Thursday, April 5, 2018

Some thoughts on short-sighted business practice...

There was a lot of sadness surrounding Toys'R'Us's bankruptcy.  I'm not terribly sure if it was nostalgia, or sadness at one of the last great toy stores closing down. 

What I am sure of is that it's their own damn fault. 

I first went to Toys'R'Us when the imp was a tiny baby, still in the NICU.  They were one of the only local stores with Medela breast milk bags that fit the pump the hospital had rented to me, and the others had those things priced at almost twice what the baby side of Toys'R'Us had them for. 

The sales staff were rude as hell to a mama with a baby in the NICU.  I asked if they had more than the single package hanging on the hook (because WOW, was I producing), and when did they restock.  The clerk yelled "How the hell would I know?" and stormed off. 

Uh, I dunno, Skippy...maybe I asked you because you were restocking the section RIGHT NEXT TO the breastfeeding supplies.

(They were rather overstocked with the strips to test breast-milk for alcohol levels...Not something that the demographic typically shopping there tended to need.  Now, Walmart, on the other hand...Walmart needs to stock those, and doesn't, as far as I know.)

Strike one.  Because there was a manager visible in the intersection of the aisle crossing the front and the aisle heading for the back, and nothing was said, or done.  An approach and an apology would have gone a long way toward diffusing my growing decisions not to shop there again.

It was the last time I bought breastfeeding supplies there, in any case.  Amazon had 'em cheaper, delivered to my door, and had much better customer interactions (i.e., I didn't have to deal with people). 

Several months later, when the weather was warming up, we decided to take the imp to Toys'R'Us to see if there was anything he'd like to get.  Especially since he was getting really good at expressing opinions on things he liked.  I noted something...distressing.  None of the baby toys were especially well-made: the soft toys had seams that looked like they'd split if the toys were loved on and played with, and a lot of things advertised for babies were either made in China and painted, or had warnings of small parts, and were labeled choking hazards and not to be put in the mouth.  And the prices for this cheap, inappropriate shit!  Good God!  We went to Books-A-Million, instead, and found vinyl books and better made, cheaper toys.  Went to Walmart and found board books and better made, cheaper toys. 

Strike two. 

We didn't go back until after the Pixie was born.  And then, only because we'd gotten a gift certificate from...someone.  I don't remember who.  So, we went back. 

And they'd added strike three since we'd been there last: a legal gun free zone posting. 

Those are the three reasons we stopped shopping at Toys'R'Us.  Your mileage might have varied. 

However, that wasn't all: in an article I read about the bankruptcy, the execs blamed fewer children being born (yeah?  Really?  Or just fewer born to the demographic most likely to shop there?).   Seems legit, on the surface. 

Then a list of Planned Parenthood donors came out.  And Toys'R'Us had donated one of the biggest dollar amounts. 

Wait, what?  Toys'R'Us whines about fewer children being born, while...paying...for...abortions. 

Wow. 

I'm not stunned that Toys'R'Us went under.  I'm shocked they stayed afloat for as long as they did with this kind of rampant stupidity.

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