When I was a kid, there was nothing better than being allowed to roam the aisles of our local Toys ‘R’ Us, staring at all the dolls, toys, games and bikes I knew my parents weren’t going to buy for me.
It didn’t matter that the vast majority of the stuff on those shelves wasn’t going to come home with me. What mattered is it allowed me to dream and wish and hope for things to come.
It gave me ideas for my letter to Santa, which I fully understood were being fulfilled by my grandparents, but it was fun to pretend anyway. It gave me ideas for my birthday lists, which grew shorter and shorter as I grew older and grew out of Barbie dolls and dish sets.
Toys ‘R’ Us was a part of childhood. I think we all knew that silly little jingle and could recite it by heart each time it came on the television or radio:
Well, friends, those toy store dreams are coming to an end now.
The Wall Street Journal reports that on Wednesday, the 70-year-old chain notified its employees that it will either sell or close the more than 700 retail locations it has remaining in the U.S. — including its Babies ‘R’ Us stores, and that could result in the loss of some 33,000 American jobs.
The company has reportedly struggled with more than $5 billion in debt, and it is one of the latest retailers to be pushed out by the online shopping lure of Amazon.com.
Employees will receive 60 days worth of salary and benefits when the stores close.
While the news is sad for me on a nostalgic level, it is devastating for those who will find themselves out of work at a time when retail jobs are becoming more scarce and the cost of living continues to increase.
What will they do?
Unfortunately, there is not catchy jingle to sing on the unemployment line.