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(Reuters)   Welcome to our world, welcome to our world of bankruptcy. FAO Schwarz down the crapper   ( divider line
    More: Sad  
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6341 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Jan 2003 at 7:06 PM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

50 Comments     (+0 »)
2003-01-13 04:02:25 PM  
"When giants like Wal-Mart want to come in and cut into market shares, events like this are going to happen," said Maria Weiskott, editor-in-chief of Playthings magazine...

Nothing to do with FAO here, but am I the only one that was worried the moment my eyes passed over the words "Playthings Magazine?" Almost had me there.
2003-01-13 04:21:32 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
Yeah, I'm bawling my eyes out.
2003-01-13 07:12:30 PM  
Their stores were always full of spoiled kids and their stupid parents, not to mention that annoying talking dinosaur. I think i've made one purchase at an FAO in my life. Since, i've just walked by the store.
2003-01-13 07:14:12 PM  
The ability to cut prices that companies like Wal-Mart have is amazing really. When I used to work at a bookstore (in Australia) the nearby K-Mart was selling some of the big new releases at prices less than what it cost for us to buy from the distributors. Occasionally the managers would actually buy books from K-Mart and put them on the shelves at regular prices. At times like Xmas, they'd sell.
2003-01-13 07:15:52 PM  
Was that the store where Tom Hanks danced on the piano in "Big"?
2003-01-13 07:16:02 PM  
May the Schwarz be with you!
2003-01-13 07:16:53 PM  
What, the giant step-on keyboards didn't save them?
2003-01-13 07:18:15 PM  
Aw, that's a damned shame.
My daughter is a huge Barbie fan, and I love shopping for her there. And Zainy Brainy is one great place for toys for all intelligent children.
2003-01-13 07:18:32 PM  
Has anyone ever been to the FAO Schwarz in the Menlo Park Mall in NJ? I swear, for a place that's supposed to be all upscale, ritzy and making you want to envy rich people for living so well, that place is WORSE than a lot of the K-B Toy stores. The talking tree was broken, the employees couldn't give a rats ass about anything, and the entire back of the store looked like something FEMA wouldn't even give money to repair. There were ripped packages, toys all over the floor, shelves just crammed with stuff, even action figures missing their heads. The last time I went I think there was even a guy just kicking toys around to clear out a pile.

If they DO go out of business, I wouldn't miss them. Maybe thenthey could put a store in it's place with people that actually know how to at least keep a store looking presentable. Maybe it is gone already though, if it is, good riddance.
2003-01-13 07:18:46 PM  
Legman, reading the article would have told you so. Hey, wait a minute, this is Fark. Sorry
2003-01-13 07:19:25 PM  
People dont need toys anymore. They now have the internet and fark.
2003-01-13 07:20:48 PM  
I didn't realize they were still IN business.
2003-01-13 07:22:33 PM  
Hey SLF, you mean there was an article? Fascinating.
2003-01-13 07:23:51 PM  
I remember when the Nintendo 64 was released for $200 retail. They sold it for $250 and each game for $65. Bunch of crooks if you ask me. And when they had an in-store display where a bunch of kids would sit around and sample the games, the head boss must've heard the kids were having a load of fun. Why else would he stop stocking the shelves with videogames of any kind?
2003-01-13 07:24:44 PM  
Waaaa. Poor Schwarz. Every toy in their store is at a minimum $3.00 over the market price. And when you figure that a Star Wars action figure sells normally between 5-6 dollars, 8 or 9 bucks for the same thing "ain't gonna cut it". Their gouging has finally caught up with them. Now, they want to point the finger at everyone else, as the cause. Right....
2003-01-13 07:26:47 PM  
For the clean, well-stocked store and the friendly, efficient service I get at the Atlanta store, I'll pay the extra three dollars.
2003-01-13 07:28:05 PM  
Service is a dying commodity. Frankly I'd pay for service too, but it seems few would these days... thus the targets, walmarts and k-marts with thier under-trained expendible high-school min-wage-slaves reign supreme.
2003-01-13 07:29:10 PM  
Yeah, I was never a big fan of paying 40% more for the same thing. I'm not cryin' a river over it.
2003-01-13 07:32:05 PM  
Not necessarily -gouging- just business the way it used to be. Places like K-mart came in and undercut everybody else, sometimes below cost just to establish a market of their goods.

But then again look at what that did to K-mart, investors will be watching Wal-mart very closely. How long before the money runs out?
2003-01-13 07:36:55 PM  
My Schwarz is bigger than yours.
2003-01-13 07:39:31 PM  
It's a sign of the times and sadly, humorously ironic that the big thing to do in the mid to late 90's "dot-com boom" was to have big "dot-com office parties" at FAO Schwarz.
When we all get old and gray, I guarantee the best-sellers will be Biographies by people who were dot-com millionaires at the age of 21, and how they went on to success and fortune with their eventual ownership of the fast-food chain they worked at after the repo men took their gold-plated beverage tumblers emblazoned with URLs, stress toys filled with diamonds rather than plastic beads, and lime-green Jaguars away.
Heck of a time to be alive :).
2003-01-13 07:39:34 PM  
I stop in the 5th Ave store every time I walk by. It's really fun to lool around and I love their stuffed animal department, but I've never actually bought anything there. Charging $99.99 for a small teddy bear is waaaaaaayy ridiculous. Reminds me of the scammers from that other thread. Bleh. I'll miss them if they do close down completely, though. A good way to waste an hour or so.

2003-01-13 07:41:21 PM  
Further proof that Wal-mart is indeed evil.

IF, you want to be educated to the evils of Wal-Mart, you can go to and see just how they screw over everybody they come into contact with. From employees, to suppliers to the *real* slaves over in China making 13 cents an hour.

Go ahead, read it, I dare you...

(Pats self on back for boycotting Wal-Mart)

2003-01-13 07:47:21 PM  
Oh,I thought they were talking about "FAO Splorch",the adult toy store. My bad.
2003-01-13 07:48:35 PM  
Santa crapped himself in happiness.

"Woohoo!! We're back in business Blitzin!"

/Last holiday joke of the season
2003-01-13 07:52:16 PM  
I've been to their King of Prussia store before. (Coincidentaly, FAO's based in the same town. It's a real rich town, BTW.)

Everything was overpriced. The air was filled with snobbery. Every kid that came in had to press the button on that farking tree. More like "welcome to our world of WASPs". I hated it. I was looking for a present at the time, and came out empty-handed. I went to Toys R' Us instead, and found a much better deal.

Speaking of Toys R' Us, they (and K-B) do better than FAO, but they aren't giant Targets and Walmarts selling every product on the face of the earth. My theory: video games. All kids want nowadays is video games. (I can't blame 'em.) Toys R' Us and K-B sell video games and make money. FAO is losing out on those sales, which is really dumb on their part. They deserve to go bankrupt if they fail to realize something simple like that.
2003-01-13 07:53:52 PM  
They will be bought out, probably by KBToys... Maby by Wal-Mart.. Possibly (if they were smart they would jump on that along on that with their good buddies Borders)... Doubtful on Toys r Us (they will bid but it won't go far)...

Unless they find someone to bail them out from the private sector, that is......
2003-01-13 08:23:12 PM  
Man, EVEYONE who isn't within driving distance of 'Discount Harry's' on Route 130 in South Jersey is missing out. That place was HUGE and had everything from pool supplies to every kind of cool transformer.

Oh, yeah, they had EVERYTHING.
2003-01-13 08:24:02 PM  
Gotta love Reaganomics, trickle down ... wait ... what century is this?

-- 1984 Guy
2003-01-13 08:31:54 PM  
Truly, there is nothing sad about FAO closing up stores. It's more recently turned into an collector's toy store where one could buy some extremely limited, hand-numbered, porcelain Special Edition Barbie for upwards of $100.

Then there's the Hot Wheels collectors who get serious boners over anything that has FAO emblazoned on its package. Just means they can sell it on Ebay even faster.

As far as the competition selling things ridiculously lower than them, the solution would have been a simple one: buy more merchandise then LOWER YOUR FARKING PRICES!
2003-01-13 08:33:28 PM  
You mean selling toys for twice as much as everyone else isn't a successful business model? Who would have thought?
2003-01-13 08:35:06 PM  
Gotta remember something - sometimes the lessons of the past can prove to remind us that when we're most vunerable that - "O to the C to the Motherf**ken D I slap you with my **** and I go to take a pee a word about my jimmy I don't f*** the pigs, they don't call me slimmy 'cause my **** is so big - unlike John Kruk, I got a full pair of n***s and when I f*ck, I only go for sl**s, I don't f*** the cows I don't like to hear their mooing, I don't need their beef because I'm h*** like patrick ewing

2003-01-13 08:39:00 PM  
FrancisR: What does snobbery smell like?

I'm in Seattle and I think it smells like what downtown Bellevue smelled like a couple years ago (Sort of like new money but with a hint of disdain for anyone not driving a huge SUV or Beemer) but now all I smell is fear and desperation over there due to layoffs/dotbombs.

Just asking as I'm just a working schmuck.
2003-01-13 09:00:32 PM  
FAO Schwarz = rizty toy store with over priced items, bleh
2003-01-13 09:01:18 PM  
TOY LIQUIDATIONS! YEEEEESSSS! ::runs for the Zoids::
2003-01-13 09:18:47 PM  
thats sad. I always loved that store when I was little. I've been to tons of them and they're fun to look around in. Course I'm not sure I could afford to breath the air in there....but my rich snobby grandmother would deam to get me presents there on occasion.....wait now I can't remember why I liked that store. Death to FOA inc
2003-01-13 09:26:04 PM  
What is Crazyfloyd on?

Just wonderin'...
2003-01-13 09:30:57 PM  
This happened because nobody bought any of the 5,000 dollar life sized Elephants and Giraffes
2003-01-13 09:46:33 PM  
Everyone please bow your heads as Tom Hanks plays Taps on the giant keyboard...
2003-01-13 10:09:46 PM  
Yeah, this technique that you all are talking about, dropping prices so low that the store takes a loss just to remove competitors, was thought up by Standard Oil back in the day. It works great!

Guess what Walmart is going to figure out that it can do when there's no competition left?

Blockbuster does the same thing, really. I used to have a chouce between Hollywood Video, Video Avenue, and a slew of small video rental businesses. Then Blockbuster infected Miami, started renting videos at $1.50 a pop, and everyone else went out of business. As soon as that happened, the prices went right back up to $4.50.

So now I have crappy choice, and high prices.
2003-01-13 10:16:56 PM  
It was only fun to play at the store, but buying stuff gave my parents a heart attack. 120$ for a small Lego set? Hell no
2003-01-13 11:11:09 PM  
Will they have to pay off their credit cards first like normal citizens?
2003-01-13 11:46:51 PM  
...its good to know at least they wiped...
2003-01-14 01:36:48 AM  
Ahh, finally. My day has come at last!!

For I have WORKED for the evil that is FAO Schwarz.

First off, the reason every FAO Schwarz employee has become a mental case is due to the neverending supply of customers who still cannot write or say 'FAO Schwarz' as anything but 'FAO Schwartz'. Seriously. You'd feel the embolism inching closer every time someone handed you that check. Also, parents used to drop their kids off in the store like it was some free babysitting service. It got so bad we were allowed to go out and inform parents that leaving their child there was 'abandonment' (no idea if this was legit or not). Most parents were not happy to hear this.

Second, their prices were way high. That was one reason the video games went, which was a really sad and totally dumb move.. except they were priced so high nobody bought them but employees with discount. I recall the only time our shelves were emptied was of course, Christmas. At that point parents were so desperate to have whatever toy their progeny demanded they'd pay the higher prices.

And yes, the store itself was after you. That damn clock.. just when you'd tune it out of your head, someone would ask 'doesn't that get on your nerves?' and it's back in full force.

Lastly, the worst part of that store were the collectors. I can't tell you which was worse, the barbie fiends or the action figure maniacs, but the second toymaker X hinted that 'Superhypermintyman version 12' or 'Drunken Bender Barbie' might be made, we'd have callers wanting to be on the list. The day that either would actually arrive.. well.. it reminded me of the Cabbage Patch Kids frenzy, but there were no children involved, just collectors in rabid consumer mode.

Not one of my favorite jobs. The only decent thing about it was having a cool boss that after closing, would let us have Nerf Wars.
2003-01-14 01:51:46 AM  
I don't know how they get people willing to work at FAO Schwarz...they play that song...over....and over....and over......and over.....and over.....and over......

The talking tree in there reminds me of this thing that used to be in commercials for Fun Fruits. Or maybe I'm just crazy (from hearing that song over and over, of course).
2003-01-14 02:05:17 AM  
Just one more reason that President Bush needs to drop a bunch of farking daisy cutters on Wal Mart's World Headquarters
2003-01-14 02:47:45 AM  
I was there once and I didn't like it. Probably all those damned anklebiters running around.
2003-01-14 01:45:38 PM  
Guess what Walmart is going to figure out that it can do when there's no competition left?


So now I have crappy choice, and high prices.

And this is what M*cr*s*ft wants to bring to the world. Don't say you weren't warned.
2003-01-14 06:39:22 PM  
So Clem, how many times did you go through that yearly torture known as "Eech-mas" and also "The Sleighride Through Hell"?
2003-01-15 01:29:51 AM  
Prolly past the expiration date on this article, but Xmas twice, and inventory once.

Now, the songs.. like I said, after a while you tuned them out. And invariably, halfway through ringing someone up they'd ask that question 'doesn't this music drive you nuts?' and bam, you're back in hell.

It wasn't good. I worked there during the height of the Power Rangers craze, and man, did THAT suck ass.

Funny story time! If you were working the floor, you were supposed to demo a toy. And one day, out of sheer idiocy (induced by the damn clock song or maybe the tree) I chose a squirt gunesque toy called the 'Shout and Shoot'. Now, the premise is very simple. Blocky sorta sci-fi helmet with microphone, and a small 360 degree squirt turret (so you could shoot people behind you? Above you? Soak your own foot? I don't make 'em, I just sold them) which sounds like a bad idea already.

So some man walks up and asks what I'm wearing on my head. I answer with 'It's a Shout and Shoot squirtgun', but on the word 'Shoot' it shot. Hit him right in the chest. At this, I gave a nervous laugh which was JUST loud enough... to shoot again. And so of course I laughed again, and yep, it shot again. This cycle repeated with the customer standing there becoming more and more incredulous until my cool boss (the one who let us have nerf gun fights after hours) wandered by and dragged me off, so I wouldn't keep shooting this guy until he flipped out and.. I dunno. But it just was an eternity, this odd loop of me laughing and more water hitting this guy... over.. and over.

I didn't have to demo many toys after that. And you also would not believe what I did to get out of working the Barbie section, but it worked. And no, it didn't even involve the regodamndiculous Barbie YACHT with working blender.
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