Toys R Us has announced that it will shut “at least” 26 stores of its UK stores in 2018 – putting up to 800 jobs at risk across at our favourite over-sized, slightly-intimidating, occasionally-soulless toy shop.
It follows the US and Canadian version of the chain filing for bankruptcy protection earlier in the year.
As reported by the BBC, Toys R Us managing director Steve Knights has said the chain’s stores are “too big and expensive to run in the current retail environment”. Shops will begin closing from spring, with the chain looking at downsizing to smaller “more interactive” stores.
As longtime visitors to Toys R Us – both as children and adults – we’ve come up with five ways to help turn around the company’s fortunes and save Toys R Us.
Is there anything worse than kids in toy shops? Christ, even as a dad who loves the sparkle in my kid’s eye when I surprise him with some plastic that, I can’t abide the little sods charging round the place like it’s a bloody playground, ripped to the tits on Fruit Shoots.
Some of us grown-ups are trying to have a serious look around, you know. We need to choose which cool new toys we will force our kids to ask for at Christmas.
Clarify the lyrics to the advert
I’ve heard at least four different people say they thought, as kids, that the lyrics were: “There’s millions of debris all under one roof.” Which makes no sense, of course, as Toys R Us sales toys, not debris.
I, however, as a child used to think it was: “There’s millions of Geoffreys all under one roof.” Which makes even less sense, because Toys R Us sells toys, not rows and rows of giraffes.
Maybe we’ve all got cloth ears, or maybe there’s a genuine problem Toys R Us needs to address with the advert and song lyrics.
How many sales have they lost because potential customers have decided to not visit Toys R US, under the erroneous impression that it sold debris or Geoffreys? They’re throwing money away.
Also on Age of Dad: The Best Lego Sets For Dads
Do something with that far corner bit that is of interest to absolutely no one
The layout of your standard Toys R Us will be familiar to any regular customer.
New bits and party tat when you walk in, then computer games, before you get to the guns/remote control stuff/action figures on the right, bikes and sports gear on the left. Lego’s on the back wall should you need it. But what about beyond that?
A wasteland of oppressively pink girls’ stuff – a section so horrifically gender stereotyped that it’s setting the human race back decades – and baby toys. Which is a waste of good to shelf space, in my opinion. Babies don’t need fancy toys.
Both my kids would play with a wooden spoon for hours. They bloody loved it. The idiots.
Be more lenient on parents who get caught riding kids’ tricycles and toy cars
One of life’s great temptations is that aisle of kids’ bikes, Little Tikes cars, and scooters. We’re grown adults, yet there’s some kind of supernatural force that pulls us towards them – forcing us to have a quick go while no one’s looking.
The problem is, a member of staff always comes around the corner just as we’re getting on them, and we have to do that awkward combo of jumping off and making it look like we were just testing for durability. Honestly, it’s humiliating.
If grown-ups were free to ride the miniature cars with impunity, I’m convinced Toys R Us’ profits would soar. And car crime would be down. Probably.
Stock proper toys from the 1980s and 1990s
The real reason I – or any other right-minded grown up – ever visits Toys R Us these days is because in my tiny, nostalgia-ravaged mind, it’s going to be exactly like it was when I went there as a kid (specifically one time in 1991, when I forced my nan to get the bus 10 miles across Bristol and buy me a Ghostbusters Proton Pack – bloody magic, that was).
It never fails to disappoint when I find that the shelves – which in my mind still go right up to the ceiling – have replaced proper Star Wars, Turtles, Ghostbusters, He-Man, Thundercats, Boglins, and WWF toys with shit ones, like Power Rangers, Ben 10, PJ Masks, and Pokemon.
If Toys R Us stocked vintage toys, I’d be down there every day without fail. Fucking sort it out lads.