If only Toys ‘R’ Us had gone bankrupt 20 years ago.
That’s not a slam against one of the largest purveyors of childhood joy, where parents have been buying happiness for more than a half-century.
But the toy store’s financial plight has forced it to look at the retail experience differently. As a result, it will soon open “interactive” play spaces in its stores, USA TODAY has reported.
That’s right, parents. Odds are good that by the hot and sweltering summer of 2018, the Toys ‘R’ Us closest to you will host an indoor, climate-controlled playground filled with the latest games and toys.
And all it will cost you is a little guilt when feigning interest in a board game or playset.
In a statement making it clear the retailer has never shopped with a toddler, Toys ‘R’ Us has decided to further enrich a fun trip to the toy store.
No, not by renting blinders that can easily clip onto small heads. It plans to establish interactive spaces where clerks will bust out some product and let kids play with toys they don’t own. Just imagine the joy and potential for destruction in a caring and nurturing retail space.
This is a boon to parents as well, and not just for the quality time they’ll have with their smartphones, binge-watching favorite shows as their kids play in a monitored, confined space.
Should one of your children accidentally break something when slamming it to the linoleum, no worries. He couldn’t take it home anyway. Maybe your daughter refuses to share a spacecraft with her little sister. Hey Toys ‘R’ Us guy, we need another rocket over here, thanks.
Welcome to the correction-free zone, where every parent is the cool parent, and timeouts are as unnecessary as forking over $80 for a playset that will spend most of its life in a closet.
When my son was little, our only recreational alternatives away from home were playgrounds or a McDonald’s, the latter with ball pits holding ingredients necessary for primitive life. I supervised my son out of sheer boredom since personal entertainment devices were years away.
Not that these corporate-sponsored interactive spaces absolve all parental irresponsibility. The adults may want to look up if, say, a game of Twister with strangers breaks out.
Then again, Toys ‘R’ Us may limit certain activities in its interactive spaces. Perhaps only certain toys will be available, with expectations of a brief tryout followed by a likely purchase. Maybe you’ll be back at the playground in no time.
But at least you’ll still be able to watch shows and text friends as sweat turns your clothing into a Jackson Pollack painting.