I started using this SEO company for my site. I used one many years ago but gave up quickly. They put their write ups at the top of the category pages, https://www.toynk.com/collections/figures-collectibles-figures-action-figures
In my opinon this gives a terrible user experience. Is this the best practice for SEO these days? it seems dated
I would think twice about using it if you beleive it's a bad user experience. Do you have any way to measure that? Maybe do an a/b test and measure the bounce rate of a page with and without introductory text. Or use a heatmap tool to follow user activity on the page.
I'd also check the page in the Search Analytics report in the Google Search Console. See if it is ranking and causing visitors for you. As far as I can tell it is getting low rankings for some search terms which means it is probably not causing much traffic for you.
So if it does reduce the user experience, you probably won't miss out on much traffic if it is removed. And your other pages might take up the slack.
I'd personaly always try to provide some sort of intrudution, but focused on helping the user make decisions. there are a lot to chose from, and the sub category menu is not that obvious, and it's a long list. Can you help break things down to help people find what they want?