Toys R Us stores are closing — Should we feel guilty?
Hearing the Toys R Us news about some Jersey stores closing, I can't help but feel a bit guilty. The toy giant based in my home state has been struggling for years amid the rise of online competition (ahem, Amazon) and I've become part of the problem. For parents in a state as expensive as New Jersey, it's often a struggle of what's convenient and most affordable versus shopping out of principle.
As a kid, I remember the Toys R Us in Union being a mecca of sorts. It's where my mom apparently waited in a super-long line for a new shipment of Cabbage Patch dolls. Our visits were not regular, which made them all the more exciting. That and the Bradlees next door provided some of my most formative years as a young consumer.
Flash forward to now. Our two young daughters still are thrilled at the idea of a Toys R Us visit. But they're just as quick to suggest we order something online. Plus, there's the sneak attack of the Target toy section. We can't seem to avoid the magnetic pull of Hatchimal Colleggtibles while shopping for household items and groceries.
Now, we did shop Toys R Us this past holiday season for a couple Fingerling unicorns. Or, uh, Santa's elves did, since they were an exclusive to the chain at the time. And from what I'm seeing, there's a couple exclusive Colleggtible sets that my kids would be eager to own.
So, the effort to land "special" merchandise that's a fair price at Toys R Us, instead of paying a rip-off price through an unauthorized seller online, is a definite start. There's also the price-match policy, which helps even the playing field (though it's a bit of a pain to chase down).
But I suspect there's a different root to the sales problem, too. You need to offer grown-ups an extra reason to visit. Give moms, dads, grandparents and other caregivers that extra incentive to brave those tantrum-inducing aisles, with the promise of a chance to treat ourselves, too. Obviously, we're working against budget issues here. But, why not start with a coffee cart and see how that goes?
In a society where multi-tasking has become essential, it'd be nice to be able to support a New Jersey-based business at a fair price and work in some caffeine, when picking up that next birthday party gift.
And, let's face it, probably a couple of these newer Shopkins. Good God, now they come in Squish Dee-Lish form?!
Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee. A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.
Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook as ProudJersey.