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Toys “R” Us can’t make money selling toys so it is selling children’s data

Puts a whole new spin on “I’m a Toys R Us Kid”, doesn’t it?

toys r us going out of business
Image: Shutterstock

Toys “R” Us went bankrupt last year, but it seems that the new owners of the brand are morally bankrupt as well. The brand recently opened two stores, one in Texas and one in New Jersey, which offer a completely different shopping experience to the Toys “R” Us you grew up with.

The difference? A partnership with startup b8ta which outfitted both stores with sensors to track your movements as you shop.

Toys “R” Us is now selling data on your kids

The sensor-strewn stores have cameras from RetailNext, which measure foot traffic throughout the store. Fine, right? Well… US law has something to say about collecting any data on kids under 13, and you can reasonably expect those to be in a Toys “R” Us store, right?

RetailNext says that their camera system is set to ignore kids, but their system is “generally trained to ignore objects, including people, under 4 feet tall.” Seems a weird cut-off point when 10-year-old Americans can be up to five feet tall.

There’s another big difference to the stores you grew up with, it seems that all Toys “R” Us owns is the name. See, the stores are now a destination. Think of it as a physical eBay, with brands like Nerf and Lego leasing floor space for their displays. The website is the same, with all links we tested going to products available to buy on Target. Weird, right?

I guess the age of being a Toys “R” Us kid is over, RIP our childhoods.

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Maker, meme-r and unabashed geek. Hardware guy here at KnowTechie, if it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't) I probably have one around here somewhere. My hobbies include photography, animation and hoarding Reddit gold.

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