No more Toys “R” Us kids. I guess the next generation will sing, “I don’t wanna grow up, I’m an Amazon kid. There’s a billion toys on Amazon that I can play with.”
Today, June 29, 2018 is the last day for customers to shop at Toys “R” Us before it closes all of its remaining stores in the United States for good leaving in its wake a great deal of sadness. The iconic toy retailer filed for bankruptcy in September of 2017 with $4.9 billion in debt, a vestige from its $6.6 billion acquisition by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital Partners and real estate investment trust Vornado Realty Trust in 2005. Five months later, it announced plans to liquidate its U.S. business. Sadly, roughly 30,000 workers are out of a job and no one is getting a severance. The 16-foot tall statue of Geoffrey the Giraffe that greeted visitors at Toys “R” Us headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey will be moved to a children’s hospital in the state.
There has been an outpouring of nostalgia for childhood toys shopping. I remember growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, and my mother taking me to Toys “R” Us in New Jersey for Christmas shopping. Those trips to Toys “R” Us were some of my favorite childhood memories. The new generation of kids will never know the experience of wandering that much retail space dedicated to fun. Electronics and devices took over their lives. Most of these kids don’t know HOW to play with toys. Some of them go to the playground and don’t know what to do such as swing or kick a ball. They are programmed to stare into screens and play with games on the smartphone, which is sad.
As we bid farewell to Toys “R” Us and Geoffrey the Giraffe, remember what has gone before: FAO Schwarz, KB Toys, Lionel Kiddie City, Woolworth, and the plethora mom and pop shops. The stores close, but the memories remain.
Toys “R” Us wrote an emotional farewell to their customers on its website, saying:
“Thanks to each of you who shared your amazing journey to (and through) parenthood with us, and to every grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother and sister who’s built a couch-cushion rocket-ship, made up a hero adventure, or invented something gooey. Promise us just this one thing: Don’t ever grow up. Play on!”
Today, June 27, 2018, at 3:30 AM, Joe Jackson, the patriarch of the Jackson family, has died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 89 in a Las Vegas hospice. He was a guitarist who put his own musical ambitions aside to work in the steel mills to support his wife and nine children in Gary, Indiana. Joe Jackson was perhaps the most successful parent managing his children in the history of music. He masterminded the careers of The Jackson 5, and then Michael and Janet Jackson as solo artists.