Toys ‘R’ Us

I don’t know why I never realized this as a child, but “Toys ‘R’ Us” is an absolute grammatical nightmare. In 7 short letters, they managed to violate nearly every rule of the English language. And just what are they trying to communicate in this street jive of theirs? “We Are Toys”? Go fuck yourself, Geoffrey, that doesn’t even make any sense. “Babies ‘R’ Us” works a little better, considering you could kind of imagine a baby constructing such a poorly-worded sentence, if babies somehow figured out how to talk. But are you really naming your store “We Are Babies”? Who says that? Guess what, I was kind of hoping there was an adult salesperson around who could sell me some fucking baby clothes. Or at the very least a baby salesperson who can speak without using illiterate gang jargon.

13 thoughts on “Toys ‘R’ Us

  1. Technically it’s “Toys “Я” Us”. True, he misplaced quotation marks are a bit kitschy, but they make up for it by having single-handedly inspired millions* of budding entrepeneurs to learn to type reversed R’s for the sake of complete accuracy in their business reports.


  2. Toys R Us inspired my first truly critical thinking at the age of nine. Remember the movie Blank Check? Well, I spent many hours pondering why Toys R Us wasn’t Preston’s first and last stop on his shopping spree. He wanted cars, parties, etc., wtf, that was the one aspect that made that movie absolutely unbelievable.

  3. I thought “Toys ‘R’ Us” was somehow supposed to translate to “Toys for us”.

    Because there is a ‘ on both sides of the R indicating a letter missing both sides. Thus it actually makes sense!

  4. How in the hell does that make it make sense? If the apostrophes are to imply missing letters on either side of R, you’re not going to end up with “for.” R is the last letter of for, not the middle letter. It’s probably a pun on “are”: we are toys. It’s meant to suggest that they’re experts in the toy businesses, as if their child customers are going to decode this linguistic tomfoolery.

  5. I’ve never heard of Kash n’ Karry, but it sounds sketchy as hell. It reminds me of something I’d see in East Oakland. There are neighborhoods in Oakland that are literally comprised of nothing but check cashing places and nail salons. Like eighteen nail salons right in a row, it’s incredible. But they do a fantastic job on my nails.

  6. What do you WHAAAAT? A chain of retailers dedicated to guilting consumerist parents of accidental humans into spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need is supposed to make SENSE?

    These parents couldn’t even figure out how to use birth control, for the love of lekvar!

  7. Clearly, they had more options:

    Toys = Us
    Tenemos Juguetes (for Spanish speaking countries/regions)
    Toys? That’s Us!
    Toys 4 U
    There Are Toys Here
    Here You Find Toys
    We Have Toys
    Toys(Who Has Them?)= We Do
    Toys 4 Ya’ll
    We Got Toys
    The Toys Are Here

    To Saya: The toys are not for them. The toys are for you. They are the toys.

  8. Wait!?!?!

    Ueli, how the fuck do I type a backwards R? I’ve got an MBA thesis to turn in tomorrow.

    Saya, those were the good ‘ol days, back in ’73 when you could leave a letter or group of letters off and replace them with an ” ‘ “. Unfortunately, those were the only two examples I could think of on the spot.

    DollarDollar Bill, you forgot “Toys – we’re like totally made of ’em” (hah, pulled ‘nother two out of my ass) and “Get you’re fucking toys here”



  9. Though titling a store as such may be morally dubious for sanctioning poor grammar and spelling in the minds of impressionable children, what you take the most issue with, its intended meaning, is not what you suspect it to be. The fundamental error you make while interpreting their error is that the R is supposed to mean “or.” Seen in this light, “Toys or Us” is short hand for the full blown first conditional “We’ll pay the price if we don’t have toys.” Whatever the price may be is anybody’s guess, but it falls inline with expressions like “California or bust” on a hitch-hiker’s cardboard sign.

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