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What Toys “R” Us meant to me

Chris Wai

What Toys “R” Us meant to me by Chris Wai on April 9th, 2018

The news of Toys “R” Us’ bankruptcy in the US and European markets have hit the toy industry hard. We’ve all heard the impact that this will have on companies throughout the board, but the story goes a lot deeper for the millions of Toys “R” Us kids out there, both young and old.

Here in Canada, there is hope that Toys “R” Us Canada will be spared from a sell off, but with all the uncertainty, I can certainly feel for my fellow Toys “R” Us kids across the border and overseas. Working in the toy influencer space, I’ve had a chance to see what others in the industry have shared about their feelings towards TRU and the impact the brand has had on their lives.

For me, TRU was always THE toy store to go to, not necessarily to buy toys all the time, but a place where we learned valuable life lessons. Coming from a low-income family, TRU provided aisles upon aisles of toys we never could find anywhere else. We got to see and touch the toys that we really desired but had to wait and save our allowances for. Believe me when I tell you that this was not easy to learn as a six-year-old kid. When we did eventually save up enough to buy what we wanted, that sense of gratification felt even better than actually playing with the toys themselves. These lessons are the ones that today’s kids should really go through and it will be missed without Toys “R” Us. We’re really losing something special in that regard, along with the wide selection of toys that TRU carried.

Toy categories have diversified a lot since I was a child. With each decade, trendier categories have emerged to compete for shelf space. While some may point to Amazon or Walmart as worthy alternatives to TRU for toys, they will never provide the same type of selection that a dedicated toy store offers. I remember a time when the new Toy Story Collection from ThinkWay Toys came out and I really wanted that film accurate Buzz Lightyear and company. Neither Walmart or any other retailer had the full wave of Toy Story Collection toys in stock. It was only at TRU that these toys were carried in good quantities and thank god for that. TRU was the go-to store for those unique and niche toys that people wanted. Without TRU, who will fill that void and offer up the shelf space? That remains to be seen. This is what I will miss the most if TRU becomes no more in Canada as well.

What will you remember Toys “R” Us for?


“Top Photo Credit: Jerrod Maruyama via Instagram”