Freshly buried toy-chain Toys R Us is teasing a comeback.
“Guess who’s back?” tweeted Toys R Us alongside a cutesy picture of iconic mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe, running around our planet. “He’s been traveling across the globe for the past few months but now #GeoffreysBack and once again ready to set play free for children of all ages.”
The tweet linked through to a statement about a group of Toys R Us-controlling lenders who intend to buy back the company’s assets and work with “potential partners to develop ideas for new Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores in the United States and abroad that could bring back these iconic brands in a new and re-imagined way”.
Guess who’s back? Heâ€™s been traveling across the globe for the past few months but now #GeoffreysBack and once again ready to set play free for children of all ages. Share some of your favorite memories and get ready to make a whole lot of new ones! https://t.co/g4IMRXLsFP pic.twitter.com/VB2MjhnzKj
— ToysRUs (@ToysRUs) October 6, 2018
One of these re-imaginings appears to be Geoffrey’s Toy Box, a wholesale venture introduced to the industry during the Dallas toy show recently, reported by northjersey.com. Toys R Us had a booth there and a costumed Geoffrey mascot wearing a cape, sloganed with “Back from Vacation”. There could even be mini Toys R Us pop-ups within bigger stores in the lead-up to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In light of a potential comeback, the above tweet asked followers to share their favourite memories of Toys R Us. And the floodgates opened.
“Here’s my favorite memory: when myself and 33,000 people lost their jobs…”
“Here’s my favorite memory,” shared one follower. “When myself and 33,000 people lost their jobs and your evil creditors took over the company and took all the money and liquidated us and took my severance.”
“So you declared bankruptcy just so you could fire everyone and reopen with a website and a warehouse in, like, the Mississippi delta?” probed another follower.
And my favourite: “Geoffrey I got three words for you: Class. Action. Lawsuit.”
Not quite the responses Geoffrey had in mind, I’m sure, but perhaps Toys R Us should have paid staff the severance a Washington Post report said it once promised – two weeks’ pay for your first year at the company, and one week’s pay for every two years of employment thereafter.
Toys R Us apparently has an unpaid severance bill of $75m dangling over its head, the Washington Post added. Wouldn’t it be freeing if, say, it simply disappeared? Don’t be silly – no one really thinks like that. Oh what’s that, they do?
Toys R Us toppled into administration in March this year, closing 100 stores in the UK and 800 stores in the US, and putting thousands of people out of a job. It’s still a hugely recognisable brand lodged in the childhood memories of many people, but to launch a comeback without their full support could prove fatal. Or this could simply be a short-term ruse to inflate the value of the sunken Toys R Us brand.
Either way, sadly, I doubt former-staff remuneration is priority number one.