When Lori Fowlkes first saw robotic Zhu Zhu Pets toy hamsters in September, she remembers her kids started jumping up and down and saying, “Please! Please! Can we buy them?”
Seeing a fully stocked shelf, she decided to hold off until Christmas.
That was “before I knew that the hamsters would soon be off the shelves and more scarce than an H1N1 vaccine,” said Fowlkes, 32.
Now she can’t find them anywhere.
Zhu Zhu Pets – which retail for about $10 and are aimed at 3- to 10-year-olds – are this year’s bona fide must-have toy, following in the footsteps of past crazes for Tickle Me Elmo and Cabbage Patch Kids. On resale Web sites like eBay and Craigslist, they fetch $40 or more. Vital accessories such as the hamster car and funhouse are sold separately.
By many counts, the toy is an unlikely hit. They’re in a field crowded with toy pets. The hamsters, which scurry around, make noises and drive cars, don’t always work the way you expect and have a limited range of action.
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