Friday, September 25, 2009

Would you fight in the aisle over a $10 hamster?

I was reading at CNBC about the new must-have toy for Christmas which apparently is this Zhu Zhu Pet Hamster. From the article:

Maybe it's a sign of the times when one of the toys predicted to be among the top sellers this Christmas Holiday is a $10 Zhu Zhu pet hamster.

Toys 'R Us has issued its 2009 Holiday Hot Toy list. The list includes 36 total items, but the fuzzy hamster is one of the "Fabulous 15," which is considered to be the best of the best on the retailer's list.

The retailer puts a lot of effort into selecting these toys, which will be featured promiently at its stores and promotions. This year, the company has put an extra focus on selecting toys that offer parents good value.

I don't care how much a darn toy costs, there is no way I would fight in a aisle over much of anything, much less a $10 hamster. If a kid on my shopping list really wants this, I'll go to Amazon and cough up the extra $16.50 (or so) to have it shipped to me. Or a better alternative might be to teach the kids that a ten buck hamster is not anything that great.


Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

teaching kids about value would be good.

9:41 AM, September 25, 2009  
Blogger Ern said...

a ten buck hamster is not anything that great

Probably not, but it's only ten bucks and it has a better personality than the cashiers at Earth Fare.

10:17 AM, September 25, 2009  
Blogger HMT said...

Or teach your kids about supply and demand by buying 5 and sitting on them and selling them for $60 on ebay during the Christmas craze. Although I doubt anything on the TRU flier is really going to be a good candidate for that.

We made a killing off "Tickle Me Elmo's" back in the day. That was probably closer to arbitrage than real supply and demand. My wife found them on the shelf at a Target (early on a workday, just stocked) and bought 3, drove to another Target and did the same thing. One for us, one for a friend we knew wanted one for the kids but wouldn't pay the exorbitant price, one went into the "Toy's for Tot's" bin. The rest went to eBay.

10:34 AM, September 25, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God my kids are grown and I no longer have to worry about the new toy of the season. Unfortunately, now it's Honda Civics.

11:03 AM, September 25, 2009  
Blogger Fen said...

Yah, its not about the $10, its about the look on their kid's face Christmas morning when they realize there is no x-toy.

11:13 AM, September 25, 2009  
Blogger Joe said...

This is viral marketing. Pick a toy, pretend it's in such demand that people are fighting over it. If the meme sticks, you just sit back and rake in the cash. That they suckered you means they're doing okay so far.

11:15 AM, September 25, 2009  
Blogger Sloan said...

I've been a good boy this year. May I have a real hamster for Christmas? I promise to feed it and love it and let it roll around in one of those clear plastic balls.

11:54 AM, September 25, 2009  
Blogger Mister Wolf said...

These "must have toys" always remind me of Veruca from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

"I want a fake hamster NOW, Daddy!"

2:13 PM, September 25, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cabbage Patch dolls look like kids suffering from some sort of horrible disease.

5:15 AM, September 26, 2009  
Blogger Peg C. said...

Richard Gere and Barney Frank might. I'm sorry, just couldn't help it...

8:49 AM, September 26, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It won't be a 10.00 hampster. It will be a 100.00 hampster by the time you buy the basic supplies to keep the little rodent.

9:44 AM, September 26, 2009  
Blogger Nom de Blog said...

My solution: teach the kids early on in life that there is no "X toy": the Toy They Cannot Live Without. I don't mean take away their toys and make them learn to live without toys. I mean if you see them starting to get into that "I MUST have X" mindset, squash it early. If they "must have" a particular toy for Christmas and are getting really unhealthily obsessed with it, make a point of NOT giving it to them.

Don't encourage unhealthy behavior in your child, and he'll exhibit less of it later on in life. And for God's sake don't teach your kid that if there's something you're unhealthily obsessed over, you should go into debt just to have it.

10:12 AM, September 26, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

Any kid on my Christmas gift list is gonna get that All-American, red white and blue, help the economy present- underwear. And, if I'm in a particularly generous mood- a nice pair of socks. I mean, the kids won't appreciate it now, but ten years from now...well...they won't appreciate it then either. But it helps make America strong, so there ya go.

11:06 AM, September 26, 2009  
Blogger mockmook said...

Didn't know that price equals value; I'll keep that in mind from now on -- If granny makes me a sweater from $2 in yarn, the sweater is only "worth" $2.

And no matter how enjoyable the $10 hamster is, any $11 toy is better.

12:29 PM, September 26, 2009  
Blogger Dustin said...

"That they suckered you means they're doing okay so far." -Joe

Joe, who did Toys R Us sucker? No one in the thread or Dr Helen seems all that interested in this product. Why is the blogosphere so full of people trying to measure their worth by proving other people are dumber than they really are?

And I suspect they are NOT doing super great this year, last year, or the year before. Thanks in great part to competition from the internet.

2:23 PM, September 26, 2009  
Blogger Joe said...

Joe, who did Toys R Us sucker?

They suckered Dr. Helen into reporting that there was demand for a toy. That's the entire point of viral marketing; get people to talk and create a perception of demand.

This is why some companies create odd or dumb commercials--it gets people talking about the company and that's what's important.

(Microsoft's Windows 7 parties are a good example of this. The idea is lame; so lame just about every geek is talking about it which keeps Windows 7 buzz going.)

4:31 PM, September 26, 2009  
Blogger Mister Wolf said...

Joe is quite correct actually. This is the case where bad(or any) PR is good PR.

12:17 AM, September 27, 2009  
Blogger Bob Sorensen said...

Emphasize to the kids that "vintage" (the PC term for "used") items, when given with sincerity, are perfectly good gifts. It does not have to be brand new to be good. Also include a copy of a Flash drive with portable software, including a media player and a copy of "You Can't Always Get What You Want".

2:42 PM, September 27, 2009  
Blogger Old RPM Daddy said...

Could someone tell me what's the big deal about this toy? I gather from the Amazon link that it rolls around or something, and presumably one could program how it's supposed to roll around. Is that it? Or does it sense obstacles, find food pellets, bite annoying younger siblings, etc?

11:05 AM, September 28, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hamsters are vile little shits who haven't the brains to not bite the hell out of anyone. If you want to give an affectionate rodent, get a hooded rat. My daughter and I had two. Wonderfully social and playful and not a nibble, much less blood.

11:46 PM, September 28, 2009  

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