With the drama of Toys R Us' death and supposed rebirth (how about getting all those employees some severance? still no?) it's clear that people have held onto their memories of retail aisles filled with games, dolls, and building kits. Maybe it's the fact that when you're a kid, the toy store has the same sensory overload as a strip club, or perhaps we just yearn for the days when all it took to make us happy was a licensed piece of plastic, whatever the reason we're more invested in toy stores than most other kinds of retail establishments. Looking through various reddit threads I wanted a glimpse into the reality of what it's like where childhood and market capitalism collide in a technicolor maelstrom.

The results were surprising:

1. Cleanup in Aisle 3!

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When asked for their "worst" story, TILsomethingnew had this colorful gem:

We had a kid bounce a ball too hard, it hit the lights above and one broke off. The light bulb gashed his forehead and blood went everywhere then his sister vomited at the sight of all the blood. Very messy.

2. It's like a heist movie, but nobody sounds cool!

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In an otherwise pleasant IamA thread, 128Gigabytes tells of her worst customer experience:

Lady one walks around the front of the store for a while and abandons her basket (Presumably so we would walk away and she could come back for it.) managers moved the basket to customer service away from the doors and the women comes back and starts freaking out about "Wheres my basket?" managers explain they moved it because it was in the way but that she can have it back, she starts yelling over and over that she was going to pay for the items, about the 8th time she looks at me and says "I was gonna pay for it! With money!" of course we can't accuse her of stealing so I just look confused and say "Well of course, that's how you get things?" she starts cursing and threatening people so the managers kick her out, she circles the parking lot for a while waiting for her friend with the other basket, her friend walks around the front in a 30 minute stalemate waiting for use to walk away from the doors, managers change who is watching the exit because someone had to go home, and eventually women two takes most of the items out of her basket and walks straight out the door because the person at the exit didn't know she was the one we were watching. Once he realizes her runs out the door after her and I run out to get the car tags, by the time I get out there he is trying to take the stuff from the women and the friend in the car gets a glass plate out of the car and throws it at him and it smashes to pieces and the floored it away. I did get the tags because I always have a marker so I wrote it on my arm.



3. Hardcore Collectors Could be a Hardcore Pain in the Ass

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Another now-deleted former Toys R Us Employee responded to a question about mean adult collectors:

Every Saturday morning, bright and early at 9:00 (keep in mind, we opened at 9:30), there was one collector would come up and take the closest parking spot, which ended up being an expectant mom's spot, and waiting until we opened, to rush in and snag as many things as he could. He collected Skylander figures, diecast Cars vehicles, Monster High dolls, trading cards, a bunch of stuff. He openly admitted to us that he just bought this stuff to collect, then eventually sell on Ebay for a higher price. It got to the point where he snagged a rare Monster High doll in front of a little girl and her mom who wanted it, and told them that "They should have gotten there first." My assistant manager ended up taking some of the rarer items every morning we unloaded the truck and stashing them in the office until he came and left, just so other people could get them.

 



4. Sometimes, You Gotta Fight Dirty

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One user (who has since deleted their account) shares two quick tales of childhood ruthlessness:

as I was scanning a customer's items, he realized his kid snuck a random toy into the cart. He told her to put it back, she threw a temper tantrum and punched him in the balls.

Also saw another kid threaten to purposely crap his pants if his mom didn't buy him a game he wanted. He was probably 10 or so. slightly troubling.

meanwhile, casioclark adds this to the conversation:

We have those machines where you put a coin in and a bouncy ball comes out. One kid didn't get a ball, and I kid you not, decided to punch a completely unrelated woman right in the ass because of his rage. Parents apologised to her but still! Right in the ass.

 


5. The Truth About Those Giant LEGO Displays

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Former employee constantvariables had some bad news for amatuer master builders who want to put together those larger-than-life LEGO builds:

Those displays come already constructed on the truck. No one in our store gets to do it, unfortunately.




6. Sometimes, things got too real

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This story from mallory_knox tells us a harsh reality of working at a Toys R Us / Babies R Us:

This woman came up to the return counter with about 4 carts worth of stuff. Car seat, stroller, play yard, etc. Everything you would possibly need for a new baby. When I told her that I could return it all using her baby registry but it would go on to a store credit, she broke down hysterically crying while trying to explain why she had no use for store credit. Her baby died at 2 weeks old. It was so heartbreaking. I've seen women returning items after a miscarriage, but this woman's baby was alive and breathing and would one day need all of this great stuff, and then suddenly it was all over and her baby was dead. It still makes me very sad to think about it.

 




7. From the Mouths of Babes

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Another now deleted account has the most relatable story ever:

A parent wouldn't buy their daughter the 5th Generation iPod, so the daughter called her a "fucking meanyhead". I had no idea how to respond. The parent walked their child outside. Needless to say there was lots of yelling outside the threshold of the store.