Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Toys "Я" Fucked: Why this should be a surprise to no one.

Fatal blows.  Rarely are they instantaneous.  Oh sure, there's the pink-mist and the head-shot, but most of the time it's a seemingly agonizingly slow process (like when that lady got stabbed by her boyfriend then rolled around and died in front of Taco Madre on Montague Street... that shit took a few minutes.  After seeing that I decided I didn't want tacos after all).  So it's no surprise that large companies can keep going along as if everything is fine, until finally, the merely potentially fatal wound they've been ignoring for years becomes an inescapable reality.

To what should be the surprise of no one, but somehow I am sure it is to someone,  Toys "Я" Us finds itself all Kobayashi Maru and is raising the white flag. 

He's gonna be sucking dicks for fidget spinners by the end of the year.

While the concept of Toys "Я" Us could have been brought into the modern day by smart people, the outdated CEO mentality of "cut cut cut" was firmly in place and has pretty much spelled doom for the place.  See, you could have a company that makes rotary telephones at 1000% efficiency from any other company at any time in history, and you will still go down in flames because you forgot what year this is.  This is called "doing it wrong" in business.  Trying to be more efficient doing something that is no longer viable as a business strategy in and of itself is how CEOs and Corporate Boards run companies slowly, but surely, into the ground. 

What Toys "Я" Us failed to realize is that they didn't sell toys.  Other places sell toys.  Toys "Я" Us sells fun.  Now of course that means different things to different people, and Toys "Я" Us was never going to be able to sell every kind of fun out there (Six Flags sells fun, but it's not the same, that's destination-fun, not portable-fun).  Toys "Я" Us had the chance to learn this early on, when they were the largest video-game retailer in the entire country.  Video games are not toys and never were.  All they had to do was realize that.  Whoopsie.  They stayed so long in the waters of traditional retail that their fingers became so pruney they couldn't climb out. 

And once again, The NY Times shows it's about as in touch with reality as your grandmother who forwards you emails about Obama's birth certificate from an AOL account. 

 So the media narrative is going to be that Toys "Я" Us was murdered and not the victim of its own incompetence and ignorance-fueled inertia keeping them in Sargasso until they ran out of provisions.  I am sure the Wall Street Journal will try to blame this on "those darn millennials" because we don't drive out to a shopping center to look for out of stock Transformer reboot hunks of plastic made by slave-labor in China, and instead just buy shit on Amazon because our bosses made us stay 2 extra hours to make a spreadsheet/power-point that they are going to take your name of off and put their name on tomorrow at the company retreat (twice a year I had to teach the CFO of a giant multinational education company what "cut+paste" was in Excel so he could stop printing out pages and literally re-typing them). 

So, who are our Giraffe murderers?  Well the finger is most likely going to get pointed at the three biggest kids on the block:

They just finished burying Sears Holdings and Radio Shack out in the desert just down from where Netflix left Blockbuster.

Now if you really think about it, Target and Walmart just beat Toys "Я" Us at the only game they chose to stay in (traditional retail), and Amazon beat them in a game they didn't even know existed until it was too late.  Oh but wait, they are going to charge a few other companies with accessory to commit murder:

Not as easy to find these things as I thought they would be.

And so this just becomes a story about how things aren't what they used to be and isn't that just too bad.  That's like feeling sorry for manufacturers of iron lungs and crutches because a polio vaccine was invented.  Toys "Я" Us had the chance to make sure they could stay relevant by not only having a website that didn't suck in terms of being able to order things, but they could have found other forms of fun to sell, even moving into exclusive or licensed media content available in non-packaged form.  You think that's too hard to do?  Oh then why just you go ask LEGO if that's a thing you can do.  Yeah, shut up; Toys "Я" Us could have done enough of that to stay relevant.  Yes it would have taken some serious restructuring, but it's not gonna happen now.

LEGO is a great example of how a company can "stand up on a surfboard after 14 pints of stout" as it were.  Meaning that as things move forward in time (as they are like to do), if you read the momentum of your supporting environment, then use your own skill and resources to move forward with that momentum, rather than ignoring it  (or worse, fighting it) you can stay afloat and maybe even surpass some other surfers out there on the same ocean.  Even Amazon is realizing that it's important to sell what you own, not just own what you sell.

You think in 2002 LEGO thought they'd be doing anything like this?

Chapter 11 ≠ 7
Yeah I know Mr. Commenty McComment-face, I literally have a graduate degree in this stuff.  Chapter 7 is a liquidation event with creditors then shareholders getting to be first in line at the buffet of what comes in.  Chapter 11 assumes that the entity will reemerge after a bit of a corporate "time out" so to speak.  Here's the thing, Blockbuster filed Chapter 11, so did Radio Shack, Circuit City, and Borders Books.  Lots of examples end up with vultures picking the bones clean anyway, and Toys "Я" Us is going to be added to that list, Sears is gonna try but the court probably won't let them because they're that far gone, and then Best Buy somewhere around October/November 2018 .  A company you don't expect to do so in a few years is Fresh Direct, but you watch what Amazon does to it with their new toy, Whole Foods.  So Toys "Я" Us is going to file Chapter 11 and during that time, under the guise of restructuring, things are going to be monetized, surreptitiously liquidated, and funneled into executive retirement packages and dividends (the X-mas holiday season is gonna be the big juicy one they just suck everything out of while they sell things "at cost").  Then they'll just toss up their hands, blame "the market" or "that there internet," local news will run paid-for stories about the lowest level workers losing their jobs and how sad is this turn of events that couldn't be helped because "new economy" or some shit, and the top level execs will have it on in the background while they are sucking down champagne on Barbados or something.  You won't care because you'll be waiting for your Amazon.com or LootCrate delivery from UPS and wondering when was that fucking time you were even in a Toys "Я" Us?

Also never do a search for "giraffe" and "sucking dicks"  You are gonna find a whole world of something you don't need to know exists.

Seriously it's like a train wreck; you want to look away but you can't.  ...fucking giraffe pron.

No comments: