After all, I am a Toys "R" Us kid! Ah yes, such a familiar phrase..."I Don't Want to Grow Up, I'm a Toys "R" Us Kid". As the children sang from their hearts and Toys "R" Us led a full scale, child led, toy loving revolution...all seemed right with the world. You remember those days don't you? Although the history of Toys 'R" Us dates back before my time, I can still remember my first experience with the backwards R. Join me as I take you back to when I proclaimed that I would never grow up, and that I was a Toys "R" Us kid!
The year was 1990, the location was Knoxville, TN. My mom took it upon herself to take my sister and I to the grand opening of Toys "R" Us in our area. Not only was this a big day on the terms of being overwhelmed with awesome toy selections, Geoffrey the giraffe had called in some reinforcements to help him celebrate his services to Knoxville.
That's right, I got the chance to shake hands with Batman, Skeletor and a Ninja Turtle himself; as they lined the back of the store patiently awaiting in their rubber suits, as screaming kids and annoyed parents waited for their turn in such a monumental occasion. Of course, I am sure there was a Barbie or another popular girl character too, but they had no place in my agenda for the day.
That trip would spark an undying interest to this day, as I set forth on my love for the thrill and excitement that Toys "R" Us had to offer. I am talking about the days when the aisles were jammed pack with goodness. Toys around every corner, and a video game section that stole hours of my life.
From the time those sliding doors opened for my arrival, until the time they opened for my departure...good times were had. Whether it be for a more focused purchase like an action figure or video game, or a child impulse buy like silly putty or a Pez; the feeling of being in a place where kid related stuff was th focus just seemed right. At our store, you could always expect plastic forts, playhouses and Huffy brand basketball goals to line the sidewalks like faithful soldiers ready for battle.
You could always count on Toys "R" Us to slap you in the face with the latest and greatest when you entered their stores. Brightly colored displays and set ups not only lured you like a fly to the soft glow of a bug zapper, it dared you to whip up some "make parents feel helpless and I really want to buy this for my child" tears...though that rarely ever worked.
Do you remember this? I sure hope you do, for I devoted much of my time trying to win this deal of a life time. Every now and then, Nickelodeon and Toys "R" Us would promote the option for a lucky child to win a $1,000 shopping spree at their local Toys "R" Us. I can't explain how bad I wanted this deal. I think at one point I even made out a map of our store and developed a plan of attack upon the chance that I may have won the shopping spree...yeah I know what your thinking... I never won either.
Sadly enough, it seems the era of Toys "R" Us has begun to fade a little. Even though we still have a Toys "R" Us, other areas have seen better days (like the picture above). I know that Toys "R" Us always was a little pricey, but it just always seemed worth it. Upon a trip to the store moths ago, sadness became the overall tone of the trip. If my experience was a straight to video movie, the scene would have involved me walking down the aisle with visions of children laughing and running about; all the while the store really being in horrible shape and almost in a run down condition. What happened? I suppose toys are just easily bought elsewhere, leaving Toy stores a thing of the past. However, I do hope these stores still thrive like they once did in other parts of our country. It just seems like a crime for a child not to get the chance to run about a store devoted to them...
In conclusion, I still hum that tune in my head every now and then. Maybe I should let things go, and forget the past...or maybe I could just stay true to my pledge of the yesteryears and never grow up, for I am a Toys "R" Us kid! I think option number two is looking pretty good....
Thanks to the websites that I borrowed pictures from...you helped make this article possible!