Oh you read that right. I didn’t say “Toys R Us,” I said “Kids.”
When I was a kid, until I was thirteen years old, I was built like a beanpole, all skinny arms and legs. Funny thing was, I was the height I am now (5’4″). Not tall by any means, but when you weigh 100 pounds soaking wet (unlike now), and you’re all arms and legs, then yes, you are skinny. Shopping for me until that age must have been the human struggle of all human struggles, and I credit my mom with being able to do it sanely.
Because I was somewhat tall by that age, it was only natural that I’d be wearing clothes made for a teenager, right?
I was thirteen and still shopping in the children’s section of clothing stores for my jeans. I wore Girls’ size 16 jeans, the last size before Juniors. And shopping in the kiddie section of a clothing store doesn’t exactly allow for one to feel like a teenager. By that age, I was able to buy some stuff from the Junior section (mostly shirts), but pants were courtesy of the children’s section.
Until I was twelve years old (and thank goodness it didn’t go longer than this!), I was shopping at a store that now seems to be relegated to the clearance bin of nostalgia – Kids “R” Us. Kids “R” Us was a children’s retail arm of Toys “R” Us – it was colorful, friendly, and inviting, but it wasn’t Toys “R” Us. And it never helped that this store was in the same shopping center as Toys “R” Us – you’re convinced you are going to buy a new toy because you behaved, and boom, clothes shopping! I never liked clothes shopping then, and I think I’ve finally figured out why…Kids “R” Us is childhood’s version of Chinese Water Torture. The same could be said of kiddie clothes shopping on any level, but when you’re convinced you are way too old to shop in a store with “Kid” in the name, you’ll just blame this store.
When I say the store was child friendly, it was child friendly. Looking back, they had cute clothes, but some of it felt a little young by the time I’d reached say, ten years old. Blame the whole skinny thing. But in hindsight, I’m glad there was a store like this. I see stores like Justice and the similar chains of clothing stores catering to the kids whos parents shopped at Kids “R” Us only two decades earlier, and I’m convinced things went just fine. No horrible missteps, life or fashion-wise.
After all, they did have some toys. And they also had a cool machine that lit up and played music at the push of a button.
THE DREAM MACHINE!!!!!!!!
I seriously kept assuming it was a fortune teller until I watched commercials for the store.
Kids “R” Us opened in Paramus, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York in 1983, and closed in 2003. For twenty years, it dressed kids like kids,and for that, I’m eternally grateful now, even if I wasn’t back then.
You know what else I’m grateful for?
Did you think anything less?
Sadly, You Tube isn’t exactly a treasure trove of commercials for Kids “R” Us, the way they are for Toys “R” Us. But what I did find was rooted in 1980s glory, with clothes I wore back then!
There’s this one, from the inaugural year of the retailer:
Uploaded by CommercialClassic
And this one, from 1985:
Uploaded by chris3g
I kinda feel bad for these kids. They probably thought they were doing a commercial for Toys R Us.
Allison will always be a Toys “R” Us Kid at heart. Obviously, she survived the torture of childhood clothes shopping. If you like what you’ve seen here, check out the offerings on her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and give her ?a shout out on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.
This was the Kids “R” Us where she lives now. She can’t find a picture of the one she used to shop at. (Source)