I thought this would be a nice time to share this with everybody. When I was in High School and College I worked at Toys "R" Us for a stretch. (I also worked at a new movie theater). Believe it or not I ran the video games department, which was called "R"-Zone. This also included music, movies, and electronics.
I have some pictures from back then that I thought would be good to share. I'm posting a few now, but will have more throughout the week as I find them. Most of these are of my friends and coworkers rather than the toys, but they will give you a glimpse at some of the people who helped create magic. And if you keep an eye out in the background you might catch a glimpse of the video game world transitioning from the PS1 / Saturn / N64 era into PS2 / Dreamcast / GameCube / Xbox.
I grew up going to Toys "R" Us in the '80s and early '90s. I had so many insanely fond memories of going to Toys "R" Us and looking at all the new games and systems from Atari, Nintendo, Sega and TurboGrafx. I've written entire blogs about hunting down Atari Lynx games at Toys "R" Us in the mid-'90s. So many good memories were made here. I chose to work at Toys "R" Us as a high school job to pass on some of that magic to the little kids of that time, and also to experience what it was like to be on the other side of the security cage filled with video games.
I worked at a time during the "transition" between "old concept" (classic Toys "R" Us with traditional aisles that ran the length of the store) and the new floor plan which did away with aisles in favor of breaking up the store into "Worlds". The new store design was a more open floor plan (similar to what we have today) that featured "Worlds" such as Boys World, Girls World, Imaginarium, Wheels, Kids "R" Us (clothes), Babies "R" Us, Seasonal, Board Games, and "R"-Zone. This was also when Toys "R" Us did away with the yellow security tickets for video games, and the big beautiful glass cases that showcased all of the new video game systems and accessories that we'd all press our faces up against looking at the latest and greatest stuff.
Our uniforms also changed at this time. We used to have a "dress code" where we'd wear our own clothes to work, basically a light blue button down shirt, with optional grey undershirt, and khaki pants. This changed to an official red Toys "R" Us shirt with black pants. You'll be able to tell in the photos if they were taken earlier or later on based on the color of our shirts. (red came later). I remember not liking the uniform change. Originally we were wearing our own shirts. It used to be easy to leave work and go do something fun with friends right afterwards without having to change. I'd just take off my name tag and untuck my shirt and go have fun. When the red shirts came in, embroidered with the Toys "R" Us logo on the chest, we weren't able to do that. It meant more laundry and more clothes stuffed into my locker and car.
Working at Toys "R" Us during the transition was kind of a big ordeal. There was major construction going on inside of the store to an extent that I was surprised we were even open. Major chunks of the store were draped off with massive cloudy-clear plastic sheeting, there was dust everywhere and the sounds of construction filled the store. But the show went on, and the holiday shopping season was fast approaching. Within a few months we had converted the store to the new floorpan.
There were four of us who worked in the video game department at that time. Jared, Jeremy, Trevan, myself, and Justin Teague who we called "The Gooch" after Arnold's nemesis in Diff'rent Strokes. I don't remember why this was but clearly there was only room in "R"-Zone for one Justin
Here are some pictures from Toys "R" Us during this time. More will follow soon.
What are your fondest memories of Toys "R" Us?
The Toys "R" Us Affair
Pictured is my co-worker Jeremy standing next to a pile of then-current Atari products.
Believe it or not this site already existed when these photos were taken.
"The Toys "R" Us Affair" was one of our first blog entires.
It was an adventure thru Toys "R" Us in 2000, looking for remnants and influences from Atari.
These photos were originally taken to be on this site as part of that blog entry.
Jeremy unlocking the security cage
Jeremy was my friend and co-worker who worked with me in the video games department.
He's unlocking the cage where all the video games & expensive merchandise was stored.
This is where you would take your yellow ticket to redeem your video game after purchase.
The tall yellow bar to the right is the button you'd press for service. We'd come out with your game.
Notice the store display for SegaNet sitting on the counter.
Jeremy in the security room
The security room is different than the cage.
The entrance to the security room had all of the main computers and info
This opened into the room where money was counted and kept in a safe
PlayStation 2 Pre-Order Display
PS2 pre-order display from Summer/Fall 2000
This is where you'd pre-order your PS2, games & accessories
This was at the front of the store in the Seasonal dept, not in the video games dept.
It had replaced some of the summertime pool toys
More to come