Friday, September 7, 2012

An Oopsie Daisy Christmas Story

It’s a familiar story.  Christmas. Hot toy. Short supply. Crying kid. Desperate parents.

Solution?  Search the Internet … Amazon, Ebay, etc.  Pay a premium, but have a happy kid on Christmas morning.

Only, this was the late 1980s.  Amazon and eBay weren’t even twinkles in their creators’ eyes. The Sears Christmas Wishbook was king. And my niece wanted a special doll, an Oopsie Daisy doll, that just could not be found.

My brother and his wife had searched all over Atlanta for the doll to no avail, and finally asked if we could search in our area, about 90 miles south in Macon.  Of course, the doll was sold out here as well, and I broadened my search to the small town where I worked, Milledgeville, and to the city where my sometime girlfriend lived, Athens.

Unfortunately, it seemed like Santa wouldn’t be able to deliver that year.

Then, I had an epiphany.  I worked at a newspaper, so I wrote a column detailing my problems trying to find the special gift. Now, Milledgeville is a small town with a small town paper, but never, ever underestimate the power of the press.

Two days after the column ran, I received a call from a reader who said they had a doll that they would sell me.  It seems that they too had wanted a doll for their little girl, and were lucky enough to have found one.  And like my brother, they too had put out the word to relatives to look for the doll.  And, lo and behold, a relative in Alaska had found a doll, and sent it to them.  So, they had two, and offered to sell one to me at retail price.

Obviously, my niece had a merry Christmas that year.

That was about 25 years ago, and while the song may have changed, the dance is the same.  Kids still want the newest, flashiest, cutest toys, and parents are still eager to please their little munchkins, no matter how much it costs. 

As online sellers, we can take advantage of this parental devotion, provided we have enough foresight to purchase stock of hot items before the Christmas frenzy hits. For example, in 2009, Zhu Zhu Pets and their accessories were hot, and in short supply, even months before Christmas.  Retail price was around $9 each, but I was fortunate enough to buy a few on eBay in September for around $20 each.  I held on to them until Black Friday, and listed them for $60 each, and most sold within hours.  In December, though, the manufacturer caught up, and the online priced dropped back to normal.  Luckily, all mine had sold by then.  Today, it’s hard to give away Zhu Zhu Pets; their time has passed.

By now, I’m sure you are asking yourself which toys are hot this year.  Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a website that lists all the hot toys?  You maybe could catch a few on sale now, and sell them for a profit later as we plunge headlong into the silly season. 

And wouldn’t it be even cooler if that same website could tell you which major retailers had the toys in stock? After all, if no major retailer has them in stock in December, and you were lucky enough to buy a few in September, cha ching!

OK, I’ve kept you suspense long enough.  There is such a website:

Good luck, good hunting, and don’t say I never gave you anything.

Have a profitable weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the info Scott. I just purchased some clearance winter capes from a high end store...bought like 15 of them...they are almost all sold out everywhere...we'll see how those do. LOL

    Margaret @ Live Like No One Else