By John Paul
Whenever we spend time with a relative or family friend that’s significantly a lot older than us, one thing we often hear them say is how nothing is the same anymore. Oh we’ve all heard it before, “Back in my day, we had this and this” or “They don’t make ‘em the way they used to”. We love to laugh at our elders reaction to the modern day and how they seemingly can’t get with the times.
However, these past couple of weeks let me know exactly what that feels like. Recently it was announced that Toys R Us would be closing all of their stores in the United States and United Kingdom, with well over 33,000 jobs being lost as a result. Naturally my generation along with older generations of former Toys R Us kids reacted to the news by reflecting on the days when the retail giant was in its prime and mourning the loss of it.
Now of course there are some people who raise eyebrows at those who are actually sad because a once mighty retailer is closing its doors for good, because let’s be real, nothing says “first world problems” like pouring one out for a store you used to buy things from. But what needs to be understood is that people aren’t necessarily mourning the loss of a corporate entity, but they are mourning the loss of a place that had sentimental value to them. A place that upon the announcement of its closing, just triggered a lot of good memories that people had going to it when they were younger and now those people have to deal with the realization that it’s the end of an era. It just hurts you know?
I had a ton of good memories of Toys R Us. Heck, it was one of my favorite stores that I loved traveling to with my parents when I was child along with Barnes & Nobles and Blockbuster, the former of which is another iconic store that suffered for it’s failure to keep up with the times. Whenever I went to Toys R Us, I’d always run right over to the video game section to play the latest demos. Not to mention the world famous toy emporium was the place where my folks bought my some of my favorite games such as Pokemon Emerald, Warioland 4, and Sonic Heroes. And when I wasn’t playing video games in the store I was definitely over in the vehicle section playing with the Thomas The Tank Engine train sets. Needless to say, these are some precious memories that I’ll always cherish.
As the world around us rapidly evolves and the shopping public switches to more digital options, some stores adapted with the world around them and still going strong such as Wal-Mart or Target. Of course the home of Geoffrey the Giraffe was one of those stores that was too slow to evolve, and is ultimately going extinct because of it. And yeah shopping online is the more beneficial option, especially if you’re the kind of person that hates waiting in line or dealing with crowds in the holiday season. However as I’ve said before, when you look past the corporate side of things, Toys R Us definitely had magic to it. Magic that unfortunately my future children will never get to experience. As a millenial, I’ve seen world around me change a lot. I’ve seen VHS die out as DVD’s became the norm. I’ve witnessed the death of video rental stores as streaming rose to power, and I’ve seen flip phones quickly go to the wayside as the smartphone became an essential part of everyone’s lives. Honestly everything happened so quickly that I didn’t even notice the changes. It was only with the closure of a precious pillar of childhood like Toys R Us that the reality set in that it truly is the end of an era, and future generations of children will never get to experience the fun we had when we were their age