also an alter boy, used his 20 to buy a police action play set. I wasn’t interested in 1 big ticket item, I wanted to get as much junk as I possibly could get. We’re talking the 2 big C’s. Candy and clearance.
in 1990, I was 8 years old, and the hottest toy on the market was the Hasbro WWF action figures. I was just falling back in love with WWF wrestling on the heels of Wrestlemania 6. My dad knew I was into it, and one day because I was a particularly good boy, he took me to Toys R’Us and let me buy one. I picked out Big Boss Man, probably after being coaxed by my dad, but I loved him. Once they realized how much I was into this line, thats what all my gifts would be from there on out. Vince McMahon you’re welcome. You and ole Geoffrey got a good number of my parents money for action figures, toy championship belts, a toy microphone that played ring noises and the wresting ring for my action figures. I can’t give you credit for my Jake the Snake Roberts replica Damien snake and bag because we got that at Kiddy City.
In 1994, Sega teamed up with Casio to put out the Sega IR 7000 communicator. It was a “pocket” organizer that held phone numbers, addresses, notes and played silly games. It also let you “communicate” with another person who had one over IR. These retailed for $80 bucks when there were released. In 1995, my friend I bought them in the Toys R’ Us clearance section for 10 bucks. They weren’t worth that. They held our attention for a few days, but there was a reason they were in the clearance section. There was ALWAYS a reason they were in the clearance section.
Christmas of 1993, I finally got a Super Nintendo. It was 2 years after it’s North American release and my brother was 13 and didn’t care, but I was 11 and wanted it sooooo bad. My parents gave it to me for Christmas that year, and my mom cut the proof of purchase out and sent the $3.50 check to Nintendo to get me Super Mario All-stars. That along with Super Mario world kept me occupied the first few days of Christmas Vacation. But we all know that’s never enough, and I was at and age where relatives started giving me actually money for Christmas. A fated trip to Toys R’ Us is where the clearance section would strike again. I saw Super Adventure Island, on clearance for 15 bucks. Most games were $50-$60 so this was a steal. Plus I was a HUGE fan of Adventure Island 2 on Nintendo and Game Boy. This game SUCKED, sorry if you like it but I hated it and couldn’t get past the first level.
I remember a year or two before that, the Nintendo Power Glove was in the clearance section for 10 bucks, and I asked my dad if we could get it. He said it wasn’t worth the 10 bucks, that thing will never work. I don’t know how he knew it, but he did.
It’s really sad that Toys R’ Us is closing, but not for me. For the generations of kids who will never get the experience. It wasn’t a lack of sales and inserted that killed it, it was corporate greed by its adult management, that drove it so far into debt that they had no choice but to liquidate and bail. As adults, buying things online is awesome and convenient and we love it, but there is nothing more boring than buying toys online. Kids want the tactile experience. They want to look at the box, see all the different options, and even if they don’t get anything, being in the presence of the toys is enough for most kids. This is why I know something will rise up in it’s place. The last standing brick and mortar store will be a toy store, mark my words.
Thanks for reading and please share your TRU memories in the comments below, and I’ll be back tomorrow with more of the Rad Years Summer Vacation