Who’s having a good week? Who’s having a bad one?
Every week we track the highs, lows and everything in between. We give you … What’s Up? What’s Down?
UP: TOYS R US
The iconic toy retailer and former titan of the industry has had a rough go of things the last few years, filing for bankruptcy in 2017 and 2018 and shuttering all of its North American stores not long after. But Toys R Us announced this week it plans to launch a brand-new, brick-and-mortar storefront in New Jersey’s American Dream Mall.
This time, the beloved children’s brand is pulling out all the stops. The new, 20,000-square-foot store will reportedly feature an ice cream shop and a “multi-level” slide for patrons to enjoy while they browse two stories of toys and games.
Executives said the new flagship location will be “reminiscent” of the Toys R Us of yore. Shoppers can expect the same colorful design and playful atmosphere that made the stores so memorable in years past.
There’s no word yet if Geoffrey the Giraffe, the brand’s famous mascot who was briefly ditched a few years ago, will have a presence at the new store. But nostalgia is always in fashion, so this week, Toys R Us is way up.
First, the retail giant was forced to pay $10 million to a North Carolina woman who stepped on a rusty nail while shopping at her local Walmart in Florence. The shopper reportedly needed “multiple amputations” to fight off the infection that resulted.
Then, the company had to pay a staggering $2.1 million to an Alabama woman who employees falsely accused of shoplifting. Walmart workers alleged that the Mobile resident was trying to leave the store with $48 of merchandise without paying (she did pay.) The company reportedly demanded she give them $200 in restitution, and threatened a civil lawsuit if she wouldn’t cough up the money.
Walmart had to pay an arm and a leg after a shopper literally lost her leg. So this week, they’re trending way down.
UP: ALEXANDER MCLEISH
The Massachusetts resident was recovering from open-heart surgery this week when he received a “get well soon” card from a friend containing three scratch-off lottery tickets.
To his surprise, McLeish found he had won the second-place prize on a card called “$5,000,000 100X Cashword.” He collected his $1 million prize from the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission for a game that cost $20 to play.
A speedy, smooth recovery from open-heart surgery is lucky enough. But to wake up in the hospital as a millionaire is a sure sign that you’re trending up.
DOWN: WEST POINT CADETS
Students at the United States Military Academy are under a lot of pressure. So you can’t blame them for blowing off steam with silly traditions like stealing the Naval Academy’s mascot, a billy goat named Bill.
But this week, West Point cadets, who planned to kidnap the kid ahead of the annual Army-Navy college football game, found themselves in hot water when it turned out they stole the wrong goat.
The would-be pranksters reportedly showed up to the same farm where Bill was being cared for, but instead of nabbing “goat number 34,” they left with “goat number 37” — a 14-year-old, one-horned “retiree.”
The West Point cadets could still win the war, but they’ve certainly lost this battlle. So this week, they’re definitely trending down.
Call it beginner’s luck.
This 13-year-old U.K. girl was metal detecting for the third time ever when she stumbled on a trove of ancient Bronze Age weaponry in Royston, north of London.
Milly and her father contacted historians about the find, who determined the axes likely dated back to 1300 B.C.E. The pair had reportedly unearthed about 20 artifacts before leaving the site, but an archaeological survey of the area eventually dug up 65 never-before-seen pieces of history.
According to the BBC, the items will be sent to the British Museum in London for further study and eventual display. Milly said she wants any money to be split with the property owner.
The 13-year-old’s mother told reporters she thinks her daughter is most interested in metal detecting so she can find gold. But a priceless trove of ancient artifacts isn’t bad either. Things are looking up for Milly!
DOWN: DR. OZ
The TV doctor made waves this week when he announced his intention to run for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, the state where he earned his master’s degree and his doctorate back in the ‘80s.
Dr. Oz said he wanted to run for office to help heal the nation’s divides, but Americans seemed to unite this week to ridicule the TV personality’s political ambitions. Critics chided that Dr. Oz had made questionable medical claims on his afternoon TV program, and pointed out that the one-time heart surgeon doesn’t live in Pennsylvania and had little connection to the state, aside from studying there in his college days.
What’s more, some local affiliates began pulling Dr. Oz’s show from their daytime lineup, citing FCC rules that govern “equal time” for political content on network television.
It’s a long road to November 2024, but if this week was any indication, the prognosis for Dr. Oz’s senate campaign is looking grim.
DOWN: UNVACCINATED GERMANS
Germans who have hesitated to take the Covid-19 vaccine were given plenty of reasons to schedule an appointment for the jab this week. First, officials announced that “shops and bars” would be off-limits for unvaccinated patrons — unless they’ve previously contracted the virus and recovered, according to CNN.
Then, the German Euthanasia Association issued new guidelines mandating that you need proof of vaccination to enter any affiliated clinic in the country — that is, Germans who wish to end their lives are going to need to get the shot first.
The good news for unvaxxed Germans is that Chancellor Angela Merkel is reportedly eyeing a proposal to make inoculation mandatory in the country. If euthanasia clinics are shunning you it’s a sure sign that you’re trending down.
The pop music icon made headlines this week after officials in Barbados — her home country — declared Rihanna a national hero on Tuesday.
In addition to that distinction, the Grammy-winning artist was officially dubbed “the right honorable” Rihanna in a ceremony led by Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley in Puerto Rico. The honor was bestowed just as the country is transitioning from a British Commonwealth member to a fully independent republic, according to the Associated Press.
Rihanna has been a household name and a fixture of popular culture in America for almost two decades now. But there’s no place like home. So this week, she’s trending up.
(And no, she’s not pregnant.)
DOWN: CHRIS CUOMO
The once-popular anchor found himself at the center of controversy this week, after it was revealed that Chris Cuomo was intimately involved in planning his brother’s PR strategy in the face of sexual misconduct allegations.
The New York Attorney General’s office released documents this week related to the investigation of disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo, who resigned in August after a months-long scandal involving accusations by several former aides. In those documents, investigators claimed that Chris Cuomo helped his embattled brother devise and deploy a plan to remain in power while the scandal played out.
The sudden fall from grace marks the apparent departure of a bona fide political dynasty that, less than two years ago, seemed poised to capture the White House. The Cuomo brothers have had a quick descent. So, yes, they are waaay down.
UP: STEVEN SPIELBERG
The giant of American cinema reasserted himself this week with rave reviews for West Side Story, a cinematic retelling of the iconic Broadway musical.
Critics lauded the film as a return to form for Spielberg, who is widely credited with inventing the blockbuster movie but has been on his back foot since 2018’s Ready Player One failed to impress. In his first whack at the musical genre, critics said America’s favorite director managed to evoke a timeless story while maintaining broad appeal — a hallmark of Spielberg’s style.
See you next week for What’s Up? What’s Down?