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Toys"R"Us: a Requiem

By Daniel Jimenez

As I sit in the center of what was once a bustling store filled with the smiles of children, I reflect that today it may be Toys"R"Us, but tomorrow it could be any one of us.

What was once a refuge for the weary child is now a barren space, utterly devoid of the joy it used to bring. Where did that magic go? Was it in the employees who were so carelessly tossed aside? Did it come from the toys that used to line the now empty shelves? Perhaps it came from the laughter of the children who would run wild throughout the store.

I was one such child, filled to the brim with glee at the mere prospect of entering a Toys"R"Us. Money was not required; a child could be penniless and still experience all the store had to offer. The stuffed animals laying about in the middle of aisles, the video game demos that were almost certainly broken, the wailing of other kids who had been told they were not going home with whatever they had asked of their parents; all this and more were part of the Toys"R"Us experience.

Oh the sights and wonders of a Toys"R"Us that this generation shall never see! The divorced father trying desperately to please their sullen child, the derelict bathrooms that the staff had long ago given up on, that weird smell in the aisle for toddler toys. These things can never be replicated, and I weep knowing my children will never see their like. Is it the burden of each generation to see its marvels torn down in the name of progress? What progress can justify such a travesty?

Is it the burden of each generation to see its marvels be torn down in the name of progress?

The answer, sadly, is the same answer we see so often where decency is absent: money. For want of a few dollars, the cruel ignoramuses of this world have seen fit to blot out yet another place that provides relief to those who truly need it. It is the death of culture when we value simple currency over places that enrich our lives, but the die is cast, and now we must find a way to endure.

I bought my first board game, had my first kiss, lost my virginity, got married, got divorced, and became a notary public all in the same Toys"R"Us all in the same year! To the lucky few who grew up with it, Toys"R'Us was more than a store, more than family even; it was a way of life. But it's all over now. Yet even as they begin to tear down the store I am currently typing this in, I take solace in the fact they can never take away our memories.

Daniel Jimenez is a staff writer for The Plantain.