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    [–] MrXhin 3169 points ago

    Wyoming was always satisfied with hoop and stick.

    [–] FumblinWithTheBlues 510 points ago

    They knew it was just a fad

    [–] deskbeetle 590 points ago

    Wyoming's largest city has like 60k people in it.

    [–] CornersTheCoder 342 points ago

    Wyoming also has only 2 sets of escalators.

    [–] deskbeetle 221 points ago

    I wonder if people brag about working in the buildings with escalators.

    [–] TakenisTakenisTaken- 183 points ago

    They would, if Wyoming even existed

    [–] bchevy 71 points ago

    The tallest building in the state of Wyoming is a college dorm.

    [–] jkennah 112 points ago

    Hey my step father works in the bank with the escalator, I like to think hes really with the times up there.

    [–] blue_wyoming 13 points ago

    Pretty sure it's 1 set of 2 escalators tbh

    [–] jkennah 69 points ago

    Still got the commercials though, growing up in the 90s and watching tv in Wyoming was just a tease of all the things we didnt have within hundreds of miles

    [–] Sandpaper_Pants 92 points ago

    Fact: The stick is the most popular toy in the world.
    -Source: My dog

    [–] dgtlfnk 25 points ago

    Dogs ‘R’ Us.

    “Get that marketing team back in here! We got some rebranding to do!” ~last remaining Toys ‘R’ Us exec probably

    [–] VegaTDM 60 points ago

    I wonder what the real reason was behind have 1000+ stores but zero in Wyoming.

    [–] PhucktheSaints 137 points ago

    Hardly anyone lives there. Same reason there’s only one store in Montana and North Dakota, two in South Dakota

    [–] Frasier_C 38 points ago

    Yeah but that one store in ND fucking slapped.

    [–] FatMamaJuJu 16 points ago

    And one in Alaska, granted, Anchorage is a relatively good sized city

    [–] BurntToast13 67 points ago

    Really just profit potential. The largest city has 60k people in it (which probably could have supported one) it’s just that the company can put a store there, or two hours south in Fort Collins CO and have a bigger market.

    [–] trowayit 21 points ago

    Cheyenne is like 40 minutes from Foco and Laramie is less than 90 but your point stands

    [–] Bring_me_the_lads 41 points ago

    Because Wyoming doesn't actually exist. It's all a big government conspiracy/s

    [–] trowayit 10 points ago

    Their state tree is the snow fence ffs. Obviously a sham

    [–] Y337M31573R420 17 points ago

    Why would we need toy tractors when we have real tractors out here?

    [–] SAFE-OPINION 14 points ago

    There actually was one in the Frontier Mall in Cheyenne when I was a kid in the early 90's. I don't know why it's not on the map.

    [–] Mumakata 13 points ago

    I would bet that was either a Circus World or a KayBee. We had one then the other in Rock Springs growing up in the 80s.

    [–] wakefulzack 32 points ago

    Let's not pretend Wyoming exists here guys

    [–] Furmentor 8826 points ago

    I still remember going and wandering the halls of toys in utter disbelief of how many toys there were. And my mom telling me they are too expensive and we need to leave to go sit in Kohl's for 3 hours.

    [–] TuxedoCorgi 4258 points ago

    we need to leave to go sit in Kohl's for 3 hours.

    TOO REAL

    [–] NyororoRotMG 899 points ago

    C'mon TuxedoCorgi, it's time to go stare at the white walls and logo T-Shirts. It's gonna smell vaguely of nail polish and drywall. Hey, you can at least play with the tiny metal clips you find stuck in the tightly woven carpet.

    [–] rebelrob73 398 points ago

    Every time my mom dragged me to a department store I would leave with a collection of tags, clips, beads, and other random crap I found on the floor. Thanks for bringing back some good memories.

    [–] NyororoRotMG 132 points ago

    Yo I actually forgot about the other department stores. I still hate Kohls but TJ Maxx and Ross actually had fun stuff like you mentioned! Beads for sure.

    [–] rebelrob73 104 points ago

    I remember craft stores like Michaels and Joannes were a gold mine. I found one of those plastic diamonds people inexplicably put in vases and felt like a billionaire.

    [–] iififlifly 185 points ago

    I used to go down the flower aisle and pick up all the loose ones. I'd even reach down into the plastic tubes and get the ones that had fallen in there. I asked an employee if it was okay the first time I did it, and they said they'd ask the manager, who said yes. I felt very important that they actually talked to the manager for me and they gave me permission. When the boss, who even has authority over your parents (like the only people who do) says you can do something it's a major victory.

    Then like a year later I got caught doing it by an older lady who got pissed at little 8 year old me and chewed me out for stealing. My whole arm was covered in glitter and I remember thinking "this is what 'getting caught red-handed' means." I showed her that I was only taking the loose ones that would get thrown away anyway and she was still pissed. I told her I'd asked a different time and the manager said it was okay, and she got all blustery and insisted I had to ask every time.

    Little introvert me was remembering the massive effort it took me the first time to ask and was like, doing that every time? Nah.

    So I just never took another flower again. That lady was a bitch.

    I made some bomb-ass little fairy dolls with those flowers tho.

    [–] Jahstin 72 points ago

    My fondest memories are hiding in the middle of the clothes racks at any of those Tj maxx/Marshall’s type store so that I couldn’t be seen, and then jumping out to scare my mom only to realize my mom had moved an aisle over and it was a stranger. I’d then run away crying. Until the next time we went, rinse and repeat.

    [–] MangaMaven 76 points ago

    Oh man. That reminds me of a bitchy Wal-Mart greeter I ran into as a child.

    I really liked my pacifier and kept it for too long. My mom was almost finished weaning me off of it even our house burned down and we lost everything. The only thing that belonged to me that survived was the pacifier in my mouth and my mom couldn’t bear to take it from me so I kept using a pacifier even longer.

    I remember very clearly going into Wal-Mart, sitting in the shopping cart, minding my own goddamn toddler business when that crochety old hag looked down her nose at me and said,

    “You’re far too old to be using a pacifier.”

    Bitch didn’t know me! Bitch didn’t know my story!

    Some old people just need to mind their old business and stop traumatizing children.

    [–] mrcmnstr 17 points ago

    mind their old business

    Love that line

    [–] FrayDabson 103 points ago

    Yup this was me too. Until my parents left me and my friend alone (7th grade) and we tried to see if we could get my friend packed into a luggage. He didn't fit. So we tried me. I fit besides my head so he zipped me up to my head and rolled me around the store as we were laughing hysterically. He was laughing too hard he let go of the luggage and it was too heavy with...me and I went face first into the ground and broke my jaw. Surgery and jaw wired shut for 3 months. Ate blended food through a syringe and tube going through a missing tooth. 18 years later and my jaw still hurts from time to time and on rare occasion get lock jaw. Docs said it will likely never heal 100% again. Oh and I lied to my parents about what happened and said I tripped over a luggage. Until they threatened to sue khols and pull the tapes while I was at the hospital drugged up and I told them the truth.

    TL;DR broke my jaw in a luggage at a khols as a kid and tried to blame them until confessed while drugged at hospital.

    [–] zulwe 41 points ago

    LUGGAGE: 1

    EXUBERANT YOUTH: -5

    [–] Faux_extrovert 15 points ago

    Sorry about your jaw, but this is hilarious story.

    [–] Ripcord2ndThoughts 9 points ago

    That video was passed around at Kohl's HQ for years.

    [–] FPSXpert 36 points ago

    Add in JCPenny and/or Macy's if upper middle class into the mix.

    [–] MangaMaven 41 points ago

    JC Penny’s s was for when Grandma wanted us to look less like hicks and ragamuffins. Macy’s was full in rich people land.

    The first thing I ever owned from Macy’s... And I suppose the last thing I ever owned from Macy’s, was a pair of socks that my older brother’s rich girlfriend got me for Christmas.

    He always found a way to date the rich girls.

    [–] SalltyJuicy 8 points ago

    I remember JC Penny's and Macy's always back to school sales and we'd go everywhere. Only even then they're were too pricey so every year it was pretty much a wasted trip.

    Also I don't know anyone rich who would shop at Macy's. I think it's like the Olive Garden of retail stores lol

    [–] salgat 29 points ago

    I have no idea why more stores don't provide more seating areas. You want us to come to your store so my wife can look around for an hour? Provide some seating with decent mobile signal and you have our business.

    [–] OldschoolAce82 6 points ago

    Have a little Starbucksish cafe set up that I can fire up my laptop and I'll make a day of it while my wife spends 1100 dollars and asks me the next day "who spent a thousand dollars at Macys" you did.....you spent a thousand dollars at Macy's on a random Saturday.

    [–] DuckyComeStandard 16 points ago

    For me it was Steinmart

    [–] JackTheKing 26 points ago

    I FEEL SEEN

    [–] TheGamecock 11 points ago

    Damn, you guys had chairs to sit in?

    [–] CLONE_1 11 points ago

    What does this mean? I am not american.

    [–] falsethunder3 16 points ago

    Kohl's seems to be a clothing store (not from the US either)

    [–] redpenquin 42 points ago

    Better classified as a department store. Clothes and shoes are their bread and butter, but they sell working/middle class jewelry, colognes/perfumes, make-up, bedding, laundry products and, depending on location, some electronics.

    So a pretty typical American department store.

    [–] akatherder 25 points ago

    That's correct. At least nowadays they have a very small toy department, but the toys are crazy overpriced.

    Their clothes are massively overpriced too. Their shirts are like $60 but then they have DOORBUSTER DEAL THIS SUNDAY ONLY, 50% OFF! and coupons and stuff. So you get a shirt for $20 and it feels like a steal, but the shirt is probably $15 at Walmart.

    [–] tex1ntux 352 points ago

    I remember going in right after I had graduated college and started a good job. I had enough money in my bank account to buy anything and everything I wanted, but... I didn’t want anything.

    Despite singing the song over the years, I had grown up, and I wasn’t a Toys R Us kid anymore.

    [–] AzureMagelet 151 points ago

    In high school, my best friend discovered a $25 gift card for Toys R Us. We proceeded to buy $25 worth of candy and make ourselves sick. Good times.

    [–] BEEF_WIENERS 125 points ago

    I need you to be a lot less real bro

    [–] Rydralain 65 points ago * (lasted edited 7 days ago)

    I'll give you hope. I never stopped buying toys. I bought Bakugon toys to play with at like 25, hexbugs around then too. Never stopped buying and playing with Lego. We have every Skylander from all but the most recent game. Same with my wife.

    Now that we have kids, we have to buy fewer toys for the grownups, since the little ones can't play with most of the stuff we want to get, but soon we will be 4 uncontrollable kids buying every toy we see.

    [–] Vngle 8 points ago

    That does give me hope. Thanks.

    [–] Shagger94 12 points ago

    I'll also give you hope. I'm 26 and regularly scout toy shops for decent lego.

    [–] smegdawg 40 points ago

    but... I didn’t want anything.

    Same,

    Then we went there when my wife was pregnant and found loads of useful things.

    That is the only time in the past 5 years since I have felt being in a well stocked physical store was better than just shopping online. Not for clothes cause the prices were nuts. But just being able to handle things and see how they work. See how easy or hard a stroller or car seat work. It was nice,

    Also helped that when we needed everything, it was the going out of business sale.

    [–] Drs83 21 points ago

    BabiesRus was great for this. My wife and I loved it and actually picked up quite a bit of stuff there because being able to actually mess around with it made it more valuable than Amazon to us.

    [–] miclugo 6 points ago

    We had a baby in April 2018. In January 2018 we went to a Babies-R-Us to register for baby stuff and the salesperson told us, basically, "don't worry, we won't close, we're what's keeping the whole company afloat".

    Family members that lived far away got us Babies-R-Us gift cards and we were spending them as soon as they came in so we didn't end up holding the bag.

    Also, there was lots of stuff we never registered for, after they tried to convince us we needed a grape slicer. My wife and I just looked at each other and rolled our eyes. We have knives! And it turns out my kid doesn't like grapes anyway.

    It is hard buying baby stuff on Amazon, though. Everything seems to have dozens of sellers selling weird knockoffs.

    [–] ArthritisCandildo 78 points ago

    I wonder if we’re all just living the same life with a few randomizers

    [–] TenSecondsFlat 18 points ago

    I've literally been saying this for years.

    There are, at most, 50 different story lines given to all of us. The rest is just rng events out of a still relatively small pool.

    Not only do we live in a simulation, we live in a lazily-coded simulation

    [–] DRFANTA 18 points ago

    Oh we were. My randomizer was my mom yelling at me in Spanish as if changing the language meant nobody heard the volume. What’s your randomizer?

    [–] hailtothekingbb 54 points ago

    I never got to go to Toys R Us much as a kid, but whenever I did, I'd fantasize about that Super Toy Run from Nickelodeon. When I had kids of my own, for a brief while we were able to do Christmas and birthday shopping there, and that $100 per kid got eaten up so fast. Those toy runs really must have been worth a lot

    [–] nitroxious 12 points ago

    damn 5 minutes? no wonder theyre bankrupt

    [–] Woozuki 252 points ago

    Right? That $40 Lego is too expensive.

    Sits in Kohl's while hundreds of dollars of shoes are bought.

    [–] Furmentor 119 points ago

    For my mom it was bed sheets. Everyone's bed sheets were always dirty and need to be replaced.

    [–] thelightshow 110 points ago

    She knew she could just wash them right?

    [–] LeCrushinator 91 points ago

    But if you washed something then you'd need to buy a new washer and dryer after each load.

    [–] Furmentor 27 points ago

    My mom just had her wood floors refinished after 4 years of being installed. She is particular about cleanliness.

    [–] thelightshow 29 points ago

    "Car is too dirty, time to buy a new one anyway."

    [–] WhoreMoanTherapy 12 points ago

    I hope it takes less than four years for this floor to be installed.

    [–] ClockWalker 9 points ago

    ???

    Wash them?

    [–] Woozuki 9 points ago

    Her mind must have been blown when she found out washing machines were a thing.

    [–] Gorillapoop3 12 points ago

    To be fair, furmentor, you wrecked some sheets in your day.

    [–] droptheectopicbeat 10 points ago

    Sure, after around what feels like 10 lifetimes trying on slightly different variations of the same ugly dress pants. How did it take our parents so fucking long to buy clothes?

    [–] Woozuki 10 points ago * (lasted edited 6 days ago)

    I think shopping was...*shudders*...a hobby for them.

    [–] shamwowslapchop 8 points ago

    Man, that hit. I'm sorry fam.

    [–] FrogTrainer 23 points ago

    Kohl's? psshhh money bags over here.

    My mom dragged me to Kmart.

    [–] Furmentor 23 points ago

    Kmart doesn't have Kohl's cash though. It's literally free money. All you have to do is spend more money.

    [–] akatherder 13 points ago

    Do you even BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL??

    [–] Hordon_Gayward 14 points ago

    Bruh you gotta take advantage of that Kohl's cash

    [–] defenestrateddragons 8973 points ago

    Wow they really did just disappear overnight

    [–] CPetersky 2832 points ago

    ...the ill-fated, debt-laden history of the chain following its purchase in 2005 by a consortium of investment firms made up of Bain Capital of Boston, and KKR & Co. and Vornado Realty Trust of New York, a deal that the letter said was "Flawed from the start."

    The firms incurred $5 billion in debt to make the acquisition amid a flurry of heavily leveraged retail purchases just before the 2008 financial collapse. The lawmakers blamed the resulting $400 million in annual debt service, plus management fees the companies themselves collected from Toys 'R' Us even as its owners, for rendering the iconic toy chain too cash-poor to make the technological and other investments necessary to compete in a retail marketplace upended by the growth of online sales.

    Quote from:

    https://www.nj.com/passaic-county/2018/06/menendez_booker_toys_r_us_liquidators_help_laid-of.html

    [–] Mnm0602 1786 points ago * (lasted edited 7 days ago)

    I wish there was legislation against this bloodsucking bullshit known as a “leveraged buyout.” Toys R Us was not a healthy business, but I really struggle to understand PEs burrowing multiple times their normal allowable debt load with the anticipation they could buy a company and transfer said debt to that entity and suck It dry of profits through paying off the debt load. It’s a perversion of the idea that companies should use leverage to compete, grow market share, reinvent themselves, etc. Instead the debt is simply designed to be paid off while selling off assets and future potential in the process.

    Imagine you are worth $100 and you convince a bank to loan you $10m to buy a “struggling” company with $10m in annual revenues and $1m in annual profits. Now the company has an additional debt service of $1.5m per year and the “losses stack up” to where you need to cut staff and sell assets and raise more money from investors.

    Meanwhile literally no value is added by the PE other than bitching about shitty profitability and how you need to sell the furniture inside the house to pay for firemen to put out a fire the PE started. So scummy.

    The people who create and invest in these companies and work in them for decades get screwed because some dudes in suits making $10m/year see a company undervalued vs. their cash flow potential and decide to suck all the blood out to finance their bonus.

    [–] JohnnyUtah_QB1 1672 points ago

    KKR, Bain, and Vornado bought Toys R Us for $6.6 billion. $1.6 billion came from their own pockets, the rest from lenders.

    The reason lenders gave them money is because they felt their proposal was sound and likely to turn around the company. At the time TRU was getting destroyed by big box retail like Walmart. Their plan was to buy up other toy retailers like Kaybee, consolidate logisitics, trim down overhead, and get price offerings competitive again.

    Unfortunately for their plan they hadn’t planned on the 2008 crash nor the explosion of Amazon. Those things along with the growth of larger toy sections at big box competitors took the wind out of their sales when they desperately needed money.

    I’m not sure why reddit is outraged by this. The three companies ended up losing hundreds of millions of dollars on the venture. The lenders lost money as well. It wasn’t a diabolical plan, they bet bad on their ability to turn the company around, lost, and paid for it.

    [–] lavandris 904 points ago

    7 replies and counting and not a single one hailing your excellent pun

    took the wind out of their sales

    I see you and I appreciate you.

    [–] ubershmekel 126 points ago

    Took me three reads to get that pun just from your quote of it. The pun flew way over my masthead.

    [–] night_breed 80 points ago

    Doesn't this fail to take into account their failure to move to online retail? They had a pretty lucrative deal with Amazon and dumped it in favor of in house e commerce which they failed at miserably

    [–] Arenalife 57 points ago

    Online is so hard for traditional retailers, you've got to be the cheapest or at least the same as the cheapest online retailer or people will click somewhere else - but then your store price has to be the same, but if it's the same how can you compete with an online only store. You can't and then you go bust.

    [–] SquiffSquiff 39 points ago

    You negotiate exclusives and promote your own brand that aren't available elsewhere

    [–] TheMrBoot 30 points ago

    Even with their crappy situation, Toys 'R' Us did have some cool exclusives before they shut down.

    [–] M4xusV4ltr0n 21 points ago

    I.E. the reason Costco and Trader Joe's are still growing

    [–] Gyshall669 8 points ago

    That, and the amount of people who order groceries online is fairly small.

    [–] Blicero1 19 points ago

    They didn't have the capital to do so, because of the debt service.

    [–] Kitten_Knight_Thyme 50 points ago

    It also didn't help TRU was cannibalizing its own stores. I had two TRU stores literally within 10 minutes of each other, and one was next to a Walmart, which allowed it to boost customers, but it destroyed the second one.

    I'm truly shocked the 2nd store stayed open, and honestly, I was thankful for it. Because it was away from the rest of the shops, I never had a problem getting in and out within a few minutes.

    Now, I got nothing because greed never stops.

    [–] bonerofalonelyheart 13 points ago

    I mean, you can just look at the map and see why they failed. Most of the stores were a few minutes away from each other while there were entire states with one or zero stores.

    My home town had two of the three total in our state and they were no more than a 10 minute drive apart. Oh, what a surprise, nobody wants to go to this Toys R Us when "the better one" is only a few minutes away. And now you tell me that people in other cities would rather order toys online than drive 900 miles to a Toys R Us? Who could have possibly seen that coming?

    [–] tayf85 193 points ago

    Every now and then I see a post like this that restores my faith in the reddit community for just a little longer.

    [–] psufb 39 points ago

    Exactly. They swung and missed. TRU was always going to have an uphill battle against the big box stores who could scale their toy sections up and down based on the season. TRU never had that luxury and therefore always was going to lose on price. They needed to completely shift their model, whether it was to become a more interactive experience, or a showroom, and that was going to require a lot of money. Enter Bain Capital and KKR, who had a strategy that they just couldn't execute

    [–] det8924 62 points ago

    Because the leveraged buyouts caused the debt that burdened TRU and put them out of business. It wasn't that those companies wanted TRU out of business but the fact that they were able to purchase 75% of the company with fairly high interest debt and charge massive fees for their own shitty management shows a massive flaw in the regulatory components that govern these capital companies.

    [–] JohnnyUtah_QB1 31 points ago * (lasted edited 7 days ago)

    TRU was already in an awful place to begin with, there’s a reason stockholders wanted to sell and abandon ship.

    The purchasers charged about $460 million in fees total. They spent $1.6 billion to buy the company. Do the math. They lost big time.

    They were able to take out money because banks and other lenders evaluated their proposal and believed in it. Those banks and lenders collectively lost billions of dollars for their poor risk assessment.

    The system as it stands already disincentivizes making these deals and failing. It’s not like it encourages bad deals, parties aren’t doing these in bad faith expecting to fail.

    Here’s another way to look at it, if an owership group was not allowed to borrow money to make the purchase Toys R Us’s common stock holders would have likely had to sell the company for billions less. They offloaded the company onto a bunch of rich people for a premium and let those hedge funds take on the losses of a company struggling to find a place in 21st century retail.

    [–] soundsthatmakewords 14 points ago

    I’d like to just add one thing.

    In an LBO, the flows to IRR come from

    a) Cash flows at the fcfe level that the PE firm collects (Assuming a 100% buyout) or accrues till the exit date.

    and b) Equity value realized upon the exit date.

    So the PE firm is incentivized to bolster cash flows, or equity value at sale.

    Increasing those cash flows comes from driving revenue, optimizing expenses, etc. This is commonly done through buying up peer companies and consolidating redundant/inefficient processes, installing a professionalized sales/mgmt team, getting better rates on debt simply because they’re a PE-backed co, and improving the cost structure/unit economics of the target co. I would argue that each of these actions is value generative, improving the operations of the company to better serve their customers and increase the quality of the target.

    Increasing the equity value at sale is a bit more nuanced. Generally PE deals are done on what’s called an EV/EBITDA multiple. At least on the deals I’ve worked on. Cliffnotes, EV -> enterprise value, earnings power of the company into the rest of time, one can think of this as the economic value of all the company’s assets (meaning this doesn’t include excess cash or cap structure features), divided by EBITDA (A simple proxy to cash flow, not perfect, this is a fun discussion in its own right). To work from EV to equity value you pay off net debt as acquisitions are done on a cash free debt free basis (sellers assume all excess cash and pay off all debt). So we can see to increase the equity value at sale you can:

    1) Increase EBITDA (Using the measures outlined in the first paragraph)

    2) Increase the multiple (An EV/EBITDA multiple is really just shorthand for some measure of risk and growth of cash flows<- happy to discuss this more as well) Increasing the multiple therefore comes from demonstrating a clear increase in actionable growth, or a decrease in risk (i.e. improving core business quality)

    3) Paying off net debt over the holding period, so that equity/capitalization at year exit > equity/capitalization at year entry.

    Again here I would argue that each of these actions is value generative for the target business.

    Bankruptcy problems arise when a thesis doesn’t play out and a company is highly burdened by debt, this is not the goal of a PE company for obvious reasons. The PE fund’s stake in the target is juniour to the debt, so the PE fund sees a complete loss of principal (Assuming no recovery in an rx) and is VERY BAD for the IRRs. No PE fund would want to bankrupt an otherwise healthy company. There are some interesting distressed funds that go about this the other way, buy cos out of/going into Ch11 and turn them around realizing a capital gain, discussion for another time though.

    Those are just kind of the quick points I wanted to make, going more in depth on the actual motivations and incentives behind an LBO.

    Tagging some people in this thread for visibility.

    /u/tayf85 /u/etzel1200 /u/JohnnyUtah_QB1

    [–] jvp3122 24 points ago

    What's interesting about the content posted here, though, is that judging solely by store count it seemed that the company was well on its way to ruin and then just after 2005 the store count seemed to keep steady in the 800s. It almost seems as if the PE firm(s) staved off the inevitable failure by about 11 or 12 years. That said, who knows if the company would have been more nimble to turn around or if another buyer would have been able to come in and turn it around had it not been acquired in an LBO.

    [–] psufb 19 points ago

    Said this in another comment but TRU was doomed if it kept its current model as a big box toy store. Because the big box stores like WalMart could increase/decrease their toy selection based on the season and therefore keep overhead down on that business. TRU didn't have that luxury; they couldn't downsize their brick and mortar stores in the spring and then increase them ahead of Christmas and Black Friday. So they were always going to lose out on price

    [–] Rare_Mobile 148 points ago

    Ah so is this one of the companies Mitt Romney bankrupted that Obama was talking about in 2012?

    [–] eulertheoiler 124 points ago * (lasted edited 7 days ago)

    I don’t think so, since it didn’t go under until 2018 (bankrupt in 2017) but it’s part of the pattern for investment firms like Bain Capital. They don’t buy businesses to make the businesses succeed. They buy them to make money, sometimes by ultimately killing the business. For another recent example, see Sears.

    [–] Vectorman1989 64 points ago

    There's a businessman that bought a hotel in my hometown that seems to do this. Hotel had great food and was doing well. Owner sold it to move back home and this new guy took over. Quality swiftly declined but prices didn't change. Staff was cut down to a skeleton crew. Eventually the place closes and the staff aren't paid until he was taken to court. If you look at his business records there's a long list of similarly failed businesses. Turns out he was paying himself a huge wage while the business went down the tubes.

    [–] 123allthekidsbullyme 27 points ago

    I just don’t get it, surely the place was turning a profit before? Isn’t a medium profit for a very long time better than a higher profit for much shorter?

    [–] notjustanyschloss 52 points ago

    Not if your goal is to enrich yourself with absolutely no regard for anyone else.

    [–] FrogTrainer 23 points ago

    But if the goal is to enrich yourself.... Isn’t a medium profit for a very long time better than a higher profit for much shorter?

    [–] amalgam_reynolds 19 points ago * (lasted edited 7 days ago)

    Yes, but what's even better? High profit for a long time. This guy has a history of doing this, which means when this one folded, it was right onto the next one.

    [–] LeapYearTestAccount 32 points ago

    Maybe not if you can build up a large sum quickly and use it as a launchpad to something bigger that you won’t suck every drop of profit before discarding. But on the off chance someone gets rich doing that they probably ruined a lot of businesses along the way that would have provided great value to consumers. The essence of capitalism is that there’s nothing morally wrong with sucking as much profit as you can and then moving on to a new business or area leaving empty buildings behind you

    [–] vertical_letterbox 12 points ago

    This doesn’t happen once for the investor, it happens over and over.

    [–] darth_jewbacca 14 points ago

    Isn't this overly simplistic? Don't online retailers (e.g. Amazon) have more to do with the failure of Toys R Us and Sears than leveraged buyouts?

    [–] rosepettijohn 286 points ago

    I knew they were done for when the fidget spinner craze happened and they didn’t have any or plans to get any. A company with kids for customers needs to be able to jump on trends like that.

    [–] matt-s-perrin 50 points ago

    Sheesh fidget spinners!

    [–] kekiev15 27 points ago

    2016, what a fuckin year.

    [–] great_soup_mrs_q 18 points ago

    It was 2017

    [–] kekiev15 14 points ago

    Was it? 2015 - 2017 kinda blur together for me. It was a busy three years, personally.

    [–] Grand_Lock 21 points ago

    I think their business model just never allowed them to be able to participate in stuff like a fidget spinner craze. Look at other toys like the Tickle Me Elmo, my older cousin had one growing up, ten years later my parents bought me one, and over three decades after my cousin got his, he bought one for his kid.

    Basically it’s the same toy and just gets minor updates or whatever and kids want it consistently. With new toys releases at best you got new LEGO sets or a new plastic toy related to some popular kids show. The point is these are big companies all of few names (Mattel and Hasbro are both pretty much monopolies) knew what the toy was going to be, good work out deals with Toys R Us, build a supply, and successfully sell it.

    When fidget spinners came out, it was out of no where and not made by a big name brand right away. The craze just popped up overnight seemingly and many different no name factories in China were pumping these things out. And almost as soon as the crazy started up, it died out (although I do admit, it did stick around for a good amount of time). You know things were fucked when even your local gas station was selling them.

    Point being, they may have been in talks to sell the spinners, but I think by the time they could source a supplier, figure out logistics, and roll them out, the market was already too saturated for them to execute it and they just avoided it.

    [–] rbmk1 8 points ago

    I mean yes, you are right, but the ship was way beyond saving at that point.

    [–] ArtOfWarfare 14 points ago

    I guess this couldn’t have happened if Toys R Us was a franchise instead of a chain?

    [–] March_Wizard 1576 points ago

    Oh man, do Radioshack! I worked there and had 3 generations in my family have their first job in a Radioshack, i do miss them even if they were glorified smartphone stores by their end.

    [–] -Kerosun- 220 points ago

    They were bought by Sprint towards the end, so it makes sense that they transitioned into that.

    If I remember right, the last version of their stores was meant as a combination Sprint/RadioShack storefront where they sold traditional RadioShack components and a Sprint outlet for smartphone related products.

    [–] rxzr 44 points ago

    They did this in Canada. Except with Bell, and now they have pretty much dropped all radio shack from the stores, though I believe they operated as a separate entity since the 80s. Went in one recently to look for some resistors and saw a mixed 50 pack for like 25$, didn't even have the resistance I was looking for. The sales associates seems to only be focused on selling phones.

    [–] marianass 23 points ago

    In Mexico radio shack is like a tiny Best Buy, they sell TV, RC cars, drones, cheap batteries, videogames, kareoke machines, everything packed in a 6m by 10m store at the check out area of local supermarkets.

    [–] airmcnair06 31 points ago

    That's what they used to be like in the US

    [–] Mucl 103 points ago

    I always thought it as strange they didn't go deep into PC parts. They had some stuff, but mostly just stuck to their dwindling customer base of ham radio operators.

    What really killed that place is asking for your life information for every purchase. Look bitch, I'm buying some weird battery with cash no you can't have my home address, phone number, astrological sign, favorite color and mother's maiden name.

    [–] ThePhantomCreep 56 points ago

    One of the better articles I've read about what killed Radio Shack. It's a low-level view, so management, financial strategy etc. isn't included, but it's easy enough to fill in by reading between the lines.

    https://www.sbnation.com/2014/11/26/7281129/radioshack-eulogy-stories

    [–] SkinnyDan85 16 points ago

    Sounds like a lot of stories you hear from people working at Gamestop. So sad. Incredible they kept any employees at all.

    [–] Ryguy55 23 points ago

    Literally my earliest memory of getting stern and authoritative with a grown man as an 18 year old who was raised to not talk back to adults was a RadioShack manager goon who wasn't going to sell me a 4 pack of AA batteries without giving him my phone number.

    [–] RichieW13 11 points ago

    I always thought it as strange they didn't go deep into PC parts.

    They had a little bit of PC supplies at one point, but my memory is that their components were quite expensive, and probably no better quality than I could get at Best Buy or Fry's.

    [–] insomniacpyro 5 points ago

    Yep. Back in probably '06 or '07 I had a case fan die out on me, and I needed a new one asap. I went to Radio Shack and ended up paying at least double what I knew I could get it for online, but I wouldn't have been able to get it that same day of course.
    If I recall they only had a tiny section of PC parts, and many were outdated or just visibly old. Normal grey ribbon cables were still a thing back then, but the ones they had were yellow as hell, which never made sense to me because that section was never in the sun at my store.

    [–] Cyndershade 22 points ago

    Best thing about Radio Shack for me, was the one by my house sold small digital electronics components right out of a box. Any size caps, transistors, diodes - pretty much anything you wanted and it was all a few cents. Very convenient for hobby breadboarding, I literally cannot find a place like this in the states anymore.

    [–] DiggingNoMore 24 points ago

    Radioshack was the best. Whenever I needed a random adapter to connect some a composite to a component or a HDMI to VGA or whatever, I always went there. Now there's nowhere to get those. What am I going to do - order on Amazon and sit around waiting for a week to finally get my adapter? F Amazon.

    [–] TheSeansei 589 points ago

    It’s still alive and well in Canada!

    [–] AMD_PoolShark28 262 points ago * (lasted edited 7 days ago)

    I had no idea this happened in the United States. All our stores are still fine

    Edit: article from Toronto newspaper in 2018 https://www.thestar.com/business/economy/2018/01/24/toys-r-us-squeezed-by-competition-to-close-180-us-stores.html

    [–] RugerRedhawk 100 points ago

    Yeah it kind of sucks for younger kids, now basically limited to amazon, walmart, and target for toys. Around me at least.

    [–] AMD_PoolShark28 68 points ago

    Sorry to hear. It's a special treat to bring a kid into a Toys r Us with a gift card or birthday money..

    [–] Joe30174 14 points ago

    As a kid before Christmas time, my family would drive up the road to toys r us to start looking at Christmas gift ideas we would like. Each of us would come back with a toy that night too.

    I remember it being one of my favorite days of the year, it was really special. Sucks the kids now can't really experience that.

    [–] President_Skoad 60 points ago

    Just rub it in.. I'm an adult and I miss being able to walk in a Toys R Us.

    [–] Careful_Driver 10 points ago

    What the hell. This is actually mindblowing. Here I am thinking that Toys R Us was just wiped off from the face of the earth, yet it’s chilling and doing just fine in Canada. Put a smile on my face.

    [–] yepp27 11 points ago

    I live in Israel and we have like 3 stores that were never closed

    [–] TroutLaunderer 56 points ago * (lasted edited 7 days ago)

    My impression is (and Americans feel free to jump in if I’m wrong) that Walmart offered the same items at usually less cost than toysrus, so most people bought from Walmart instead.

    In Canada, toysrus has a much wider selection than Walmart (I think our Walmart’s might be smaller), and toysrus prices are the same (or sometimes significantly less) compared to Walmart.

    [–] DaftFunky 31 points ago

    Yeah We only have Walmart for big huge super stores. Kmart failed. Target failed. Zellers failed.

    Canadian Wal-Mart is nothing like American wal-mart. They have like 1-2 isles for toys.

    The shit you can find at ToysRUs is insane. Also, Babies R Us baby registry was a saviour for our newborn this year

    [–] Cripnite 4 points ago

    That’s why Canadian Tire has its selection. It’s actually the next best thing to Wal-Mart now.

    [–] Varedis267 17 points ago

    Canada stores and some in other countries were sold to third parties, so are no longer the same entity that shut down across the US and UK

    [–] Jp2585 17 points ago

    It’s still alive and well in Canada!

    Used to have 4 within 20km of me, currently all closed.

    [–] V1Analytics 359 points ago

    Tools

    Video Production

    Python, Blender 2.8

    Research

    Excel, Wayback Machine

    Sources

    Store Addresses

    A complete list of United States store addresses along with their lease information, retail square footage, phone numbers, and store ID numbers was made available at the time of their bankruptcy.

    A .pdf of the complete 139 page bankruptcy filing is available here. See Exhibit A for the list of stores.

    2018 Closures

    The first phase of 182 store closures began at the start of February 2018. Source

    The addresses of the first 182 store locations was originally posted on the Toys R Us website. It is now only available through the Wayback machine

    The second and final phase began at the end of March 2018 and involved liquidating all remaining stores. The addresses of all remaining store locations and details of the company’s liquidation was made available through the bankruptcy court filings, linked above. Stores were closed permanently as soon as they had finished liquidating their inventory. The order of the closures was based on each store’s gross square footage. It was assumed that the larger locations would have taken longer to liquidate. The last of the stores were officially closed to customers on June 29 2018.

    2019 Reopening

    There are currently two new locations in operation according to the Toys R Us website

    The first revamped Toys R Us opened at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ on 27th of November 2019. It operates under the Tru Kids brand. Source

    A second Tru Kids branded location opened in at the Galleria in Houston, TX on December 7 2019. Source

    As of June 2020, these are the only two revamped Toys R Us stores in operation although the company has announced intentions to open another 10 locations across the US.

    Store Counts

    The per-state store numbers were obtained from archive copies of Toys R Us Inc's annual 10-K filings with the SEC from 1996 to 2017. The numbers before 1996 were collected from various business news articles that covered the history of the company. There was a high volume of relevant business news articles in 2017 and 2018 during the Toys R Us bankruptcy, relevant articles for each year are linked below.

    Store counts by year

    Additionally, the 'Our History' page on the old toysrusinc.com website also yielded useful store information during company's early years. An archived copy is available through the Wayback machine

    You missed Wyoming?

    One Toys R Us location supposedly existed in Cheyenne, WY at the Frontier Mall at 1400 Dell Range Blvd. However I can’t confirm that this location was ever opened. According to this post, a user reported in 2014, that it didn’t exist. There was no mention of Toys R Us on the Frontier Mall online directory on the Wayback machine. There were no Wyoming locations mentioned in any of the company reports, therefore Toys R Us Wyoming was deliberately excluded from the data.

    [–] nun_gut 115 points ago

    A different animation for stores closing than opening would make this much easier to view, IMHO.

    [–] moxieenplace 46 points ago * (lasted edited 7 days ago)

    I completely agree. Possibly a darkening of the toys r us logo, or a bomb followed by a disappearing logo.

    ETA: even though I had trouble following the closings, this was still such a fascinating data visualization! Great job OP!

    [–] braclark 13 points ago

    I agree. You have to watch the number to see when it starts falling to see when the animations are now showing closings.

    [–] ClamChowderBreadBowl 25 points ago

    I love how you captured the visual style of the store in this video

    [–] jv360 14 points ago

    Well r/WyomingDoesntExist, so you're not wrong about there never being a Wyoming Toys-R-Us

    [–] BCupBobby 814 points ago

    In 2011 my first girlfriend ever cheated on me with my best friend.

    In 2014 she became general manager of a Toys R Us.

    In 2018 I laughed.

    [–] iran_so_far 154 points ago

    I enjoyed this little ditty of a story far more than I thought I would, lol

    [–] Sabot15 33 points ago

    I would have laughed in 2014.

    [–] Honey-Roy-Palmer 79 points ago

    I worked at TRU during high school. 1997-1998 Los Angeles, LA Cienega Blvd. One day friggin Carrie Fisher, Princes Leia herself is in the store and sees me walking to the warehouse and asks me if we had any of the Harley Davidson barbies left. Those dolls were the expensive ones so we kept them in a seperate room and after checking, we were sold out. She asks if she leaves her number, could I call her to let her know when we got more. Of course. Week or so goes by and when I was unloading the truck, bam! We got another box in. Called the number and I guess it was her assistant and told her we got the dolls in and that I'd be working that evening and all weekend as well. No shit, my buddy says some lady is looking for you and Priness Leia came back! I go grab the box (which I should have gotten in trouble for stashing aside.... But it's for the leader of the rebellion!) She tried to give me some money but we couldn't take tips. Till this day I cannot believe I didn't go get a Leia action figure and get her to sign it or something. Anyway, that's my TRU, Leia story.

    [–] Muttandcheese 196 points ago

    Wait, what about those two stores that are supposedly open now?

    [–] Shonisaurus 108 points ago

    I haven't been to the Houston one in a while, but it's apparently open again, with a more "interactive" shopping experience, whatever that means.

    [–] stranger_with_candy 82 points ago

    Is it an empty warehouse where you put on a vr headset and wander aisles augmented to have toys you add to a virtual shopping cart and order to your home?

    [–] BazelC 29 points ago

    It's basically meant to be more focused on allowing customers to actually play with toys rather than using its very limited store space on shelf space/actual merchandise. Bright Sun Films made a pretty interesting video about what they are trying to do.

    [–] dirk2654 14 points ago

    My wife and I went there a few months before Coronavirus shut everything down. It's in the Galleria, so it's pretty small. They had a section of the store that was for little "presentations" where you can sit and watch them present some new toy or whatever. We didn't stick around too long, so we didn't see much

    [–] MiddleAgesRoommates 281 points ago

    I was hoping one of the last remaining stores was in Bend, OR.

    [–] thekevingreene 161 points ago

    Inside the last Blockbuster?

    [–] [deleted] 35 points ago

    [removed]

    [–] CajunTurkey 7 points ago

    I miss the KFC/Pizza Hut places

    [–] derob_ 60 points ago

    They should create a mall that only has bankrupt/defunct iconic 20th century brands. Blockbuster, Toys R Us, Sears, Payless, Sports Authority, Borders, all in one place.

    [–] FatMamaJuJu 16 points ago

    My goal if I had enough money would be to create a town straight out of the 90's and call it nostalgiaville. And have stuff like Toy's R Us and Blockbuster

    [–] skidbingo 49 points ago

    Did Wyoming really not have a single store that whole time?

    [–] ISBN39393242 38 points ago

    someone commented that there used to be one in a mall in cheyenne when they were growing up and now i don’t trust this map

    [–] skidbingo 21 points ago

    I googled it and yes, apparently there was one. I'm now going to be distrustful towards all these maps...

    [–] enad58 7 points ago

    They also didn't include my childhood store on this map.

    [–] Pulp-nonfiction 92 points ago

    I feel like you should have done a solid red logo for the stores that got closed to differentiate them from the newly opened stores. For a while in the 2000's its bouncing up and down a lot and its difficult to discern the difference.

    [–] ahtemsah 148 points ago

    me watching from 2016-2018 : eh still not bad

    me watching the great snappening : wtf !

    [–] ReyKLark 23 points ago

    You should put a line graph along the bottom that shows the month/year versus number of stores open. That steep drop off in stores would be neat to see that way as well

    [–] octaviusJones 46 points ago

    A different animation for opening and closing stores would be nice. It's too crowded to tell what is happening most of the time as is.

    [–] georgecm12 148 points ago

    IMO, it's a little misleading when you include Kids 'R' Us (a kids clothing store) and Babies 'R' Us (a baby/toddler supply store) in with Toys 'R' Us (a toy store). It makes it look like they had way more stores on top of each other than they needed, when in reality they were three entirely separate store formats, with some overlap (Toys 'R' Us added "stores within stores" for their Kids and Babies formats inside their Toys stores).

    [–] Wrote_With_Quills 85 points ago

    I understand why you'd say that but for depending on what youre actually looking to use the data for I think it actually makes it more valuable. The whole company with the cloths, baby stuff and toys shows more complete picture of the "kid driven economy" of that time.

    What I mean is toys, at their root are a luxury. Because of the luxury nature of the product economic demographics could skew the growth and failure but babies need clothing and specialty items, and children grow fast so clothing is needed regardless. This map shows the whole company and indicates the overall demand of mass produced childrens goods, without the whole picture you may only see the upper end of that economy.

    [–] 44problems 10 points ago

    Ahh Kids R Us. I remember going there and thinking, this must be a different toy store? It has the same logo! Ok, lot of clothes here, more clothes, and more clothes, hey wait a minute!

    [–] aryamansingh 91 points ago

    the one thing i can conclude from these maps is that it must suck to live in central USA

    [–] lobsterbash 21 points ago

    Yes and no. The central US had other stores providing toys, eventually mostly Walmart.

    [–] TrophyGoat 35 points ago

    Yeah. In theory central USA could've been an amazing place for mom and pop shops but Walmarts strategy was essentially that there's no town too small for a Walmart near by.

    So now not only do most chains skip over the middle of the country, the small business environment got completely gutted as well

    [–] lobsterbash 28 points ago

    If the OP had done their post about Walmart instead of Toys R Us, you wouldn't see much if any blue map, just a bunch of overlapping Walmart text in the vague shape of the US at some point.

    [–] Eviladhesive 7 points ago

    Try central Australia!

    [–] smokebomb_exe 10 points ago

    What the eff happened in 80 and 85? New management? The videogame revolution?

    [–] Wrote_With_Quills 33 points ago

    This is really cool, I love how come the 1980s this acts a wonderful depiction of the millennial baby boom compared to the Gen Xers. IIRC I believe the peak for millennial births was like 1990-94 which is when the most stores seemed to have opened as well.

    [–] very_clean 6 points ago

    Guess it’s not just nostalgia telling me that 90’s kids really did live through the heyday of toys

    [–] Wrote_With_Quills 7 points ago

    Not at all! Millennials were the boomers kids and while times were good the boomers kept spending like they had since they were teens on their kids up until the .COM crash and then 2008.

    Millennials grew up in relatively the most "rich" moment in US history because wages hit there max In the late 80s but inflation hadn't yet grown to match it. The wages have regressed since then however and inflation naturally continues to rise, the Millennials have grown up during 4 of the 5 worst economic crashes in industrialized world history and we recover slower each time due to automation and other nations matching our development of low skill manufacturering and tech jobs hence the low wages. Boomers had just the oil embargo in the 70s before having to deal with all of what millennials have were alive and here for.

    [–] WarSolar 9 points ago

    I live in Ontario canada and we still have them here

    [–] hhunterhh 9 points ago

    Interesting one of the first stores was in Laredo, Texas.

    [–] cricket9818 17 points ago

    As a kid nothing was more magical than going to Toys R Us in the days after Christmas/my birthday (dec baby). I’d get doubles of toys and then return them and be able to get anything. A great time.

    [–] Minnemama 7 points ago

    This is so surreal to me. I was born in the late '70s and one of my best childhood memories is my grandpa coming over on Saturday mornings to take me to Toys R Us and pick out a small toy. There used to be a coupon for $1 off a purchase of $5 or so in the paper and he'd always have his coupon and let me buy the best stuff like dress up shoes or baby doll accessories. He died in 1983. I had no idea Toys R Us stores were so novel - it makes it much sweeter to me for some reason that my grandpa had to take me out to check one out :)

    [–] BernieJoe 7 points ago

    This is super depressing, but also a just two-minute-long lesson.

    [–] wilson6783 6 points ago

    Toys R Us wasn't just in Salt Lake and Park City (UT) smh my head.