TMX Elmo Takes Christmas Shopping to the Extreme

Happy Halloween! Now on to Christmas... He's cute, furry, and loves to be tickled. So what's not to like about TMX Elmo, the must-have toy for Christmas 2006?

How about the price?

Tickle Me Elmo Extreme retails for $39.99 USD, which is bad enough for a doll that most likely will be forgotten by the time summer rolls around. But if you think that you will be able to buy TMX Elmo in a retail establishment like any other, ordinary toy, think again. You see, TMX Elmo was released to the public with much fanfare and--oh--much more than $39.99 worth of hype.

"The full look of the TMX doll was not revealed until it debuted live on ABC's Good Morning America and arrived on store shelves on September 19, 2006. Even the box it comes in is designed so that the doll can not be seen without purchasing it. A preview flap is included on the box , but upon opening, you see Elmo's eyes. He says "Ah, ah, ah, ah! No peeking!" and giggles.

Toy experts say that the delay is unprecedented, with only a few people in the media allowed to preview the product, all signing confidentiality agreements."

And due to that kind of hype, you would be very lucky to get a TMX Elmo doll at the suggested retail price. This site declares TMX Elmo a "2006 Christmas hot toy," and offers to sell you one for $219.99. Betsy of Resale Queen is selling her stash on Ebay for $195.99 apiece.

So how do you get a TMX Elmo at the suggested retail price? Well, you find out when your local WalMart or Toys-r-Us is putting them on the shelf and you go to the store a day or so in advance to wait in line to maybe have the opportunity to buy one.

Amy Corbett Storch of Mom's Daily Dose writes about almost succumbing to the hype:

"As I read that entry [about TMX Elmo] on the Compete blog, I started to get this...itch...in my fingers...the overwhelming desire to click right back over to Amazon and pre-order an Elmo. God, maybe I should get two, for my nephew, just in case my sister hasn't heard of this yet and then we won't be able to find them by Christmas and we will just be the LAUGHINGSTOCKS of the playground because ALL THE OTHER BABIES HAVE T.M.X ELMO WAAAH.

Then I remembered that my nephew is six months old and like Noah, has no freaking clue who Elmo is."

I'm pretty sure the "itch" of which she writes is exactly what Fisher-Price is counting on. This isn't the first time a toy has caused this kind of mania. Remember Cabbage Patch Dolls? And Stacey of voxing it stacey style reminds us: "When the first Tickle Me Elmo came out 10 years ago, I remember seeing on the news people fighting over what was left on the shelf in the toy stores. It'll probably be crazier this time around."

Christina of A Mommy Story actually did try and wait in line for one of these dolls, but was unable to get one:

"A store employee said the line actually started yesterday at 5pm, and got longer through the night. Again, I could understand waiting in line for a PS3, because gamer teens can be obsessive when a new system comes out, but an Elmo doll that laughs and vibrates? I was willing to try to get one today, but I didn't want it so bad that I was going to wait overnight in the freezing cold."

Karen of Thrifty Mommy waited in line for a couple of tense hours. Would she get a TMX Elmo or not?

"We recount the people waiting. If no one else gets in line in front of us, then we will get an Elmo. What a relief it was when an associate came around with a notepad. She had us sign our name beside a number. That meant we would get a TMX Elmo! Now all we had to do was wait until 12 a.m., when they were allowed to release them. I can’t help but admit that we were still a little skeptical as there were no guarantees."

I'm happy to report that her hard work paid off and she left the store with two TMX Elmos.

Due to the magic that is Tivo, my children don't know about TMX Elmo. Therefore, I will not be clicking any Buy Now buttons on Ebay for this over-hyped toy anytime soon. Unlucky mom Diana of stuck in elmo's world blogs a different story:

"So it's coming to the time when my son will inevitably [see] the new TMX Elmo on t.v....and I will be hearing more "Melmo!" in my house. Don't get me wrong, I think the little guy is cute just like the next person, but I know it's going to be such a hit like the Tickle Me Elmo, it's not even going to last one milisecond on the shelves. Who knows if the store employees will even be able to get them out of the boxes in an attempt to get them on the shelves. Can you picture it? The waiting outside the stores? The hundreds of Mommies and two or three Daddies causing a stampede as soon as the doors to the store open?"

Diana, I can picture it! Good luck to you. And to all of you parents who will feel the pressure from your kid and then feel the pain--both physically and financially--of buying this year's hot toy, TMX Elmo.
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BlogHer Contributing Editor Mary Tsao also blogs at Mom Writes.

Image credit: Fisher-Price.

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