Every year, there's a hot Christmas present. When I was a kid, it the Cabbage Patch kids that drew the frenzy (I ended up with an obvious knockoff that year). I've watched from afar the frenzy of the Tickle Me Elmo and the Beanie Babies, always thankful that I was ... well, afar.
This year, Mister Man and I roamed through Costco the week after Thanksgiving perusing the toys they had on hand to get an idea of what he and Little Miss might like for Christmas. He found a few things, and I made note of them.
On Black Friday, my husband went shopping, and he found the Crayola Crayon Maker (a hot item on Mister Man's very short list of ummm one item). Or at least, he found it advertised. When he arrived at the store, he ended up with a rain check as it wasn't a Black Friday special but instead just on sale.
Since we were in St. Louis, and we know my in-laws have no idea what to buy for anyone, they offered to hold onto the rain check for us and purchase the item. Fine with us, as that's one less item that we need to buy.
Fast forward to this afternoon, when my husband found out that his parents hadn't actually purchased the Crayon Maker. In their book, they then just wrote it off.
When my husband informed me of the news, I sighed but didn't despair. Little Miss and I were near some stores, so we surreptitiously shopped the toy department of two stores with no luck.
After we arrived home, I started looking online. Site after site -- including Amazon -- was sold out. Ooo not looking good. Then my husband announced that he was finding auctions on eBay where the Crayon Maker was being sold for $80 and more. Yikes!
In the interim, my husband visited the less busy Costco near us to see if he could purchase the Crayon Maker there. No dice. He spent the next hour driving from suburb to suburb stopping at all likely stores. He came home empty-handed.
That's when I got serious. I started searching for availability, which is when I found the following message on the Crayola website:
The Crayola Crayon Maker is a popular holiday item, with limited availability at many U.S. retail stores. We have encountered an extremely high consumer demand that has exceeded our expectations. Unfortunately, we cannot manufacture additional units in time to ship to retailers before the holidays. Please check the following retail stores in your area:
Walmart, Toys R Us, Target, Michael's, K-Mart, Amazon.com, A.C.Moore, Meijer, Walmart.com, JoAnn Stores, Shopko, Kohl's, Fred Meyer, Wegman's, Boscov's and Costco.
In my mind, this was good news. I knew where they were sold, and we have many of those stores in my area. In fact, the Walmart Website listed three stores in my area that had the Crayon Maker either in stock or with limited quantities.
My husband called the first Walmart and struck out. Then he called the second and third that the website should have some quantity left. Nope.
In the intervening two and a half hours, my husband and I have called every single Target, Meijer, Walmart, JoAnn's, Kohl's, Michael's, K-Mart, Toys R Us, and Costco in the area.
This is when I'm thankful that it's a Sunday and we aren't burning our cell phone minutes on our fruitless search, as not a one of them had the Crayon Maker in stock.
I was briefly optimistic when the K-Mart online chat found some websites that were still selling the Crayon Maker. Of course, that was using the term loosely. For the item that was less than $20 before Thanksgiving, the lowest price was $68.64. Some were close to $100.
My husband has started looking at all the prices on the eBay auctions, but I refuse. Christmas is about giving; it isn't about trying to make a quick buck off someone. I refuse to perpetuate the trend of people buying up what they think the "hot toy" will be and then selling it to the highest bidder. To me, that's as anti-Christmas as it gets.
The new questions he's asking me is what I plan to tell Mister Man come Christmas morning. Will I tell him that he wasn't good enough for Santa to bring it? (No.) Will I tell him he wasn't worth $80? (No.) Will I ruin his Christmas? (No!)
While this is a toy he wants, we don't always get what we want, and that's fine. He has a number of other toys and books that we've bought and that my parents have bought that I know he'll enjoy. I'd be willing to bet that he doesn't even remember about the Crayon Maker that day.
Am I wrong for holding hte line on not wanting people to profit from a shortage of product on Christmas?
And once Crayola is able to make more of them and have them in stores again? I'll go out with the wee ones, and we'll buy one together. I'm sure we'll enjoy it then, and in the interim no one's life will be ruined. And next year? If there's an item Mister Man really wants, I am not relying on my in-laws to procure it, thank you very much.
PS If you need a little Christmas present for yourself, my LOFT $200 gift card giveaway is ending on 12/25. And my $200 VISA gift card giveaway ends the following week.