Chances are, you have a Toys R Us gift card lying around somewhere. (Trust me: You do. I happened to just find one last weekend that’s probably more than five years old.)
If you’ve got them, use them: The iconic chain announced today that they will be closing all their stores in the U.S. The retailer intends to honor gift cards for the next 30 days, a company spokesperson told USA Today.
At a time in which it’s easier (and often cheaper) to purchase toys online — and in an era in which kids have endless scheduled activities and, you know, iPhones — the shuttering of Toys R Us probably comes as no surprise. After all, the company has been struggling for years and filed for bankruptcy six months ago.
Still, the news comes with a fair share of wistfulness. For so many kids of the 80s and 90s, Toys R Us was a magical place: A land filled with endless fun and toys; those appealingly round, oversized balloons that your parents never bought you; and, of course, a friendly giraffe who favored an uncommon spelling of a popular name.
The stores in the 1980s featured an amazingly bright, striped exterior that always reminded me of the Museum-Go-Round from Mr. Rogers. (Remember that?!) And who could forget Nickelodeon’s completely awesome annual Toy Run contest — in which one supremely lucky kid got five minutes to run wild through a toy store, grabbing whatever she or he could during that time? (These were often filmed at Toys R Us, of course.)
Our advice to you: Cherish these memories. Hold them dearly. When you’re standing in an interminably long line with your screaming toddler, or you’re scouring near-empty shelves looking for something to spend that $18 gift card on, remind yourself of the joy you, too, once felt at Toys R Us.
(Photo by Laura Northrup/Flickr)