If you spend a lot of money at Toys ‘R’ Us, the chain’s rewards program may appeal to you. You earn rewards vouchers through in-store or online purchases, which you can exchange for even more toys after the holiday season. Why would anyone have a problem with that? Well, because you can only use them in-store. Employees recruited customers for the program in the chain’s holiday season pop-up stores, in areas that don’t have a year-round Toys R Us store. Now that the pop-up stores are gone, they just have some useless pieces of paper.
During the holidays, you could earn 10% back, up to $30 in “rewards” from Toys R Us if you signed up for their heavily-promoted rewards program. These “rewards” are paid out in the form of vouchers that MUST be spent IN-STORE (not online). This is regardless of whether you earned them at TRU online or in one of the 200 Christmas-only pop-up Toys R Us stores.
In our case, we do not have a Toys R Us store year-round, but only a pop up store. The pop up store closes this week, and most of the “rewards” vouchers aren’t valid until AFTER the popup is closed for the year. So we now have “rewards” earned online and at the popup TRU that are only valid in-store, and the rewards aren’t usable until the popup store is gone, then expiring 2 weeks later.
So our choice is to ignore the “rewards” and forget the program TRU urged us to sign up for exists, or drive 2 hours to the nearest Toys R Us to spend $30 after the coupons are valid. Both options are ridiculous.
Toys R Us shouldn’t be able to advertise their “rewards” program as such because it’s so restrictive it’s essentially a in-store coupon program, and it penalizes users who were deceived into signing up online or at the pop-up stores when they bought there, but don’t have a year-round store near them. They end up with unusable “rewards.” Another lovely failure of the World’s Worst-managed Toy Store.
The obvious solution, of course, would be to send the vouchers to a friend or family member who lives near a permanent store and can use them. Any person of any age can find something they might like there…even if it’s a giant pile of candy or some toys to donate to charity. That doesn’t make pushing the reward program on pop-up store customers any more fair, but at least the vouchers won’t go to waste.