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September 2017 Retro Gaming Article


September 7, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

As Toys R Us seeks bankruptcy advice, I'm torn between their vast offerings vs high prices

Toys R Us seeks bankruptcy advice
I've loved Toys R Us since I was a small child. Now I've gone from being a toddler with wide eyes to a parent questioning their high prices.
Stories recently surfaced about Toys R Us seeking legal options/advice regarding bankruptcy proceedings. Like many of us, TRU has been a part of my life since I was a toddler. Bankruptcy doesn't mean "the end", but it certainly calls their longevity into question.

I live in an area largely free of large box-stores that exist in most locales. These large stores are typically bad for local economies, though they thrive on low pricing to attract consumers. While I lament the possibility of TRU sinking (I'd miss them horribly) their prices are ridiculous!

I've never visited a Target or WalMart that had anywhere near the breadth of products as Toys R Us, yet such stores continually undermine them. We have a few independent toy stores that carry some really nice items you'll never see in TRU, but I still need an aisle dedicated to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

There seems to be a missing component to this equation. Big box-stores that beat TRU prices offer relatively small selections of toys amongst tube socks and produce. I love the selection at TRU, but their prices are too high. Quite the conundrum. I love TRU and visit my local store weekly, but a majority of my purchases involve their price-matching policy.

Even their Birthday Club falters - a $3 discount - lame Birthday incentive if you ask me. They seem to spend a lot of money snail-mailing me catalogs with discount cards that don't apply to items I often buy. Most of those 15% off cards go into the trash since they come with a long list of non-applicable products - like anything related to video games.

Traditional Toys Are Out Of Vogue?

I"ve heard a few people saying kids are shifting away from traditional toys, favoring digital offerings that are more commodity items easily purchased from online retailers. I think that's nonsense! Sure kids are more interested in phones and tablets than ever before. They see everyone around them with these devices. But to translate that into a decline for toy stores scares me.

When I see kids with zombie-like expressions staring at a screen, I feel bad for them and wonder about their parents. I grew up riding bikes and climbing trees. Much of this was do to lack of other options, but G.I. Joe was my go-to toy. In my own son, I see his devotion to the pixels staring back at him, but he always loves a board game or playing with toy cars, space ships, and a variety of other analog toys.

We play a lot of video games together, but he loves to create his own adventures and play with various toys. I don't see tablets full of apps dominating his time as some have suggested of today's youth. When I see parents buried in their phone while their kids are trying to talk to them, I wonder what's wrong with them. Does your kid need to Tweet you to get some attention?

Obviously, price is a huge issue with TRU, but kids still love toys and Toys R Us is the king of toys as far as I'm concerned. I hope they can find a way to restructure, shed some debt and become more competitive with lesser stores scant quantity of toys.

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