Toys “R” Us and the Toy Industry’s Walter White Problem

I walked into the Barnes & Noble on 86h Street in Manhattan, headed to the grown-ups toy section and, yep, there they were:  "Breaking Bad" action figures.   They were sitting right next to the Sons of Anarchy toys and in the same department with products bearing the faces of the Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park and other adult oriented themes.

Arriving home, I turned on TV and up popped the Party City Halloween commercial with its celebration of adult costumes.  I checked out their website, and yep, there it was, a Walter White adult sized Hazmat suit that could be yours for $49.99.  The same store affords you a chance to buy the adult size Sexy Clown costume (really?), the adult Naughty School Girl costume and yet they carry the Child Spider Girl Tutu Dress.

In neither of the above cases was there a commotion around their carrying a mix of adult themed and children’s themed products.  And later, let me point out that while in my Duane Reade Drug store, I passed a sexual aids department on my way to the vitamin shelf.  Again, no one seems to question that drug chains right to carry a mix of products.

So why has Toys R Us been singled out as the target of a campaign to have the Breaking Bad products removed from its shelves? 

The "Breaking Bad" dust up is an opportunity for the toy industry to assess just what toys mean in a  21st century world in which there seem to be as many cartoon shows aimed at adults as there are at kids.  A world in which  adults want to play with their own toys.  I will explore that in my next posting.


One thought

  1. The most bothersome thing about all of this to me is that it’s a Non-Issue issue. This did not flair up becasue Toys R Us did something wrong like sell her 8-year old a Jesse Pinkman figure. Someone TOLD her that these figures, which have been in Toys R Us for over 8-months without incident, and she decided to “take action.’ It took her 3 weeks to get any local news station to listen to her. Her story popped up last Friday. On Monday she hit the National news cycle and by Wednesday Toys ”R” Us was scared enough to pull them from the website and store shelves. He online petition hit 9200 signatures. Last Friday when I heard about this, having seen the SAME thing happen at Toys R Us about 2 years earlier with the Dexter action figures, I sprang into action and created my OWN counter signature imploring Toys R Us to take a bit of time and review the situation and then return the figures to store shelves (or at least the TRU website). After 9 days my petition has over 60,000 signatures… and yet TRU still won’t seem to listen to the sensible MAJORITY. It makes me worry about the future of TRU’s adult collector section. What figure will spark the next “outrage” or worse… what toy line will never get made next because TRU has cold feet.

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