The news that Toys R Us is going out of business hit an entire generation of consumers and collectors like a punch in the gut. The situation grew even more painful this week, as shoppers who showed up at Toys R Us stores for big liquidation sales found out those sales were not happening as originally advertised. There was outrage at first, until later that same day it was revealed that Toys R Us founder Charles Lazarus had died, which probably prompted a respectful postponement of sales.
Well, today we're happy to be able to report some good news on the Toys R Us front: A big campaign to save the dying store franchise has gained some impressive ground!
The campaign was started by billionaire Bratz doll maker Isaac Larian under the social media hashtag #SaveToysRUs, but when there was insufficient traction, Larian went a step further. He started a GoFundMe for Save Toys"R"Us, with other undisclosed big-money investors, who together have intiially pooled together $200M, with a $1B goal to acquire the Toys R Us chain. In just a day of being posted, the GoFundMe has amassed an additional $34,384, with a lot of it coming from what are obviously consumers, donating $5 - 10 dollars each to the cause.
While the closing of Toys R Us is a bittersweet prospect for kids of the '80s and '90s in particular (like myself), there is a big question about whether it's the sort of "cause" that needs to be fought. The store was a major competitor in its market, but that market evolved and changed with time and technology, to where Amazon is now the biggest retailer in America. Toys R Us is but one example of a generation of specialty stores that have died out; the real miracle may be the fact that Toys R Us lasted so long through the Walmart and Target era, to even be alive long enough to see Amazon take the crown.
And while GoFundMe campaigns are a great sign of hope and positivity, this could be another one of those cases where fan nostalgia makes tragic example of those who don't remember what the word "nostalgia" really means. At the end of this ra-ra campaign is an actual business that needs to be run - and though Isaac Larian and his donator friends have impressive success and experience behind them, no one can turn back the clock. Unless Toys R Us launches some Amazon-killer delivery system (after first climbing out of bankruptcy), then this campaign is simply putting an ace bandage over a slashed throat.
As always, we'll keep you updated on the latest in the Toys R Us saga that's unfolding.