Crazy People

The Toys R Us Big Book was released today, with lots of toys for kids to drool over and beg their parents for. It was also today that every Toys R Us was releasing its only shipment of TMX Elmo dolls to the public, along with presales for the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii.

After a little thought, I decided to try to get a TMX Elmo. Does Cordy like Elmo? Not really. Do I like Elmo? No way. But seeing the crazy prices on eBay for this little annoying doll made me think that if I could find one, just one, I could sell it on eBay and use the profit for Christmas this year. Yeah, call me greedy and evil and a horrible person. But Christmas gifts always stretch our budget to the breaking point (because we have so many people we have to buy for, and yes, I do try to make homemade gifts as much as possible), and reselling one Elmo doll would easily cover several gifts.

Aaron and I arrived at the Toys R Us at the opening this morning, and I was a little surprised to see the line around the store. I mean, yeah, I figured all the gamers would be out for the Playstation 3 and Wii presales, but certainly that line can’t also be people wanting TMX Elmo, right?

We waited in line, listening to others talk about what they were there to buy. Soon it was clear Elmo was also a highly wanted item. Two older women in front of us were both looking for Elmo for their grandkids. A thought crossed my mind that if I did get a ticket to buy Elmo, which meant I was eligible to buy two of them, I’d let someone else in the crowd have my second one if they couldn’t get a ticket.

However, the line starting moving very quickly, and soon it was apparent that there were no more tickets left for anything. There were supposed to be 81 Elmos at that store, and while the line was long, I didn’t see how they were gone so fast. We decided to go inside and look around anyway.

While in the store, I got to hear people complaining to the manager, and talking to others on cell phones. Apparently some people stood in line for a long time, then at the last minute brought every other member of their family into the line with them so they could each get a ticket for the Elmo. One lady who walked past me was saying that the people in front of her demanded 4 tickets for Elmo (since it was one ticket per person), a ticket for each parent, and a ticket for each of their two young children just because they were there, and they planned to purchase all 8 they were eligible for. Soon it was obvious that most of the people who got Elmo dolls were not interested in keeping them – most would be showing up on eBay sometime in the next week.

A store employee said the line actually started yesterday at 5pm, and got longer through the night. Again, I could understand waiting in line for a PS3, because gamer teens can be obsessive when a new system comes out, but an Elmo doll that laughs and vibrates? I was willing to try to get one today, but I didn’t want it so bad that I was going to wait overnight in the freezing cold. The manager was being yelled at left and right by people who said the distribution wasn’t fair, and it was obvious that many of these people were getting several Elmo dolls to resell.

I was reminded of the hysterical craze over Cabbage Patch Kids the first year they came out. With no eBay back then, most of the people wanting them actually wanted them for their kids. I got one for Christmas that year, thanks to my grandmother going to Children’s Palace early the day after Thanksgiving, standing in a tightly packed swarm of moms, dads, and grandmothers, and being lucky enough to catch and hang onto one of the boxes they were throwing down from the upper stock shelves. My grandmother was offered hundreds of dollars to give up her prize as she left the store, but she knew I wanted one, and she wasn’t giving it up.

Those people were fighting to bring happiness to their kid, instead of fighting over who was going to make a fortune reselling them. (Although I’m sure there were resellers even back in the early 80′s, just not the numbers you see today.) So thinking back, I did feel a little guilty wanting to buy one just to sell it on eBay. But at the same time I wasn’t being greedy, like some people there – I wanted one to resell, not several. Am I just as greedy as them for wanting one that I didn’t plan to keep? The $60 in profit would go a long way for Christmas gifts, which was my original intention in doing this.

However, it wasn’t meant to be, and I’m fine with that. There were people who were far more determined to get one (or several) than me, and that’s OK. We left the store empty-handed, although we did get the chance to look at a few items we might like to get Cordy for Christmas. And unlike my grandmother, I didn’t have to nearly get in a fist fight for a chance at the hot toy for Christmas.

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  1. Oh I remember the whole Cabbage Patch Doll craze – I got one about a year after they were “cool.” I remember my mother telling someone that she read in the paper about one woman biting another woman’s finger off to buy a CBD! Crazy!

  2. “Those people were fighting to bring happiness to their kid, “

    No…no they were buying them because the THOUGHT and were told by the marketers that they would make their kids happy..same with the ELMO thing.

    Marketing and hype for a toy…like all battery operated one horse toy…that the kids will lose interest over after about two goes.

  3. hi there, i seen your blog about elmo and i have a site that might have it.. just thought i would share..
    enjoy and happy holidays

  4. seriously, elmo is about the lamest character out there; cordy’s better off without him.

    i totally remember the cpk craze – and my crazed mother running out of the house because someone at a dep’t store 2 hours away had called to finally say they had one for her/me. my mom was gone in a whoosh, yelling, ‘i don’t know what it looks like or if it’s a boy or a girl or black or white, but they have one for us – be back later!’
    seriously, she did not hustle like that when i called to tell here that her grandchild’s birth was iminent.

    stupid crazes. but, um, i was working at a toystore through the apex of the beanie baby thing, so i bought tons and i actually had a ‘dealer’ who helped me unload them for a juicy profit. yes, i was a beanie baby pimp. gross, but it helped pay for my uni education.

  5. All this fuss for a toy that will have the parents looking for a suitable hiding place so their child won’t annoy them with that damn laugh of Elmo’s….

    I remember the CPK craze. My parents missed out the first year and then the next year bought me TWO.

    I remember thinking the dolls were so lame and being so disappointed as I tried to smile and pretend excitement.

    Boy, was I a spoiled brat….

  6. Wow. People. I don’t understand ‘em. I hate it that Christmas has gotten so ugly. Slipshod are going to tell our family members that we don’t need anything again this year. The house we just moved into is almost twice the size of our old house, and we can’t fit all our shit in! There is something very wrong with that.

    As for family gifts I am hoping to make up some batches of soap and just give that (and we’ll buy separately for the kids, of course), but am wondering if I’m going to be able to pull that off. Can’t do it around the kids ’cause it involves lye. Wish me luck… but our families don’t need anything either. Slipshod’s probably wouldn’t notice if we didn’t give them anything (my family is much smaller but probably wouldn’t care).

  7. lol I received a Cabbage Patch doll that year. In fact that was the year I discovered there was no Santa, because my Dad was telling the story of having to fight for the doll! I was so disappointed but then when I went to school and kids did not have one I was totally grateful.

    I am so not going there with Elmo … Becca is too young for all the hype so I figure we should wait until it is a must!

  8. daundelyon says:

    I guess my parents lucked out, I never wanted a CPK-I thought they were kinda creepy.

    I can’t stand these situations that the toy companies engineer. It would be understandable if they produced a toy, it was more popular than expected, and thus a shortage. But hyping the toy like it’s the cure for cancer then producing only a limited quantity is nuts.
    Heck, I remember being afraid that there was going to be a riot over some sneakers at the mall one day. I was on the second floor by the High Street entrance, and the shoe store was directly below us. Fortunately the cops showed up to keep things cool. It was NOT a good day.

  9. I always got the “hot” gift for Christmas two or three years later (ie, Nintendo, CPKs, etc.) Although the year CPKs were BIG, my aunt made my sister and I, as well as her six daughters, all dolls that looked a lot like the originals. Then and now, I liked the doll my aunt gave me better :)

    That’s why I don’t buy into all this hype surrounding the Elmo dolls and such. Sadly, my kids will have to also go to their friends’ houses on Dec. 26th to play with whatever fad happens to be hot each year.

  10. I think I got one of those cabbage patch dolls that way too. The reselling thing to me is a bit weird, not that i haven’t considered it, but I wonder who would buy it? But I know people do. I despise waiting early andin lines for one gift, it makes me nuts. I won’t do it for an Elmo, even thought my daughter would love it. However I did do it last year for a Pegasus Barbie and horse that my oldest just had to have.

  11. Goldberry says:

    I remember being eaten alive by irate customers when the Holiday Barbies came out and our store only had 18. And when Furby came out and there was a shipping problem…so glad I was NOT a manager.

  12. my mom tried to bribe some toys r us employee on friday for one. it wasn’t pretty. I was embarassed

  13. I would have tried to get one too if I knew I could resell it for so much!

  14. I think the whole Elmo thing is lame!! Yeah I think my kids would get a giggle out of the toy but there is no way I would ever spend that much money for a few seconds of play time. Some people are NUTS!

  15. Oh my God…what the heck is wrong with people?

    I do remember the Cabbage Patch craze. I didn’t get one until several years later. My mother refused to spend three times the amount just to get me one. Who could blame her? Even at that young age, I understood that lesson.

    As a side, though, I like your entreprenurial spirit! I agree, the extra money certainly would come in handy for Christmas.

  16. God, I hate Elmo. We have one Elmo hand-me-down toy and the Kid loves it. I … do… not.

    Thankfully he’s too young for marketing ploys this year. Whew. And if someone gets it for him for his birthday/Christmas? EBAY! WOO!

  17. I remember the Cabbage Patch craze when I was little and my mom explaining the fights breaking out in stores and thinking to myself way back then how silly it was. Pretty crazy. I wonder what the people buying the Elmos on ebay are getting out of this. It’s not like their child can understand the magnitude of what they’re doing to get the doll.

  18. People are crazy, that’s what I think! I think Toys R Us creates the hype themselves, because this new Elmo doll has been out on shelves of various other stores (like Wal-mart) where I live for a month or so.

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