Toys “R” Us announces bankruptcy proceedings – the end of an era?

I was eleven years old when I first set foot in Toys “R” Us.  Back then, in the 80’s going to Toys “R” Us wasn’t a shopping trip, it was a pilgrimage.  These days, with millions of toys at your fingertips it’s easy to forget the feeling of walking into that mammoth store, stacked floor to ceiling with nothing but toys.

Imagine being an eleven year old kid, an absolute action figure and toy freak, and going to your first Toys “R” Us.  Action figures were in aisle 7c back then, somehow I knew that, I have no idea how, and I swiftly navigated my way through stacks of diagonal bicycles, frantically looking at the aisle signs, looking for those two precious characters.

It was a life changing moment for young me.

For the whole trip down to the store, I had dreamed of what I would find, and recently becoming enamored with the Silverhawks animated series, I desperately hoped beyond hope that this mythical toy mecca would have them.

They did.

I walked out with a handful of chrome, plasticy goodness (long since sold, I’m afraid to say) and my post-Toys “R” Us life would never be the same.

The retail toy giant announced that they officially filed Chapter 11 yesterday, in hopes for another restructuring and delaying of debts so that they might find a way to continue to survive.  But with this being their second attempt at restructuring in the face of retail giants like Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon, one must wonder just how much longer they have left, and then the kid in me dies just a little bit inside.

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I can, more or less, go to Toys “R” Us any time I want to now.  It’s an hour drive, but I’m an adult with a car.  It doesn’t quite mean the same thing to me now as it did back then, but I still remember the look on each of my daughters’ faces the first time they set foot in those hallowed halls.  The feeling that generations of children might never experience that same feeling makes me sad.

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Let’s all hope that this announcement prolongs the toy giant’s life and doesn’t lead to yet another downturn in the recently failing brick and mortar retail market.