I had a walk home from work like I often do, and when I decide to go on these walks, there is one place I always visit: Toys R Us.
More often than not its on a whim to visit a certain section of the store for some new products from my favourite line.
Let's roll back a few months.
There's a toy convention called Hasbro Con, where people there and on the Internet get to see all the new various toys from the company that are coming out in the coming year, be it new Star Wars products, Furby, My Little Pony and most importantly, (to me anyway), Transformers.
It's at this event that Hasbro announced their new Power of the Primes range. Featuring various new gimmicks like bringing back Pretenders which were shells that disguised the smaller robot inside, more Combiner Wars which was a great line where you fit 5 robots together, one changed into a torso and head and 4 more became limbs (2 of which my awesome girlfriend got me for Christmas), more Titans Return which had little bots becoming heads for larger bots and a brand new Evolution gimmick, where normal size bots became bigger bots when you added their armour.
The first toy revealed in this line was a cartoon accurate Orion Pax which for those that don't know, became Optimus Prime. So his trailer adds to him to become Prime.
Now, the second one revealed blew my mind. I've talked a lot about how much I love Hot Rod and Rodimus Prime, and this was a toy which featured not just one but both interpretations of the toy being superb for a fan like me.
Fast forward a few months about October/November and the toys start making an appearance in the United States. I get well jelly seeing lots of people posting on a Facebook group I'm part of called Legion of Transformers, but with the UKs track record for toys, we're most likely to get these toys at least 8 months later if at all.
I booked a week off work in December and on the 22nd I decided to visit Cambridge to check out some shops and meet up with 8-Bit Girl for lunch. I looked in a shop which specialises in comics and merchandise called Forbidden Planet, and THEY HAD POWER OF THE PRIMES!!!
I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of getting a hold of my own Rodimus Prime, but alas they only had the smaller Pretenders toys which I got a couple of.
At this point I figured that they had just imported them as no other stock was out back (I asked), plus they only have a smaller range
Christmas comes around, then New Year \o/
It's then on the 3rd of January that I decide to have a look around my local town centre as the sales are still on and there is one particular shop I check out called The Entertainer which is a toy shop. They tend to stock limited stuff here but I've been lucky on a few occasions and figured they'd have some Titans Return in the sale
They do, but HOLY SHIT, THEY HAVE POWER OF THE PRIMES!!!
I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of getting a hold of my own Rodimus Prime, but alas they only had the smaller Legends toys and no chance of the bigger stuff (I checked).
Several thoughts were running through my head. If they have them, then why not ASDA? (They didn't)
Then, the big one. If The Entertainer hasn't got the product, then SURELY Toys R Us has it. They stocked the new series of Titans Return when it came out, although it was 8 months after the US.
So on the 4th of January, I decided to walk there on the off chance of new Transformers.
What I saw, I was extremely saddened by.
It had been in the news before Christmas that the US stores had declared bankruptcy, and the UK stores had just at the 11th hour been saved from administration but the impact of that didn't hit me until I actually went into the store.
So I checked the Transformers section out first and there's no really new stock there, some bits leftover from previous Titans Return waves, some really old stuff but nothing to write home about. I figured I would pick up a Soundwave leader class from TR but when I asked what the price was it was £15 more than what you could find it for elsewhere.
It's then I decided to check out more of the store.
The Nintendo Switch has been a massive hit this year, and the only game that they had on the shelves was Bomberman R which is just one of the worst iterations of the game apart from Bomberman Zero for the original Xbox. The rest of the shelf was entirely empty.
Okay you figure, fair enough - but why is that bad?
Because it shows that stuff there can sell, but there is TONS of stock sitting on shelves gathering dust that haven't moved in months, even with a sale.
There was a Toys to Life game range that came out called Light Seekers. They were like other similar games but with a MUCH higher price range. £50 for the figure, £15 for weapons, £15 for backpacks and £50 to put the toys into the game. An incredibly high price point for anyone and when I saw them today they had the same number of stock but at half price. Even that was too steep for me.
Anyone that asks me about Toys to Life games will get an impassioned lecture on the games including the various Skylanders and Disney Infinity, but for that price I just didn't care. I might have liked to try the connected ccg, but they were full price still. Most Pokémon decks or Magic The Gathering are £10-12 but these were £20!
There's a Power Rangers Lion set that came out that is the size of a toddler and there's still 8 of them taking up shelf space
I don't want this to seem like a big moan though, because I do genuinely love Toys R Us and I have so many fond memories of going in there
I've spent birthday money in there, getting that years Beano or getting a cooler bigger toy like a Batmobile for my Batman figure.
Saving up pocket money to get an awesome new toy, like the time I spent 30 minutes with my Dad once, pondering which Terminator figure I should get from the new line and finally deciding on the glow in the dark one with a Flame-Thrower Blaster!
Taking a ticket for a game up to the tills, and being excited when the staff goes behind the scenes in the offset game room to get my copy. I thought how cool it would be to have that job.
And that's why this saddens me, it's not just the state of the shelves, it's seeing all the staff working hard at a company teetering on the edge of failure.
I want to buy their stuff to help them out but it's just too expensive compared to other shops.
Its a vicious cycle
I'm just saying it would be sad to see the death of this beloved store that holds a lot of memories for many people
This has been a Fishy's View
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