I’ll Always Be A Toys “R” Us Kid

I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys “R” Us kid!

I didn’t know just how much that catchphrase would mean to me, especially into adulthood. With the news that Toys “R” Us is shutting down, I’ve come to realize just how much of an impact the store – and its message – has had on my life.

I remember seeing their commercials on a regular basis – so much in fact that my family and I would come up with our own variations and sing them around the house. My mom and I spoke on the phone shortly after the news of their closing, and she immediately began signing one of them.

There was one Toys “R” Us in my hometown of Reno, Nevada, and we would go there often. Any time there was birthday money to spend, or enough allowance saved, we’d make a special trip to the store. When family would visit, and offer to buy me and my little brother presents, they’d take us to Toys “R” Us and we’d excitedly run down every aisle, frantically deciding between which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Power Rangers action figures to buy. While my brother may have thrown many tantrums on those aisles, many fond memories were made.

Toys R Us Reno Nevada
Image courtesy of Google Maps

Down Memory Lane

That Toys “R” Us location was a major point of navigation for me, my friends, and my family throughout my entire life. “Where’s the Barnes and Noble?” Oh, right down the street from Toys “R” Us. “Need to get back on the freeway? Pull a U-turn right there at the light by Toys “R” Us…” My parents bought their first cell phones in the Verizon next door (while my brother and I looked at toys), I rented the tuxedos for prom and my wedding in the Toys “R” Us shopping center, and my wife’s favorite frozen yogurt place was just two doors down. Even if we weren’t going into the store, it was there, a monument cemented into the memories of my hometown.

Each time I’ve gone back home for a visit, I’ve ended up making a trip there. I didn’t go simply for the toys, mind you. I went because it was a nostalgic place that brought back countless happy memories for me. It honestly breaks my heart to think that some new business is going to open up there.

The truth of the matter is, I never really did grow up. Toys are still a major part of my life, and there literally isn’t a day that goes by where I’m not participating in some kind of toy-centric activity. I may not be lying on the carpet playing with my Justice League action figures anymore, but on any given day you’ll find me photographing toys, collecting, reading and writing articles, hosting a podcast, or mingling with other toy lovers in our community.

Watching social media the last few weeks, I know I’m not the only one of us feeling the impact of this news. And while I could lament about the coming apocalypse of brick-and-mortar businesses, or curse millennials (including myself) for choosing to shop online, I’ll instead spend my energy looking back.

I will always be a Toys “R” Us kid.

-James

How do you feel about Toys “R” Us closing its doors? I’d love to hear your own memories! Leave them in the comments below.

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2 Comments

  1. Tony Tulloch

    I’m really hoping that the Australian stores are insulated, but with the things that management are not saying in the press, I worry that they will go the same way.

  2. Mary Wardell

    Toys R Us was important for many things like toys, but the biggest impact that store had on my life was getting my first computer, a Commodore 64 in 1985 that eventually led my my entry into the online world in 1986 that led me to the man who became my husband in 1989 . We’ll be married 29 years in April.

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