The Toys R Us near us is closing. So if you live nearby, now’s a good time to stock up on toys. They still have lots of stuff, but it’s going fast…

We went in there today in search of a gift. And as we wandered around I knew why the company as a whole is going downhill and needing to close several of their stores: it’s not just WalMart’s intrusion into the market, it’s the moronic way they redesigned all the stores about a decade back.

You used to be able to walk into any Toys R Us and wander up and down real aisles, and it was easy to find the toys appropriate for your child and his/her age. Now it’s done in all these clusters that make navigating the store a pain in the butt. It’s not fun anymore. There’s no mindless wandering up one aisle and down another, which does tend to inspire a few impulse purchases.

There’s no joy in trying to figure out what cluster is for which toys, and it’s mostly a “Oh heck, find the damn toy and let’s get out of here” feeling.

When the Boy was just a boy and we were stationed out here, we spent many afternoons in that very store, looking for gifts for friends and rewards for him, and times when he had his own money saved up to buy himself something. Those were shopping trips we looked forward to. If he were little now…I suspect we’d be heading towards WalMart instead, where he could wander up one aisle and down another, musing and thinking and wishing, instead of trying to navigate.

Take heed Toys R Us head honchos. Stop blaming WalMart. You sucked the joy out of toy shopping by design.

No comments: