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Like many of you, I grew up a Toys “R” Us kid. I very distinctly remember browsing the massive toy aisles for my first bike as a five-year-old in the 1980’s. I remember going with my Dad to pick out my 10th birthday present, a (big) horse and stable set with lots of realistic looking horses. That was probably one of the last real toys I was ever super excited about, and it came from no other than Toys R Us. I remember going through their holiday toy catalog each year with my little sister and carefully curating our Santa wish list selections. Fast forward a few decades, and I’ll never forget stepping into Babies R Us for the first-time with my best friend, registry wand in hand, trying to figure out what in the world I needed to register for with my first baby on the way. Nose squirters? 4,000 different kinds of bottles? Organic crib mattresses? Swaddles, swings, and sippies oh my. I was beyond overwhelmed, but we somehow got the job done, and much of what we used day (and night) with my first daughter came from that Babies R Us registry.
When I was a kid, the closest Toys R Us was a city away in Houston, so going there was a very rare treat. However, my daughters have grown up with a Toys R Us just a few minutes down the road. My eight-year-old loves it, of course, but I’ve grown out of love with the massive, confusing, never-ending aisles of what I largely consider to be ‘more plastic junk’. What a Grinch this Toys R Us kid grew up to be.
Toys R Us is Closing Up Shop
While I dread trips into Toys R Us with my girls, it is still very sad to hear they will be closing their stores for good. Sad not just for all of the tens of thousands of impacted employees, vendors, landlords, and more (though that sadness is very, very real), but also for the nostalgic farewell to such an iconic part of my generation’s history and this country’s retail landscape.
Toys R Us, KB Toys, and FAO Schwartz were the premier kid shopping destinations for decades, and they are all becoming relics of the past. Perhaps someone will buy rights to the Toys R Us name and some of their top performing stores will be purchased and continue to sell toys in some form or fashion. That is not yet a guarantee, and even if it does happen there are some things many families need to do now that Toys R Us is cruising through bankruptcy and beginning to liquidate their inventory.
Here’s what we know…
On March 15, 2018, Toys R Us officially announced plans to liquidate the inventory in all 735 of its U.S. stores, including stores in Puerto Rico and they expect the store closing sales and liquidations to begin soon. Customer programs, including Rewards dollars, Endless Earnings and gift cards are being honored for the next 30 days, which by my count is April 13, 2018.
Days Left to Use Toys R Us Gift Cards
That last part is very important because you need to look around and see if you have any Toys R Us or Babies R Us gift cards and then use them up ASAP as you only have 29 more days to use them in the United States according to their press release. The same is true with their Rewards dollars. You can check your Toys R Us gift card balances here. I do not recommend waiting the full 30 days to use your gift cards as who knows what their inventory will look like in a few weeks since I seriously doubt anyone is shipping them new stock at this point. I would use those gift cards up ASAP.
There is some information suggesting that Toys R Us stores in the UK already stopped accepting gift cards on March 11, 2018.
While we are on the topic of gift cards, Toys R Us stores had gift card racks that were visited by some fans of miles and points, but be aware that their registers are no longer coded to sell gift cards of any type even if you can find one out there. In other words, don’t worry about making a final trip to their gift card section to grab another Gift of College gift card with your rewards credit card. If you live in Texas, you can check out HEB to see if they have GoC gift cards in stock.
Toys R Us Liquidation Sales
The Toys R Us liquidations sales themselves should start very soon, so perhaps your family can take a final trip and save a few bucks on a desired toy or baby item. The discounts will probably not be massive at first, and keep in mind that all sales will be final. Be sure to use a credit card with built-in purchase protections since you won’t be getting any post-purchase assistance from a closing Toys R Us or Babies R Us.
Does your family have any Toys R Us to-dos in light of this sad news?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.