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Remember This… ?

May 24, 2007

ticklemeelmo.jpgTickle Me Elmo

Every year, there seems to be that “must have” toy at Christmas. In 1996, the case was as profound as ever. The frenzy that happened involving the “Tickle Me Elmo” doll was absolutely insane. Parents were literally brawling in the store aisles, fighting to get the last Elmo doll on the shelf.

I remember shopping in Toys R’ Us with my Mom, looking for a present for my sister. I saw some of the Tickle Me Elmo’s, and thought that she’d like one. We decided to get it the next time we were at the store. This was a few weeks before everything went mad, and right before it became nearly impossible to find one.

Tickle Me Elmo was originally priced at around $30, but at the height of the obsession, it was going for upwards of $1500 on eBay. Parents were easily paying $400 and $500 without thinking twice (I remember seeing several of the Elmo toys in the local Classifieds for prices of up to $700).

I never really understood why there was such a demand for this stuffed toy. It said a few cute things, but was nothing all that special. It basically comes down to hype and supply and demand. Whether it was intentional or not, “Tyco” (the company that made the toy) didn’t produce enough of them, thus creating the massive demand.

I remember, about a week before Christmas, several more of these were released. Thanks to that, on Christmas morning my sister got to unwrap her present, and sitting in the box was a brand new talking Tickle Me Elmo doll. A doll we purchased a week before Christmas for around $30.

My Mom and I had a pretty good laugh when we found some sitting on the shelves, a few days before Christmas, at- which in comparison to $1500- a pretty good price.

A few weeks after Christmas, I was walking through the toy section at WalMart, and there sitting in the discount bin, were a few Tickle Me Elmo dolls for $19.99. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I was the guy who paid $1500 for one just a few months earlier.

In September 2006 a new Elmo doll, called TMX (aka Tickle Me Elmo Xtreme, or Tickle Me Elmo 10) was released. According to Wikipedia, “rather than simply vibrating like the original, the TMX rolls around on the floor laughing and smashing his fist on the ground, begging for the tickler to stop.”

Thanks to promotional campaigns from Amazon and Toys R’ Us, there were huge pre-sales on the toy, and just like the toy from ten years previous, some people just had to have it, and went to extreme ends to get one. One person from Tampa, Florida was actually threatened with a gun over the new version of the toy.

Apparently some of the TMX dolls were in such limited quantities, they went up to nearly $2,000 in price.

Haven’t people learned from the past? I guess not.

> Read more ‘Remember This?’ posts

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