As a kid, I don't think there was a store I loved visiting more than Toys 'R' Us.
Now before I start waxing on poetically about visiting a retail institution whose sole purpose was to perpetuate the notion that I needed things to be happy and separate my parents from their money as a result, I want to say that I get all that. I understand it. But what I also understand is that I loved being there. I didn't even expect to go home with any toys most of the time.
In fact, some of my best memories of the place have nothing to do with bringing home toys themselves, but refusing to go in the car when my mom said it's time to leave, playing hide-and-seek in the aisles. Even when I wasn't in the store, but waiting at home patiently for my older brother to return from a Toys 'R' Us with my dad. I thought he was getting a Super Nintendo, but no, he opted for a Sega Genesis instead. I lived the lie of enjoying that console, pretending to prefer it over SNES for years, but deep down inside, I knew the truth. I didn't blame Toys 'R' Us for his failing as an older brother, I blamed him, because Toys 'R' Us could do no wrong.
Turns out I'm not the only one getting all nostalgic about old Toys 'R' Us experiences. After the retailer announced it's closing up shop for good, people are flocking to social media to share their best times at the Geoffrey the Giraffe's stomping grounds.
Whether it was less-than-stellar "celebrity" appearances...
My fondest memory of Toys"R"Us is from 1980 when my dad took me to the local store, on a Saturday morning, so I could stand in line for 8 hours to shake hands with a guy dressed up in a shitty Chewbacca costume.#ToysRUs #StarWars #memories #PreCosplay #80s— John E.L. Tenney (@JohnELTenney) March 15, 2018
...or just wandering the aisles in wonderment, people were getting misty-eyed.
God these ones hit me hard.
If you've been to one recently, you might have had a similar, desolate experience as this one Twitter user.
Remember this old ad?
People are making new memories while they still can, too.
While others are just thankful for the ones they have.
Some are looking at the bright side.
Some people are blaming the rise of tablet and smartphone obsession for the next generation's inability to play with toys.
Even celebrities are tweeting about the store closing, sad that their kids won't be able to happily run through the aisles.
Not going to lie. This makes me truly sad. Working on a project right now about the Toy industry and the power and pull that #ToysRUs had was incredible. It’s so hard to imagine that my kids won’t be able to go into one of these stores and pick out toys again. https://t.co/08GvzZJt9F— Josh Gad (@joshgad) March 14, 2018
Remember the old Toys 'R' Us magazines you'd get in the mail?
But, as people pointed out, shopping at Toys 'R' Us wasn't exactly cheap.
I've been to a #ToysRUs only a few times. It was nothing magical for me. No neat displays, nothing to really "wow" anyone. To me, it just always came off as a more bloated version of the Walmart toy section. Prices weren't competitive. They severely lacked passion to sell toys.— Chadtronic (@Chadtronic) March 15, 2018
I see a lot of people blaming the closing of @ToysRUs on digital sales and online buying. I'm sure that's a part of it. A bigger part is the fact that they always have VERY little stock of things AND they're ALWAYS overpriced compared to other brick and mortar stores. #ToysRUs— Paul Reinhart (@optibotimus) March 14, 2018
That doesn't mean that people still don't remember it fondly.
And want to lament the retailer properly:
I’m sad that #ToysRUs is closing down, I grew up singing I don’t want to grow up, really sad for all the people impacted by this. I grew up poor and I remember tearing up the first time I went into one. I had never seen so many toys in my life as a little kid.— Adam Larson (@adamwlarson) March 14, 2018
Aw, sucks to hear about #ToysRUs closing down. I got a select few of my favorite DBZ and Spider-Man action figures there as a kid. Sad to know future generations won't have a dedicated place like that to visit or browse around in. That was always my favorite part.— Chris Ray Gun (@ChrisRGun) March 15, 2018
This one sums up the feeling perfectly.
Feels bad, man.