Flashback Friday Moment of The Week: 3/16/2018

by Just Juan

A couple of days back, during my evening commute on the MARC, I read a post in NPR’s The Two-Way that famed toy retailer, Toys “R” Us, is going out of business…the result of a bankruptcy process. When I read it, my heart sank for a moment. For the entirety of my life, it’s been the top of the food chain in terms of toy retailers…the alpha dog, per se. It’s incredibly unfortunate that it’ll no longer be around. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: Toys “R” Us.

How I first came across this moment? I’m sure if I asked my parents, they’d probably tell me that my history with Toys “R” Us probably started during the 1984 Christmas holiday shopping season…my 1st ever. Obviously, I can’t remember what my life was like as a 2-month old. Heck, I doubt if I could even see in color back then. My earliest recollection of Toys “R” Us was seeing a commercial on television when I was 3 years old and going into a local Toys “R” Us store with my aunt.

What it meant to me then? At 3 years old, Toys “R” Us was the spot to be. People use that line “kid in a candy store” to describe one’s excitement about something but I think “kid in a Toys “R” Us store” is the better way to put it. I was always filled with excitement whenever I was in one of the stores or when the commercials started airing ad nauseam during the holiday season. I had a Geoffrey the Giraffe plush toy as a child and it was probably one of my more cherished possessions up until I was like 7. Simply put, Toy “R” Us was holy ground for me as a child.

What it means to me now? As I’ve grown in age, I’ve grown out of my craze for the famed toy retailer. I still have a nostalgic appreciation for the “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, I’m a Toys “R” Us kid” commercials but I have probably been inside a store 5 times in the last 10 years…and 2 of those times were just looks inside of the Moritown location across from the JR East Akishima train station in Tokyo. In about 3 weeks, my wife and I will be welcoming a son into this world. Unfortunately for our bundle of joy, the chance for being a Toys “R” Us kid won’t be in his life experience. It saddens me that Toys “R” Us is no more but the memories of the toy retailer will live on with me.

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