It is the curse of all things living to die. So it was with famed childhood retailer Toys “R” Us. Now, Hackaday is exploring the hollowed out husk of your favorite place to shop in your youth.
In the hauntingly eerie video above, Tom Nardi of Hackaday explores a still-standing Toys “R” Us location. We say it’s still standing, but that’s about all the store can do. Every merchandise shelf is barren, with not so much as a leftover sign to show what used to be sold. It’s not like the design of Toys “R” Us stores have changed much over the years, either. So, even if the last time you shopped in one as a kid was twenty years ago, the images of the empty shelves could just as easily be from the store you remember.
So, what’s left in an empty store? No toys, sure, but there’s still a lot of hardware leftover. Cabling for servers, phone systems, and even the combination to the store’s safe. It was written on a piece of paper taped to the side. Good thing there’s nothing of value left inside.
Most worryingly, the explorers found massive troves of old employee paperwork and information, including photo copies of some employees drivers license and Social Security cards. It’s unsurprising that the previous owners of the building took all the things of value but left the old records to the dust bin, but if you’ve ever worked for Toys “R” Us, you might be glad that credit freezes will be free soon.
The full article is worth a read. It’s at once fascinating to see the infrastructure it takes to make a massive store like Toys “R” Us run, and melancholic to see the skeletons of your past on full display. You may still be able to buy toys from a hundred places online—arguably, it’s easier and better than ever to find amazing toys!—but we’ll always have a special place in our heart for the noble fallen.