This week, the impassioned wails of millennials across the globe could be heard, bemoaning the horrid, inevitable fate of their favorite toy retailer and home of nostalgia: Toys R Us.
Ever since the closure of all of its stores was announced in March, many 20-something-year-olds took to the internet to lament the fate of their haven for plastic, electronic fun. Unwilling to accept the last breath of one of their primary sources of childhood happiness, kickstarter campaigns were started, letters were written and cries were heard. At the risk of alienating myself among my fellow 90s kids, I must say, I think that Toys R Us’ inability to escape its departure to retail store heaven is good.
Before you question if this was some type of belated April Fools Day joke, a strangely intricate typo or the ramblings of a mad man, yes, I genuinely think this is good. Call me a hater of whimsical innocence, of carefree playfulness, of anything fun. No, I’m not the Grinch, no I’m not a soul-sucking demon, and no, I’m not a beleaguered adult with a child who can’t be entertained with his meager supply of one thousand plus toys. I’m just simply a forward-thinking, 20-something male with too much time on his hands to reflect on the fate of a store intended for children…and nostalgia-ridden adults, to be fair.
One of the reasons why I don’t really mind the fate of Toys R Us is because its failure allows future business owners to more properly learn from its mistakes. The chain had been in serious trouble for years, when it had ample time to correct issues it was dealing with, as well as evaluate why it was becoming rapidly unpopular. Instead, the company continued to make the same mistakes, failing to take note of the actions that competitors Target and Walmart were taking, remaining a stalwart toys-only store.
It’s also a good thing that Toys R Us failed because of the innovation that can arise from such failures. In the early 2000s, Netflix used to be a fledgling mail-through DVD provider, directly competing with the much larger Blockbuster video, which was dominating the market. Eventually, Blockbuster lost its footing, again due to several bad business decisions, until it closed all of its locations in 2013. During that time, Netflix grew from offering only DVD rentals to becoming a provider of streaming content, eventually producing its own original acclaimed content, such as “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Bojack Horseman” and “Stranger Things.”
As strange as it sounds to say, it’s also good that Toys R Us failed, as it teaches us how to deal with disappointment, how to accept when situations in life don’t turn out as we planned for them to. I did feel a twinge of sadness that the stores were closing down, but combined with the points I made above, its failure taught me that life isn’t always fair and I must accept this, as we must with other things.
While Toys R Us could not be rescued, this does not have to be an entirely sad occasion. With the aforementioned reasons above serving as a reminder that all things must pass, the failure of the toy behemoth could lead to many good things, and I’m not “toying” with anyone’s mind by saying that.