Toys "R" Us, that iconic and ubiquitous childhood refuge, has finally shuttered its doors, heaving its last goodbye beneath banners and signs wildly proclaiming its slow demise. The retail chain, so often associated with everything golden about growing up, from Christmas celebrations and birthday surprises to, in my case, the hard-earned purchase of my first Nintendo 64, ultimately closed to little fanfare, its shelves now naked and robbed of purpose.
Feeling nostalgic and, perhaps, a little bit foolish, I paid my local store two separate, bittersweet visits, walking its barren halls like a phantom trying to remember, like a detective needing an answer. In truth, the place never seemed particularly busy, but now, with the aisles stripped bare to a dusty, dingy white, with the music muted and a lone cashier handling the waning transactions, it seemed more a manifestation of a different age, a living memory soon doomed to indifference.
Indifference? How could this institutional genie, long designed to fulfill a child's every capricious fantasy, become so easily dismissed? This store, once embedded in the very bedrock of American consumerist culture, the go-to trove for every parent seeking to delight their starry-eyed five-year-old, now but a husk as its patrons gladly shrug and walk away?
I won't spend this blog writing about what the store meant to me. Or its significance within American capitalist history. Or whether certain on-line merchants are to blame. Instead, let’s just reflect and let the pictures below tell their story.
Indeed, if there's anyone left who cares.
June 28, 2018 - 2nd to Last Day
June 29, 2018 - Final Day
Farewell, Geoffrey and friends. I guess we all have to grow up sometime.
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