Nothing beats the memories of Toys R Us. As a kid I feel like I got to go there fairly regularly, like maybe once every couple of months. Just walking around, able to look at every toy I could ever want, rifling through all the packages and boxes. I was a big GI Joe fan, so my most of my memories basically look like this:
Wasn't always there to buy, half the time was just window shopping, as my dad probably saw it as a cheap activity to get us out of the house for a little bit so my mom could have some peace and quiet.
But the times when my dad said we could pick out 1 thing under $5-$10 were the best. Felt like I'd spend 30 minutes digging through all the GI Joe figures, and as a kid it felt like the rack went 20 deep (even though it was probably more like 4-5), had to look through them all, couldn't risk making a decision without knowing every single figure that was available there (and always hoping to find some out-of-print figure buried deep in the rack).
Then I'd spend 10 minutes looking through the Transformers, then 10 minutes over to Legos. And of course spent a few minutes looking at the toys I didn't have any of, but still looked cool and would love to have: Rambo, Robocop, Karate Kid, Ninja Turtles, Thunder Cats, Ghostbusters, etc. Then usually always back to GI Joe again.
After an hour, I'd have narrowed my choices down to 3-4 possibilities, always tried to unsuccessfully bargain with my dad to let me get 2 things. Nothing quite like the pressure of my dad saying, "if you don't have something picked out in the next 2 minutes, you're going home with nothing."
And then there was the dream of winning that shopping spree from Nickelodeon or some cereal company: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3UgZt6ShYU
Disappointed my future kids may never get to experience this on the level that was Toys R Us. That toy aisle at Wal-Mart or Target just ain't going to cut it.