After 50 years of selling injection-molded plastic to generations of children whose TV shows were 22-minute ads periodically interrupted by 30-seconds ads, the international chain of aisle tantrums, Toys “R” Us, is closing for business.
As increasing numbers of children have opted to have their tantrums at home – angered at limits on what they’re allowed to put in their Amazon cart, or at learning that shipping will take 3-5 business days because their parents refuse to purchase a Prime membership – the writing has been on the wall for the 50 year-old cultural institution, which many now-adults count as the first place they felt the horrifying insatiability of capitalism first incite them into an unseeing rage.
“It really makes me wonder where I’ll go when little Johnny wants to lose his shit,” says one Toronto-area dad, watching his son shake the steering wheel of a shopping cart with latent frustration at a world in which sugar is everywhere but yet is bad for you. “Sure there’s always Walmart, but having to walk to get to the toy section really takes the edge off the consumerific frenzy for the little guy. It just isn’t the same as Toys “R” Us, when you’re just ‘bam’ straight into the madness, like some sort of heaving nightclub for kids, but with brighter lights and pumped-in oxygen.”
In a tragic but predictable twist, the demise of the chain means the Toys “R” Us kid is facing getting his first job at 50, with no previous work experience or high school diploma.
“I don’t want to grow up,” the iconic child who once had everything, and is now worried about whether he’ll be able to make the payments on his ride ’em Jeep with the blinged-out wheels, says as he looks up at the facade of the only publicly-traded corporation he’s ever called home. “I’m a Toys “R” Us kid.”