I was well aware of the problems the company faced. In fact, I had recently been in discussions with Toys “R” Us executives about bringing in my firm to help improve their customer experience, but time just ran out.
I was disappointed that I wasn’t going to be consulting on a Toys “R” Us turnaround, but little Joe’s text prompted me to imagine how truly devastated I would have been had Toys “R” Us disappeared when I was his age. I figured I should probably check in.
I headed downstairs and approached Joe, who was still at the kitchen computer. I asked how he was feeling about the news of the chain’s closure. He thought for a second, and then answered with a cheerful shrug, “I don’t care!”
Seeing my surprised reaction, he gestured back at the screen and reassured me, “Dad, don’t worry. We can just order whatever we need from Amazon!”
Some say Toys “R” Us “went under” because they had too much leveraged debt, and it’s true that was a genuine problem. Others say that downloadable video games reduced the demand for physical toys, and they have—a bit. But Toys “R” Us died from something more profound—a lack of love. They just no longer mattered as they once did. If 7-year-old boys don’t care whether your toy store stays or goes, you’re done for.