Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The "IT" Toy of the Year?

The Doc will be in at our house this Xmas!
Remember when Tickle Me Elmo came out and there were riots at stores because people had to have it for their children at Christmas? And the Furby? And Play Station 2? Or 3? And all the hype surrounding Nintendo Wii? I will never forget that episode of South Park, where Cartman can't wait until Christmas to get his Nintendo Wii so he freezes himself in the middle of nowhere and Butters is supposed to unthaw him, but forgets, and he isn't unthawed until like the year 3013? And by that time the Wii is totally obsolete (obviously.) And then the episode of The Office where Dwight buys all those princess dolls and sells that at an absurd mark-up because they are the "it" toy of the holiday season? Yeah, I watch a lot of tv.

I am a sucker for these kinds of things now that I have kids. Last year it was the Elmo Rocks doll that I told my parents M "had to have" so they bought it weeks before her birthday (which is the first week of December) and had it shipped to our house. She opened it, and was full of excitement, and sang along with Elmo...for about five minutes. I think in the past year she has used it for a grand total of 30 minutes...tops.

Well today I just started pinning some stuff on my "Christmas Gifts 2012" board on Pinterest, specifically for the girls. Now Val doesn't really need presents. She will be 4 months old when Christmas rolls around, for crying out loud. I could give her an empty milk carton and she would be all giggles. She is way too young for gifts this year. But M, she has her big third birthday coming up in just 4 weeks, and then of course Christmas right after that, and I feel like this is the first year that she actually understands what happens during the holidays. Plus, I LOVE giving people gifts. I like to put a lot of thought into gifts, give them something creative, or something they would never buy themselves, but possibly hinted at wanting some time in passing. That is why Christmas is my jam!

So while I was pinning things, I did a search for Doc McStuffins, as that is M's latest favorite "program" as my husband and I jokingly call her shows (that is what my 89 year old grandmother calls all her shows she watches on tv and I just love it.) I came across this fabulous doctor's bag, which I know she will die for (and will probably drive me insane as she tries to check my heartbeat for the 1000 time, but I will smile and let her) and then saw this interactive doll as well.

As I do with all my purchases on Amazon, I first read the reviews. I saw that multiple people said not to purchase it on Amazon as you could find it at Target or Toys R Us for half the price. And then one of the reviews referred to it as the "IT" toy of the season, and to get it fast. Well, you know I had to have it then!! So I looked on those two websites, only to find that it was sold out online - but is listed for $29.99. I did a search online to see if I could pick it up in stores and it was sold out at every Toys R Us within 50 miles, as well as Target...in the northeast! So I tried my parents zipcode in Florida - SOLD OUT EVERYWHERE!!

No wonder on Amazon it is listed for $60, double the price of everywhere else! You can't get it anywhere and it is already November. And of course it says on there "only 6 left" so obviously they are a hot commodity! I took a second to think about this - was I really going to spend $60 on a toy, that I had never seen in person, that is really only $30 in value (and probably cost $5 to make) just because it seemed like the most popular toy of the season? You bet I was.

And now that I have purchased it, and thought about it a little more as I write this post I now think that this is the greatest marketing ploy that a toy company could come up with...

Release a toy (or game), that features a recently popular or new animated character, in a limited quantity  (maybe one or two per store) to Target and Toys R Us just before the holiday season, when the dedicated shoppers start their shopping. Have someone go online and and write reviews on the sites talking about how this is the greatest toy they have seen all year, and a "must have" for your little girl (or boy.) Toy then sells out, due to high demand and low quantity. Mark up the toy by double and sell on Amazon, now calling it the "IT" toy of the season, and mention how you "can't get it anywhere else."

Put in shopping basket...check out! Done!! You got this idiot Mom you marketing geniuses!

Watch when I got to Target next time it is on sale for $9 and there are 1000 of them. Blurg.

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