Target Cancels Zhu Zhu Pet Order Placed In September, Ruins Christmas

Long before the national robot hamster shortage began, before fights broke out over the toy critters, and even before Consumerist took notice of the trend, Stacey’s daughters wanted Zhu Zhu Pets for Christmas. She ordered two hamsters and a playset for them from Target.com in mid-September, and waited for them to come off backorder. And waited. Finally, less than two weeks before Christmas, Target canceled her order.

In mid-September we saw a commercial for Zhu Zhu pets & my girls were fascinated…we placed an order with Target on the same day, in my mother’s name for the Zhu Zhu Pet Hamster Starter House. We ordered 2. My kids had been through quite a lot with our house flooding in GA, living in a hotel room over a month while the house was repaired- I wanted a good Christmas for them this year, to make up for a lot of horrible memories. We had no idea what a hot item these things were going to be.

The item showed up as on back order, but said would ship they would within 2-4 weeks so we ordered it, thinking we had plenty of time for Xmas. After a month we contacted them and were told, “they will be in by the end of next week and you should have them the first week of November.” Two weeks later the process repeats itself and we’re continually told “one more week….”

Here we are December 12th, and we get an email from our friends at Target telling us that they’re unable to fill our order and have canceled it for us, and not charged our credit card. This is what we received:

“Dear [Stacey's mother],

I’m sorry to hear about the cancellation of the
Cepia Zhu Zhu PetHamster from your order.

Unfortunately, our supplier wasn’t able to get us
any this Zhu Zhu PetHamster Toy as we expected, even though
it looked like they would when you placed your order.
Because of this, we had to cancel this item from your order.
You haven’t been charged for this, as we only charge you
when we ship your items.”

Notice how they blame the supplier? The supplier sent them a shipment every Sunday! They just chose to give it to the people IN the store and not those of us who preordered online MONTHS ago……aren’t they sweet to do this?! Leave us hanging 13 days before Christmas?

Now the only option left is to go on eBay and order them where the price for these $8.00 hamsters is now upwards of $30.00. The “fun house starter set” we ordered is now going for over $50.00. My girls are so sure they are getting one, I can’t let them down.

THANKS TARGET FOR PUNISHING RESPONSIBLE SHOPPERS.

Stacey’s main complaint against Target is that while her order was canceled, the discounter actually does have Zhu Zhu Pets in stock–in its brick-and-mortar stores. Some of them. Sometimes. If you really, really like standing in line.

Comments

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  1. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    Yay, this is my cousin, I sent this in… THANKS LAURA!!

    • Laura Northrup says:

      I was wondering how to identify you in the post, but decided it was too convoluted and left the info out. I’m seething over here on your cousin’s behalf.

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        Me too, I feel horrible… She’s been thru so much with their house flooded and it’s just one thing after the other. They didn’t deserve this.

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        Forgot to mention as well, all 3 of her children lost ALL THEIR TOYS in the flood. There is a reason she was working at making this a good christmas for them.

    • nonzenze says:

      >>After a month we contacted them and were told, “they will be in by the end of next week and you should have them the first week of November.”

      A good reason to record your phone conversations (only after the obligatory “this call may be monitored or recorded”, of course) — make a CD of it and play it very loudly at the Target Customer Service desk.

      Finally, why so serious about OMG-Hamsters?

    • coren says:

      Oh well then I’ll respond to you directly…

      Your cousin (or you!) should keep an eye on shopko.com. As I’m posting this they have them in stock, and may very well have other stuff as well for accessories. I know it’s not a guarantee, but it’s worth a shot.

    • scoobydoo says:

      How can I get in touch with you? I picked one of these things up this afternoon (suddenly noticed a line for them at TRU) and my daughter really isn’t that interested. Lets find a way to help me get one of them sent to your cousin – no charge. Perhaps Laura can look up my email and send it to you?

    • FrugalFreak says:

      Easy solution Stacy, Get them some real hamsters. They will be overjoyed at the real pet.

      • pdj79 says:

        Yes, until 18-months later when one of your kids walks to the cage and notices “Woody” is lying on its side underneath the water bottle and isn’t moving. Yeah, that was a tough day…followed 3-months later by “Snowball’s” untimely demise in almost the exact same manner. While hamsters are a cute pet, their life expectancy is severely short. If they had these 4 years ago we never would have bought those real hamsters and my young children wouldn’t have had to learn the lesson that life is short and everything that draws breath will eventually die. Easy to swallow when your 30, not so much when you’re 5.

  2. SG-Cleve says:

    Stacey’s main complaint against Target is that while her order was canceled, the discounter actually does have Zhu Zhu Pets in stock–in its brick-and-mortar stores.

    Well then why doesn’t Stacey go to the store and buy one?

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      They sold out very quickly when they were in the stores – had to be fast. I doubt there any still on the shelves.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      She has 2 small children and a job, plus NO close Target stores.

    • Stacey says:

      I am about 80 miles from the nearest Target. We lost both good vehicles in a flash flood & the one we were able to scrape $ together to buy wouldnt make it 80 miles & back. Thanks though

    • mythago says:

      Why should she have to go stand in line at Target to get an item she ordered from them in September?

      • MSUHitman says:

        Would you want to stand in a line at 5 a.m. before the store opened on a Sunday? It’s just like what people had to go to get Wii’s in 07 and 08, stand in line before the store opened on a Sunday morning when it was featured in their Sunday ad.

  3. Powerlurker says:

    “My girls are so sure they are getting one, I can’t let them down.”

    Sure you can, just give them an IOU for Xmas. We’ve done that in my family before.

    • darklighter says:

      I don’t know about you, but when I was a little kid, a slip of paper was a disappointing present.

    • Sunflower1970 says:

      My mom did something kind of like this many years ago which still gives me a warm & fuzzy feeling whenever I think of it…although to do something similar would kind of depend on the age of the kids…and if the items which has been ordered shows up not long after Xmas.

      A few days after Christmas when I was 7 or 8, my dad took my brother and myself ice skating. When we got home, there was a soot stained present in the fireplace. She told me she had heard a funny noise, went over to the fireplace and this very large present for me fell out. It was from Santa. She ‘theorized’ that Santa had meant to leave it, but it had gotten stuck in the chimney. It was a Wizard of Oz playset with all the dolls & Emerald City. Best Christmas gift ever.

      Many years later, she told me she wanted to get it for me for Christmas, but all stores were out, but were restocked at some point after Christmas when she went to a nearby Target. She saw it & grabbed the whole set, then concocted this plan to get me the gift, and make it from Santa. :)

    • sophistiKate says:

      One of my best gifts was a card my Dad drew about all the ways my Mom tried to get me Mouse Trap (which I had my eight-year-old heart set on) with a goofy poem and arrows pointing to places like Timbuktu and Constantinople and an assurance that I’d have it when we got back home (as we were out of state for the holidays). I still have and treasure that card, even though Mouse Trap turned out to be kind of lame and has been gone for years.

      (That said, I still really hope these kids get their hamsters on Christmas morning.)

  4. bogartbrown says:

    “Now the only option left is to go on eBay…”

    I don’t think that’s the only option. I’ve gotten 4 of them simply by standing in line at TRU 2 weekends in a row.

    Also, try http://www.nowinstock.net/zhu-zhu-pets/ and shopko.com.

    Yes, it sucks that Target canceled the order, but at least it’s not Christmas Eve.

    Besides, retailers probably won’t be able to give these rats away after Christmas….

  5. richard_toronto says:

    Target’s usually pretty standup… I think an EECB is in order here.
    How hard is it to have someone call a local Distribution Center and have someone open a case and pull out stock to send to this person who’s been patiently waiting for months?

    The “supplier” line is a BS scapegoat reply… they’ve obviously replenished stock in retail stores since then.

    Target, I know someone there is reading this… do the right thing here.

    • fantomesq says:

      You really think that anyone has these sitting in a distribution center collecting dust? These are going out faster than they’re coming in.

  6. supergaijin says:

    Our local Target hasn’t had ANY of these in stock for almost 3 weeks – the shipmenst just dried up. I think their Zhu Zhu stock situation is almost as dire for B&M as online.

  7. jesusofcool says:

    maybe it’s because i don’t have kids, but i do not understand why kids think these things are so awesome! seems like the sort of thing you’d play with for five minutes.

    is it just really successful advertising?

    • NewsMuncher says:

      I remember when Gogo Pup came out. I saw it on TV and thought it looked really cool, though I’d never seen one in person, nor really thought about what I’d want it for. I didn’t get one, though I think I mentioned that I was interested to my parents. I might have regretted not getting it for 10 minutes on Christmas, but that’s about it.
      Why not talk to your kids and find out if there’s something else they might find more satisfying? Introduce them to other toys… by taking them to the store and browsing around, browsing toy advertisements online for yourself and then showing it to them somehow or introducing them to a hobby? If you capture their imagination with something else, you might find that you can ‘save’ their Christmas with a different set of gifts.

  8. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    My cousin lives in a very rural area, and driving 80 miles to a local Target with a disabled child is not an option. She chose the pre-order online route for a reason, to avoid the crowds, which would certainly wreak havoc on her 3 year old. Going to a B & M wasn’t an option.

    What is the most unforgiving part is, that while the stores still continued to receive the stock of zhu zhu pets, she was never sent hers for 3 months. Please don’t blame her. Many people on here advocate online shopping to avoid the hassles of stores, and I think we all can agree that she ordered with plenty enough time for xmas, followed up on her order dilligently and was continually lied to that they would be sent. They can blame the supplier all they want- the supplier sent them enough for black friday, yes? Then maybe they should of filled orders while they HAD them.

    To leave her, and any other parents with such little time to try and find these critters, is horrible.

    • ArcanaJ says:

      Target’s behavior here sucks. Perhaps an EECB?

      • SabreDC says:

        Care to pinpoint what behavior of Target.com sucks? They thought they were receiving shipments. They didn’t. They canceled the order without issue. What did Target.com do wrong to warrant any type of compensation/apology/whatever you feel an EECB will do?

        People need to stop watering down the effectiveness of the EECB by using it for everything. Target.com didn’t DO anything to this person. They didn’t take her money and not deliver. They didn’t screw up the pricing or how much they charge. What would an EECB accomplish?

        • tsume says:

          I’m sorry, 3 months is more than enough time for Target.com to figure out how to obtain more stock. Their B&M stores did it, other B&M stores did as well, Target.com needs to pull their head out of there and figure it out.

          Again. 3 months. 90 days. That is 2,160 hours they had to figure out how to get additional stock to fulfill a 3 month old order.

          This lies squarely on target.com to rectify the situation.

          • fantomesq says:

            If target.com can’t get any more, what are they supposed to do? No store likes to cancel orders… that’s potential profit they’ve lost, but they do so when they are unable to get the products to fulfill the order. What would you have them do?

            Why would anyone be standing in line at 5am for these toys if they could simply place an online order and get them?

        • frodolives35 says:

          That is bull. Do you think for 1 minute that the higher ups at target did not dirict all the incoming stock of these toys to the BM stores to attract customers into the store. They should have met the commitments they had allready made first. You need to get over the seprate division issue.

          • SabreDC says:

            There’s a huge difference. EVERY American has access to Target.com. There is not a separate New York Target.com, Pennsylvania Target.com, Idaho Target.com… you get the picture. Yes, there are distribution regions, but they are still only one entity that has to divvy up its inventory among the entire country. However, there ARE several different Target B&Ms in most regions, each with its own ordering and inventory.

            Target.com servers a much higher population and thus has more limited inventory abilities than a B&M that servers 1/500,000th of the number of customers that Target.com servers. Moreso, the demand for Zhu zhu pets is probably MUCH higher on Target.com due to its reach. Simple supply and demand issues. Target.com has a much higher demand for a single item. If the number of toys that the manufacturer cranks out is a constant, then the supply will be much more limited for the higher demand.

            You need to get over the entitlement issue.

    • ScarletsWalk says:

      I don’t blame her and I feel badly about her situation. It’s something that could happen to any of us, no matter what we order or when.

    • fantomesq says:

      Your outrage is because you say that Target has been receiving weekly shipments of zhu-zhu pets What evidence do you have that they are “receiving weekly shipments” of zhu-zhu pets at the brick and mortar stores?!? These are the hottest selling products of the holiday season. No one is receiving weekly shipments of them. I feel for you but these kids won’t be the only kids out there who want but don’t get these and you DO have two weeks left to shop…

    • SabreDC says:

      Keep in mind that Target.com is a separate company than Target. They are both under the same Target Brands, Inc. umbrella, but they are not the same legal entity. Just because Target received a shipment from the supplier does not mean that Target.com did, nor does it mean that Target.com can just take a Target store’s inventory. If Target.com didn’t receive any shipment from the suppler, regardless of if a Target store did, what should they have said/done?

    • pot_roast says:

      It’s your family member, and if you’re saying that Target has them in stock, why don’t you go purchase them for her and drop them off? So simple, huh? After all, if her house got flooded, both cars wrecked, and she’s living in a hotel room, it’s the LEAST that you can do.

      I see that someone offered to send you one. Maybe the others will be available too. This would make a good follow-up too.

  9. bjhale says:

    Of course they are going to save the majority of such a hot ticket item for in-store sales. The Zhu-Zhu pets bring shoppers into the stores where they may also buy some of the other “great deals” lying around. Its all about making more money, and they know they can make more money by stiffing the online shoppers and getting more people to come into the B&M stores.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      This simply makes no sense, because an established order is money in the bank. Obviously these customers want to buy the toys, so it’s not as if Target is taking a risk by filling orders for their orders. I don’t know how closely connected Targetߣs online store is to its physical stores, but if they can get stock for the latter, then a failure to get stock for the former after three months is incompetence.

  10. PeteyNice says:

    That is the risk you take when you buy things online. I ordered a Yankee sweatshirt from MLB.com after they won the World Series. When I bought it the site said it was in stock. It still said “In stock” as my order status went from back ordered to simply unavailable. Online shopping is not without its problems. I am sure this situation is fairly common. People in rural areas somehow bought Christmas presents for their children, even their disabled children, before online shopping was available.

    I am still shocked how popular these things area. I bought two several months ago to give to my parents dogs for Christmas as they were inexpensive and looked like fun. I hope all of the kids enjoy their dog toys.

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      I’m glad someone else thinks of them this way! When I first heard of them I thought, “Hey 8 bucks and my cat and dog will go nuts, excellent.” But then I found out they were the hot toy for Christmas and going for about $30-40 on Amazon. Crazy!

      But here I think Target.com really was in the wrong. They had three months to get more. When they first realized they weren’t getting stock in they should have canceled it then, not keep saying, “oh it’ll be another few weeks!”

  11. Ouze says:

    If your Christmas (which is not for another 2 weeks) could really be “ruined” by not getting a cheap chinese toy no one will remember in 4 months, I don’t think your Christmas meant much to begin with.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      My christmas was ruined when I was 6 and didn’t get a pony like I asked…. so be quiet. Some people prefer their children to have NICE memories instead of disappointment.

      • fs2k2isfun says:

        Disappointment is part of life. There were many Christmases growing up where I didn’t get what I wanted, and while it was somewhat painful at the time, I have no doubt I am better because of it. When I have kids, I will be sure they get to experience disappointment.

        Alternatively, I think the IOU and getting it a few weeks later would be a good option.

        • Stacey says:

          My kids have experienced enough disappointment this year, living in a hotel for 5 weeks while our house was being repaired & having lost all their things (water damage 4 foot high…they honestly lost everything) this was something to brighten things up for them.

          Christmas is more than gifts yes…but not to a 6 year old & a 3 & 1/2 year old disabled child. My teenager understands but his loss was great as well. We were just trying to give them as much as we could for Christmas this year…unfortunately this item was what they wanted the most.

          • BridgetPentheus says:

            I feel for you and all the posters slamming you. It’s not an ordinary christmas where children can learn to be disappointed, their lives were turned upside down and not all of us have cars and you thought it was a reasonable amount of time. If I had my hands on one I would send it to you. Christmas is about giving, little things can mean the world and shouldn’t have to spend forever trying to find a toy because stores aren’t reasonable. Target waiting that long was a poor customer service choice.

        • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

          So, Christmas is here. The kids are disappointed, they learned their valuable lesson of life that they won’t always get what they want, as you wish.

          Does that still make what Target did acceptable? Or do you feel the need to bash more on the personal situation instead of business?

          • ecwis says:

            She bought the toy when it was backordered. The 2-4 week window was probably an estimate as to when it would ship and not a guarantee. If she wanted a guarantee, she could go to a store, or buy it online from somewhere that actually has the product (eBay). Target.com is run by Amazon.com so they cannot simply get inventory from Target Stores to sell through the website. So when Cepia sends Zhu Zhu Pets to Target Stores, they’re sent to a completely different warehouse than when they’re sent to Target.com.

            Also, some people take issue with the sensationalism in the article. This did not ruin Christmas and if she honestly thinks it did, then she has bigger issues to address.

            • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

              Yes, I don’t think she believes it ruined xmas… but for a mother who just endured the loss of her whole house, her children lost EVERY ONE of their toys in the flood… she really wanted to make a good xmas and get them what they wanted and try to do so responsibly. I agree, people are taking the article title a little too literally.

            • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

              Also… how was she to know Target was run by Amazon.com? Her vehicles were LOST IN A FLOOD, so preordering these seemed like a sweet deal. And if they had no intention of sending them, then why did they keep giving her different ship dates.

              • pecan 3.14159265 says:

                Target.com is not run by Amazon.com. They split into separate online entities months ago. Amazon.com does fulfillment for Target.com, but it’s up to Target.com to put in the stock in the first place.

            • ecwis says:

              All she needed to know was that it’s backordered. It’s not reasonable to expect a store to take inventory from their B&M stores to fulfill internet orders anyway. Ordering backordered items is risky which is why I rarely do it. The fact is, Target.com has no idea when and how much they’ll get from Cepia so they were just making estimates. Their estimates were off so instead of waiting ’til after Christmas to fulfill the orders, they canceled them two weeks prior to Christmas. When products are in high demand, the stores have little control over how many products they’ll get.

              Target’s only fault was providing an inaccurate estimated ship date. When I ordered a backordered item from Amazon, they said they honestly had no idea when they would get the item, which is what Target.com should have said instead of giving customers false hope.

            • coren says:

              Sorry, a little hard to read “powered by amazon.com” is hardly enough of notice for anyone to reasonably expect a person to be aware of that.

          • fantomesq says:

            What exactly did Target do? They tried but failed to get her a very popular toy. You’re right. Shame on them!

          • BridgetPentheus says:

            What Target did was wrong, that is the focus here. I have written them to let them know of my disgust of the situation and how it will make me reconsider purchases in the future. I lived through the cabbage kid craze and know what my parents did to get me one and while she couldn’t get me one for christmas a cousin was nice enough to get me a homemade cabbage patch kid until my parents could get one but a store also didn’t lead them on for months on backorder

        • mythago says:

          I am always amused when people with nasty attitudes parade their own negative experiences and claim it made them ‘better people’. Uh, no.

          Are the kids going to be traumatized for life? No. Does Target suck for canceling her order for no reason? Yes.

    • katsuyakaiba says:

      To you and me, it may seem like a cheap Chinese toy, but you know what? It doesn’t matter what we think of it or see it as.

      What matters is the Kids see it as something they would have fun with and enjoy, and if it makes the kids happy, even for just a couple months, 10 bucks is a cheap price. It’s Christmas, the day all kids can’t wait for all year around. And when the kids are expecting to get this toy and get assured they would get it from their parents, damn right their day is ruined when it’s not there. Trust me, the last thing you want to see is a kid’s broken heart on Christmas day.

      • fantomesq says:

        Their parents assured them that they would get them before they had them in hand? I think I see the problem.

        • Stacey says:

          I did not “assure” my children they would get them, they didn’t ask me for them, they wrote their little letters to Santa & since they’ve “been good this year” they’re sure they’ll get them. My children do know about God & the true meaning of Christmas but I also allow them to be kids & wish on stars & to believe in Santa.

          I don’t get the anger towards me here at all. My kids have experienced plenty of disappointment in their lives, this year especially! It’s not so far off for me to get upset after being strung along this way for this length of time being repeatedly told these “stupid, chinese, plastic toys” were indeed coming.

          I’m just trying to give my kids a little special toy for Christmas & that was all. I did not state it “ruined” their Christmas, that’s a headline & not a quote from me.

          • fantomesq says:

            Its not anger. Its disbelief. I think that the sense of entitlement and unnecessary drama over being unable to acquire the hottest gift this Christmas is a bit over the top. Not getting a toy hamster is going to ruin your kids’ Christmas? Are they really going to be that upset for having to wait until January?

            If Target.com can’t get a shipment of these furry creatures to fulfill your order, what do you want them to do?

            • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

              She NEVER said it was going to ruin their xmas, she just said it’s an overdramatized headline, and not a quote from her. Might want to stick to the topic- she doesn’t expect anything from Target anymore, she just wanted the order she originally placed. Since THAT’S not going to happen, she has to pursue another venue with little time to spare. This was more a notice to other shoppers NOT to rely on Target during the holiday season, who MIGHT not know it’s run by Amazon.com, or that Target.com and Target stores aren’t really affiliated with eachother sadly. There is NO sense of entitlement, a sense of entitlement means they falsely believe they are owed something based on the social roles that they have …NO. She isn’t saying “I’m rich, I get first shot” or “I’m poor, I should move to the front of the line”. She is just like every other shopper, doesn’t expect a damn thing besides what she ordered. Learn your definitions before you toss words around.

              • ecwis says:

                I’m not necessarily disagreeing with your entire post but your definition of entitlement is wrong. The blog from which you took that quote actually stated “People are led to have a sense of entitlement because they falsely believe they are owed something based on the social roles that they have taken for themselves.” (emphasis added)

                That’s just an opinion of a blogger. He thinks that is why people have a sense of entitlement. That is certainly one reason but it’s not the only reason. A sense of entitlement simply means that the person feels that they deserve a certain thing.

              • fantomesq says:

                Oh I know the meaning of the term, thank you. The entitlement here is that she feels that she is entitled to have her order fulfilled before others have the chance to buy even though the others are buying through another store entirely. She’s not.

                I agree that its an overly sensationalized headline – the whole story is over dramatized – but this is VERY much of making a mountain out of a molehill… There are thousands of parents out there in just the same situation this Christmas and it won’t be the last one. Remember the Cabbage Patch Kids?

          • ecwis says:

            Don’t take it personally. Target made a minor mistake but there’s nothing they can do to fix it now so your only real options are to find another place that sells Zhu Zhu pets or wait until after Christmas when retailers will be giving them away. And in the future, if you must have a certain item by a certain time, it might be a good idea to not order it if it’s backordered. Backorders do not guarantee that you will get the item by a certain time. In your situation, they guessed that they’d get enough items but they obviously were wrong.

            I think the reason you get so much “blame the victim” on this site is because many of the readers know that you can’t trust most companies. Have you ever had positive experiences using Target.com? If not, why would you place your trust in them that their backorder estimate would be accurate? If something was that important to me, I would’ve used a website I could trust and that would guarantee the purchase.

          • Rena says:

            Maybe I’m just cynical, but this seems like a good opportunity to teach your children how wonderful large corporations are. They’ll never forget.

            But do get them another totally awesome toy to make up for it.

          • newsbunny says:

            I hope this works out for you.

            Ignore the bums here.

    • kaceetheconsumer says:

      If you’re capable of snarking the toy choice of some little kids, and further when despite all reasonable efforts they were denied those toys through no fault of their own, then YOU are the one who needs a lesson in the meaning of Christmas!

      Geez! Have a heart! Or is yours two sizes two small?

    • ecwis says:

      I agree. Contrary to popular belief, the real purpose of Christmas is not to buy worthless crap for your kids. I bet most kids would enjoy having some bonding time with their family instead of playing with a Zhu Zhu pet.

  12. veronykah says:

    It is the kind of thing you play with for 5 minutes. I remember wanting Baby Skates so badly for christmas. I got her and when I realized all she did was roller skate, I realized she kind of sucked.
    Toys that just “do” one thing are kind of pointless.
    Although, I think my DOG would really get a kick out of these.

  13. veronykah says:

    It is the kind of thing you play with for 5 minutes. I remember wanting Baby Skates so badly for christmas. I got her and when I realized all she did was roller skate, I realized she kind of sucked.
    Toys that just “do” one thing are kind of pointless.
    Although, I think my DOG would really get a kick out of these.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      All of our parents worked their asses off to get us pointless toys. Not because they were just plain AWESOME and did a hundred things… but because they knew we would love them, because we asked Santa for them… I can’t remember how many things I got that, to this day, I can’t believe I spent hours playing with. (Ex., trolls with the troll house? WTF?)

  14. eigenvector says:

    Don’t get them on eBay. Rumor (from an acquaintance who works at Target) is that Target is finally getting a significant quantity (more than the usual one case that holds like 4 or 8 of the hamsters) next week _in_stores_ at prices comparable to Walmart’s. I haven’t heard either way about buying from the website, but getting them to stores seems to be the priority, especially since it might encourage buying other things while there.

    Of course, this doesn’t help if you don’t live especially close to a Target.

    It was obvious in Oct and Nov that there was probably going to be a continued shortage. The order should’ve been canceled then instead of leaving her wondering if she was or wasn’t going to have to look elsewhere.

  15. kaceetheconsumer says:

    Sounds like a totally responsible parent making an informed, sensible decision well in advance, and getting screwed for it, while the less responsible, more frenetic, last-minute shoppers got rewarded.

    It doesn’t matter if anyone else would choose this gift or not, and the Grinchy comments by those who don’t approve of the choice are sad. Some little kids living through their own tragedies wanted these for Christmas and the store has hosed them. That is not cool, no matter how anyone tries to spin it or blow it off.

    Now, I get that the online store and the brick and mortar stores actually probably do have different distribution management, so it’s entirely plausible that, while the brick and mortar stores kept getting supplies, the online store wasn’t being supplied. I can see how modern chain management could lead to that happening. But that doesn’t make it okay. If the order was placed in mid-November, then that’d be one thing, but an order placed in September ought to have been fulfilled or cancelled long ago. And even if Target does have two different distribution networks, someone somewhere up the executive chain should have had enough clue to say, “Gee, these things are flying off the shelves…have we ensured that we can fill the online orders, so we don’t risk developing a reputation of non-fulfillment at the online store?”

    A little common sense could have rectified this, but they didn’t care. I shop at Target in-store but haven’t shopped online…I have now been taught not to do so, especially for potential gifts. That’s business lost to Target.

  16. feyshadowgirl says:

    Has she considered buying a real hamster? Sure, the hamster cage will cost as much as the playhouse, but the hamster itself if super cheap. Hamster food cost as much as batteries, and shavings are pretty cheap too(buy the big pack and it will last up to a year). And then there is the added therapy bonus of a “real” pet.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I would advise against a real hamster. They’re not novelty toys, they’re real animals that need care and attention. If Verucalise’s cousin has several young kids, one of which is disabled, and she’s a working mother, I doubt she has time to take care of a real pet. I really don’t like it when people get pets because they just want a pet – it’s tantamount to abuse and neglect if your definition of “taking care of” means sticking food in its cage every morning, and not playing with your pet and giving it proper mental stimulation and care.

      • Laura Northrup says:

        Thank you. Part of the appeal of Zhu Zhu pets is that they provide hamster-like entertainment, but without the hamster-like excrement, escaping, or chewing on their cage while you’re trying to sleep.

        • ecwis says:

          Can you put them in a hamster ball too? That’s the best thing to do with hamsters.

          • henrygates3 says:

            Yes, they can go in the little hamster balls. Near as I can tell these things are just motorized toy cars with a squeaker that has a stuffed hamster on top of it.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          you forgot the life altering tragedy of small kids first learning about death when the hamster escapes, crawls in the gap in the footings at the bottom of the kitchen cabinets and gets fished out with a coat hanger later when the body starts to smell.
          my neighbors kept hamsters when we were growing up and all the kids on our street learned about death this way

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        Thanks, Pie for commenting before I did… very well put.

    • mythago says:

      Living animals aren’t really substitutes for toys. And hamsters are not domesticated like dogs or cats, as anybody who’s ever been bitten by a hamster knows.

    • webweazel says:

      Might I suggest instead of a hamster, a domestic rat. They are really easy to care for. Mine liked dog food kibble. They’re super-smart. They don’t like those stupid wheels, they like to stay with you, are easily trained, and will even come when called. They just need a multi-level cage to jump and climb in, a little house, and newspaper in the cage, not expensive bags of litter.
      Just stay away from the albinos. They’re dumb.

      • tsukiotoshi says:

        Yes! I had rats as pets when I was a kid and they were awesome. I also had a hamster in college and he was pretty cool but definitely not as friendly as the rats. I used to walk around with them in the hood of my sweatshirts.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Again, advocating getting children pets is such a bad idea. It’s theoretically a nice prospect, but a busy single mother with a disabled child does not need a real pet to add to the costs of rebuilding a home. This is not even to mention the issues that go along with giving children a living, breathing thing that they would most likely inadvertently torture.

  17. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Get them something else. Yes, I said it, just get them something else. If a child is heartbroken on Christmas after opening great gifts, then they need a lesson in thankfulness. Life is never actually ruined, or even reduced in quality becasue a child doesn’t get one specific toy. In reality, they will play with it, get tired of it, and want something else in a month.

    My little girl wanted one too and I told her that there weren’t enough to go around and that she needed to ask for other things. She was fine with that.

    • seanhcalgary says:

      You said exactly what I was going to post. Thank you for having some common sense.

      I understand that every parents want to make their child happy, especially at Christmas. But like you said, kids need to understand that there isn’t enough to go around. Ask for some other stuff and then – heaven forbid – be surprised!

      • Stacey says:

        I will get them something else….wow this is has really gotten crazy here. I wrote a letter of complaint having been strung along for 3 months & then dropped 13 days prior to Christmas..something I was continually assured was coming…warning others & yes WHINING…that this was wrong & my kids will be disappointed…they will survive it & their Christmas will NOT be RUINED…I never stated it would be, at any point in time. The headline is not my wording!

        Wow, just a complaint like anyone else may have written…and it turns into this??? Trying to give a heads up??? Last time I do that I guess

        • Sumtron5000 says:

          From what I can see, no one has a problem with you warning people about ordering items from Target. We are thankful for the tip, as that is what this blog is for.

          The problem seems to be your wording, as well as the wording of the headline, which we all now know you are not responsible for. The strong words you use in your post about how important these toys are for your daughter is what is getting people riled up.
          “My girls are so sure they are getting one, I can’t let them down.”
          Using toys to “to make up for a lot of horrible memories. “
          “THANKS TARGET FOR PUNISHING RESPONSIBLE SHOPPERS.”

  18. JediJohn82 says:

    Just wait until the demand dies down in January. You can have Christmas then…no biggy.

    • ecwis says:

      This is also a good way to buy a Christmas tree, if you want to save money and don’t care too much. Last year we bought our tree on the 23rd or 24th and it was only $5. Great option for people who don’t have much money but still want a real tree.

      • Outrun1986 says:

        This is a good option on just about any holiday if you don’t have enough money. Pumpkins around here are $5-10 each 3-4 weeks before halloween but drop to as little as $1 and maybe $2 at the highest if you buy 3-5 days before halloween. Since your probably not going to carve one until a couple days before halloween so it doesn’t rot during the whole month of october it makes sense to wait and buy them right before the holiday, you still get them for the holiday and you save a lot of money especially if you need multiple pumpkins for multiple children. I watched someone spend over $50 on pumpkins this halloween because they bought too early, ridiculous!

        Most people I know here have their Xmas party on Xmas eve or Xmas day so you could get a tree and decorate it in the morning and be ready for the party at night still. If the trees are on sale on the 23rd even better. I have a fake tree so I just put it up whenever each year but in my family no one gets guests until the 23rd at least so especially if your strapped for cash you might be wise to wait.

  19. ConsumerWolf says:

    Oh no! Your kid won’t get the latest useless piece of plastic crap for Christmas this year! What a tragedy…Never forget 12/2/09!!!1!1!1!!!

    • mbz32190 says:

      My thoughts exactly. I laughed at the title “Ruins Christmas”. I am not Christian, but I’m pretty sure the true meaning of Christmas is not buying plastic chinese junk for kids. No wonder why our society is in the mess that it is in. Yes, I’ve received presents, and was a kid at one point in time, but the world isn’t going to end because your kids did not get what they want.

      • TheSpatulaOfLove says:

        While I think the whole hot-toy-shortage-mayhem thing is out of control, I’m willing to bet neither of you have had to look at the hurt and disappointment in a child’s eyes when the one thing they are fixated on and asked Santa for didn’t come. Blame consumerism, fairy tales, whatever – but it’s a crushing feeling watching a child lose the magic of Christmas and the trust in Santa.

        You can pound your chest and talk about how it’s not the meaning, but a child doesn’t understand how crappy the world really is just yet and to them it’s the understanding that Santa can do it. It’s such a short time from the innocence and idealistic view they have to the curmudgeonly, crass and cold reality that you guys have presented. For now, let them enjoy the magic of Christmas – They have the rest of their lives to be miserable.

        • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

          Well that’s easy – don’t teach your kid about Santa.
          I wanted to tell EVERYONE in my school that santa was their parents. Most of them wouldn’t have believed me, but it would’ve been HILARIOUS.

          I mean I understand on one hand wanting to make the kid happy, but if they truly understand where the gifts come from, they won’t be upset if they don’t get the uber-spiffy-must-have-toy-of-the-year because their parents simply can’t afford it. They will feel thankful and loved for what they do receive, and value their family that much more. Call me scrooge if you want, but I’m not Christian, and I HATE what christmas means now.

        • ConsumerWolf says:

          It’s your fault as a parent that they place value on such pointless crap. You’ll probably respond by saying it’s TV and ad companies, blah blah blah. But if commercials have more sway over the values of your child than you do, you’re doing something extremely wrong.

          • darling says:

            Yeah man, kids who like toys and want material things are just spoiled little shits and don’t deserve anything. How dare a child place value in something that entertains them, that’s just blasphemous! Children are just little adults after all, they should know better.

        • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

          I wonder how the kids who get nothing at all becasue their parents are broke must feel while they are getting nothing whilespoiled suburban kids are sad/pissed because they got a Nintindo Wii instead of the Zhu-Zhu pets they “ordered” from Santa. Then their parents are upset about their kids not thinking Santa is magical enough becasue they weren’t able to find their kid a certain toy?

          Sounds like there are a lot of kids and parents who need to working in a homeless food line at Christmas and giving back to others so they can get some perspective on life and the whole Santa thing.

          • Stacey says:

            Are you assuming I have rich/spoiled children & live in the subs? If you read any of the comments, you’ll see I live in the STICKS & I’m about as far from rich as you can be. Trying to get my children little 8.00 hamster toys makes us spoiled & rich & in need of getting out & working in a soup kitchen?

            How is it that you pass such judgement simply b/c I made a complaint? We were misled & that’s the bottom line….I wrote this letter to make a complaint & let people know what happened…I’ve now been accused of anything & everything, ridiculed & you think I have some sense of entitlement also…

            We have done without this year, we have done without every possession we had…..

            My 16 year old does mission trips every January & my 2 girls are very involved in fund-raisers within school & community. How dare any of you pass judgement on us. My children are the farthest from spoiled that you’ll ever see. This isn’t a 400.00 gaming system or computer, it was a simple little item ordered well before the craze started and the ONLY thing they asked for! How spoiled of them???? They ask for something so small.

            Shame on you for passing such judgment

  20. Schmoopie says:

    Same thing happened to us last year when ordering from target.com. They strung us along with “2-4 weeks” for several months on a Disney Princess tent. Why bother with backorder if they have no intention of ever filling the order??

    • Stacey says:

      Thank you! That’s all I was trying to get across here by complaining. It’s not right for them to do that.

  21. Rachacha says:

    Wrap a Roomba in fur and tell the kids it is a Super ZhuZhu. It will entertain the kids and clean your floors at the same time!

  22. lalaland13 says:

    OK, my mom would probably be upset too had this happened 15 or so years ago. It seems like fate has really been crapping on this family this year-flooding, ordering a gift in advance and then getting screwed by everyone else going absolutely crazy over it.

    I hope Christmas isn’t ruined for these kids-maybe the mom could say something like “Honey I really really wanted to get this for you, but unfortunately….” and so on. Surely there is something they’d also like? Kids are pretty perceptive; they probably know just how insane the demand for these things are.

    I feel for this family, hope they get some good news soon.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      Thank you, lala. This family has dealt with a housefire, hurricanes, and now a flood with total annihilation of their personel belongings. Their children have lost so much, being only 3 and 6- they wanted to make things extra special this year. No, gifts aren’t the meaning of christmas– but seeing the look on your childrens faces when santa brought them what they wanted makes EVERYONE happy. It was a cheap, simple present at the time, sure to bring smiles.

      And No, contrary to belief, THIS DOESN’T RUIN THEIR CHRISTMAS.

  23. allthatsevil says:

    Personally, I think the toy looks ridiculous, but if my kid really wanted one I would get it for him. I wouldn’t stand in line for hours trying to beat out someone else for it, but that’s not what she did. I think the major attraction to this toy (for parents) is that it’s cheap and low-maintenance. Sure, they could get their kid a real hampster whose acessories would cost a little more, but what happens when the kid gets bored with it (after 5 minutes, as some of you say)? And how many 3-year-olds do you know who are capable of taking care of a pet? And if these kids really have been through some traumatic experiences recently, why buy them a pet that will inevitably die, maybe even within a few weeks or months of getting it?

    (And although I don’t know where this toy is manufactured, it is not a “Chinese” toy. It was created by a small company in St. Louis. Do a little research before you insult someone and you might be taken seriously.)

    The real issue here is not this woman’s choice of toys for her kids, it’s that she got screwed by Target. There’s no excuse for what they did, but it’s apparent that they don’t have a whole lot of consideration for their online customers. I’ve had issues with them myself: once when someone ordered something online from my baby registry, and another time when I ordered something myself. I think they probably sell more product through Amazon than they do their own website, and those customers probably get priority.

    She should absolutely contact Target’s customer service and escalate until she gets to someone who can do something for her, even if it just means getting a free giftcard. And Target should stop letting people order products that they don’t have on hand.

    • fantomesq says:

      Target should stop allowing customers to backorder products!?? Talk about an overreaction! Just because Target was unable to fulfill this order for the hottest gift this Christmas, does not mean that they are incapable of fulfilling other backorders… and who are you to tell them how to run their business?

      She didn’t get ‘screwed by Target’. She placed a backorder for the hottest toy on the market. That’s a heck of a crap shoot. One that didn’t pay off for her. Either buy them somewhere else or buy something else. These critters will be available in droves in January – probably from the same kids who are getting them at Christmas.

      • TheSpatulaOfLove says:

        She ordered it in SEPTEMBER! Well in advance of the craze. That is not a crapshoot, that was proper planning and extremely poor execution on Target.com’s part.

        Personally, that whole Target stores and Target.com as separate entities thing is bullshit. Why is it every other major retailer can properly coexist with their web presence and Target can’t? Hell, as sleazy as BestBuy can be between the web and their stores, they handle this stuff much better than Target…

        • fantomesq says:

          That doesn’t change the fact that Target.com couldn’t get the products to fulfill the backorders. There was no way to pull them from any other store’s inventory. They couldn’t pull them from Target any more than they could have pulled them from Walmart or Toys R Us. There was no way to get them. They couldn’t get the product to fulfill the order, they did the rational (but distasteful) thing and cancelled the order.

          • allthatsevil says:

            Maybe they couldn’t pull stock from their stores, but there’s no reason they can’t make sure they have adequate stock for their website. If people have placed their orders and given their credit card info, why should the stores have higher priority over those individuals? Why can’t they allot a larger chunk of their order to target.com, rather than the b.a.m. stores?

      • allthatsevil says:

        There’s a difference between backordering, and allowing customers to order something that they don’t have and possibly won’t get. Amazon does not allow you to order something unless it’s either in stock, or on its way, and that method seems to be working pretty well for them.

        I ordered a toaster oven from target.com that they didn’t have available in their stores. It said on their website that they didn’t have it in stock, but that I could order it and they would get it in 6 weeks. After 6 weeks the status changed to show it would be another 6 weeks. And then another. My guess is that they were waiting for more orders of the same oven so they could order them in bulk and save on shipping. Or maybe the manufacturer had a minimum requirement and Target didn’t want to keep them in stock. Either way, that’s shitty business practice to make a customer wait that long for the sake of their own convenience. And yeah, Target is incapable of fulfilling other backorders – maybe not all, but she’s certainly not alone.

        Once I cancelled that order Amazon finally got one in stock. Just one. I ordered it, and then it showed it being out of stock. Is that so unreasonable?

        “…and who are you to tell them how to run their business?” That’s kind of an overreaction to me having an opinion about how they run their business, don’t you think? Should I add some extra question marks and exclamations to give my words more merit?

        And when she placed her order back in September I doubt it was the hottest toy on the market. At that point I doubt anyone had any idea that they were going to be such popular Christmas toys. Regardless of which, Target made a promise to her, more than once, and did not honor it. I would call that getting screwed.

  24. seanhcalgary says:

    If not getting one toy “ruins Christmas,” then this family really needs to have their priorities checked.

  25. SunnyLea says:

    What an awful lot of Grinches we have here!

    I had a house fire about a decade ago where I lost everything. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, much less two small kids.

    The site the second commenter mentioned is indeed showing them in stock. Hope you can get some, and hope you and your kids have a wonderful Christmas.

  26. Taliskan says:

    OK so Grinch-ness aside of “not getting what you want” blah blah blah “ruining Christmas” blah blah blah “IOU’s” let’s look at what is at heart of the article – the business practice of canceling a back order.

    This is not a rare occurrence. It happens, unfortunately. Amazon had me strung along for months on some items occasionally asking if I wanted to cancel or keep waiting (small prints of books and independent films, if you are wondering what I ordered). What would have been really crappy of Target.com to do is just keep it in back ordered status through Christmas into the New Year and never asking to cancel.

    Yes, the situation sucks for the family. I feel for them, I do. But I am sure there are hundreds of other people in the same or similar boat as the OP. (And there are probably people worse off who cannot get their kid’s a toy at all this season.) The story should have been open-ended asking for others to submit their cancelled orders before the holidays (for any item, not just Zhu Zhu pet). It would’ve been interesting to see which retailers will string you along in back-order-land and those who give you a chance to get the item elsewhere in time for the holiday. It could have been a good investigative article.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      I agree, this could of been a great investigative article.

      I don’t shop Target.com and didn’t know myself that it was run by Amazon.com until some commenters spoke up. I would also think that Target.com and Target stores have some sort of affiliation with eachother and their suppliers. Instead of questioning the criteria the company uses to handle backordered products, commenters are either blaming the OP, or just insulting the product. Very distasteful. Some commenters are saying “You shouldn’t of placed an order for something not in stock, her fault for ordering” and others are saying “What, companies shouldn’t take orders for items they don’t have in stock? They’ll get them eventually.” Talk about a conundrum!

      So many twists and turns, insults and such. No need for it.

  27. Terek Kincaid says:

    “THANKS TARGET FOR PUNISHING RESPONSIBLE SHOPPERS.”

    LOL. Ordering something that’s on an indefinite backorder and saying “Yup, Christmas is saved, cased closed!” is about as far from responsible as I can imagine. You’re not done until it’s in your hand. This should have been your last backup option – if you want the hot toy, you’re gonna have to get up every Sunday at 5am to make the rounds.

    • Stacey says:

      It was not “indefinate” they said 2-4 weeks, had they told me (when I called each time) they weren’t sure they were getting them I would’ve tried my best to find it elsewhere. However, they didn’t I was continually assured it would be just one more week….

      When my mom placed this order for us in SEPTEMBER it was not the hot ticket item, the manufacturers website said something to the effect of “we’re back, check your stores for fall shipments!” I hadn’t ever heard of them until we saw a commercial on tv & my girls were so excited.

      I don’t have the option of sitting on line at 5am, we dont have a car that would make the 80 mile journey…again we lost both vehicles & scraped together enough money to get one that doesnt even start each time we turn the key. I had no idea this would be the toy of the year, it just looked like a cute thing.

      My letter was a complaint b/c we were strung along for 3 months & then dumped when they finally decided there’s none coming after telling us they were. I didnt say our Christmas was ruined either, this year has been ruined because of all of the other things, we will make the best of Christmas no matter what we have for them (or don’t)

  28. Jinger says:

    “He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!
    Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand.”
    —How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

    sometimes companies screw up. but i guarantee there is no one at target gloating that they ripped off some little kid from getting a zhu zhu pet for xmas. target should have phrased the instock response differently and she should have given up on them after six weeks of not receiving the product. all the heartache in her story is irrelevant and is definitely not a “tragedy” as referred by some comments. she is capable of getting online, ordering toys, staying in a hotel, etc. and should be grateful this is the bane of her holiday season.

  29. LoneHighlander says:

    What I find interesting is the timeline involved. I, too, ordered Zhu Zhu Pets from Target back on August 27th. I was hoping to get them for my daughter’s birthday mid-October. Even then I knew Zhu Zhu Pets were going to be hard to get so I was hoping I could get them before the situation got out of hand. Toys R Us wasn’t even taking orders for them back then. All you could do was get on an email list.

    Target initially promised 2-4 weeks. That came and went. Then they moved the ship date beyond my daughter’s birthday to mid-November and offered me the chance to cancel. I held on just in case, but also turned to my friend in Idaho who was finding them on the shelves in Walmart and Shopko fairly easily. Not long after I decided to hold onto that Target order they emailed me again and said that they weren’t going to be able to get Zhu Zhu Pets after all and cancelled my order. This was in October. Why in the heck was the OP strung along so long after I was cut loose?

    I paid Walmart prices plus shipping from Idaho so I think I got off pretty easily. I even managed to stumble upon several pieces on the shelf at my local Walmart. I just can’t believe Target waited this long to break the bad news to people who have been waiting for so long.

  30. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    My mother saw this trend beginning back in September starting and snapped up a couple of these for my kids. I don’t know how she does it, but she has an uncanny knack for predicting the ‘kill each other at the stores toy’ every year.

    Last week, after a frustrating trip to Toys R Us and having to try to shop through a massive line of people snaking throughout the store waiting for these, I shook my fist and cursed at the frenzy.

    After that frustrating excursion, I had to go to the mall across the street for some other items, where inside there is a ‘Toys R Us Express’ (formerly KB Toys). I wandered in there to pick up something that was out of stock at the other store (not one of the frenzy toys). While I was in line, I noticed people leaning across, having a brief conversation with the clerk, then the clerk handing over a box. I inquired what it was all about, and it turned out they received a substantial shipment of the Zhu Zhus. The conversation struck up about how no one knew they had the shipment, how much they go for on SleazeBay, etc. I mentioned the same thing about my mother to those participating in the conversation, then ask for a box. Someone chirped up: “Well if your mother got them for your kids, why are you buying more?”

    Me: “Well, I’m going to hold on to it. And the week before Xmas, I’m going to find some parent who has pulled their hair out trying to get one and HAND IT TO THEM. No child should have their Christmas ruined by profiteering SleazeBayers.”

    I received raucous applause.

    I informed my mother that I had the stupid toy, to which she asked if she could give the ones she bought to her coworker, whom has had a brutal year much like the person in the article, and her children wanted these things badly…to which I responded absolutely, with instruction to NOT up-charge and to ensure they pay it forward.

    • fantomesq says:

      More power to you on purposely acquiring the toys to help others… but ‘profiteering Sleazebayers’?!? Not spewing any hate there, are you? Ever consider that these eBay sellers that you so quickly disparage are also helping others get these hard to get toys for their equally desiring young ones?

      • Charmander says:

        Oh yes, when they sell an $8 item on E-bay for $40, they are simply doing it out of the goodness of their own hearts.

        • twindependent says:

          It’s supply-and-demand, people. If it’s not worth $40, or $20, to someone, then no one will pay $40 or $20.

        • kalaratri says:

          I wasn’t aware that selling stuff on ebay made someone a non-profit charity. When I sell stuff on ebay it’s to make a profit and if if someone’s dumb enough to pay me a 400-500% markup on an item, then I’m going to take it.

  31. kaokokung says:

    Verucalise… while some brick & mortar stores may have received shipments of the toy, its important to understand that Target stores & Target.com are run as two separate companies within the Target Corporation. They are not serviced by the same distribution centers, as Target.com has its own distribution centers. I understand why you’re upset, but at least they did tell your relative that she wouldn’t be getting them several weeks before Christmas, and not at the very last minute.

  32. JanieJane says:

    Please people. The kids will survive without a cheap, cheesy toy hamster. Most kids who get them will play with them for a few weeks and then forget about them. How do I know this? I did the same thing when I was a kid. The only toys I actually held interest in for a long time were my Barbies and My Little Ponies. Parents need to chill and get their kids OTHER toys and teach them to be thankful for what they have.

  33. J-Mac says:

    It IS frustrating, but to be honest, you waited too long after getting all the signs that this would happen. My better half ordered some in September also, from Target, and by mid-October she asked me to look for some online because she had doubts that Target would come through. I ended up getting them for less money and w/free shipping at Amazon.com.

    And I do sympathize with the other problems you have suffered – we lost our house (while we were in it!) during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 – but Target had nothing to do with your other problems. All they did was cancel your order, and they left you a couple weeks to recover.

    You said you ordered in your Mom’s name; can’t she watch your daughter while you make the trip to Target? The more you fume over this, the worse you will continue to feel. Brighten up – this isn’t something to bring down a family that survived the flood! You’ll get through this too. :)

    Jim

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      Target.com is RUN BY Amazon.com, we have been told. So if you got yours thru Amazon.com then you were very lucky, she had her order in a month and 1/2 ahead of yours.

      Her mother lives 8 hours away in Florida, she lives in Georgia so that wouldn’t of worked. The reason why the order was originally in her mother’s name was that they were living out of a hotel room, no money, hardly any clothes, taking every cent to fix their house. Her mother was nice enough to use her credit information to put the order in.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        No, Target.com and Amazon.com split as entities. Amazon.com still does fulfillment for Target.com, but it’s not Amazon’s responsibility to make sure Target.com has stock.

  34. jayphat says:

    Am I wrong for daying “tough shit”? I mean, stop promising your kids stuff for Chirstmas. Anyone who works in retail has heard the line “thanks for ruining my kids christmas” while we bend over backwards to try and accomodate someone. Even the OP admits when she ordered it it was on back-order at the time.

    Sorry, I guess i just have no sympathy for the OP. Am I wrong?

    • Stacey says:

      I did not promise this to my kids, as I stated other places around these comments they wrote letters to Santa & think since they’ve been good girls this year Santa will surely bring them what they asked for.

      I dont need to hear “tough shit” this has been a horrendous year filled with the joys of my 3 year old being in & out of the childrens hospital & the local hospital & countless other things…top it off with the flash flood that took away any sense of security they had left, live in a hotel room with a family of 5, no car, no family…”tough shit” is my motto this year.

      Thanks for that though, you dont have to tell me “tough shit” I live it…

      This was simply a complaint I wrote b/c I felt Target shouldn’t take an order & week after week tell us it’s coming & wait longer…then cancel it 13 days b4 Christmas & leave us NOW to search elsewhere.

      I didnt have the money to go out & buy 2 more somewhere else we lost EVERYTHING in this flood. I’m doin the best I can for my kids. We live in the STICKS we have walmart & a grocery store. Trying to do the right thing shopping in september & frankly my mother had to order it, we had no computer, we had NOTHING.

      Have a heart, it’s Christmas…”tough shit” is fine to say to me but my children? That’s heartless

      • friday3 says:

        Target was giving you their best estimate. They are not the producer of the product. If you KNOW they have it on the shelf, why didn’t you buy it or have the person who claims to see it, pick one up for you? Some stores may have it, though they ordered it months ago and it has not sold yet. You were not charged for this. Life is filled with disappointments. How about celebrating the fact that you are together, and nobody is dead, or are you one of those parents who can only show your kids love with toys and games. Quit whining and if it is that important find it elsewhere, or get them something that will provide much more for them. While your situation has been bad this year, I could point out people in the armed forces who have lost limbs and their lives. People who have lost their jobs and can not find food for their kids, and you are pissed about a stupid robotic hampster.

        • Stacey says:

          I’m not pissed about the stupid TOY…it’s a TOY…I’m pissed at being mislead. At no point did the representatives I spoke to tell me I should be prepared for it not to arrive, they said it was coming….next week, next week.

          I did not write this article’s headline, toys are NOT my idea of what Christmas is I was trying to get something for my kids that the store assured ME I could…

          I dont sit down with my 3 year old who is not capable of understanding much to begin with about death & the reality of life etc.

          My complaint is against the store & nothiing else

      • jayphat says:

        Perhaps I should rephrase this a little better.

        I feel sympathy for your situation. I truely do. HOWEVER, you being the responsible parent should have taken notice that you were ordering a backordered item with ESTIMATED in-stock dates. You ordered mid september. By the end of your 2-4 week window, this item had been declared the hottest thing to have for Christmas and was barely available anywhere. As such, demand was put on the supplier who, wisely, fufiled orders to B&M stores first(if I was a supplier who wanted to continue the most profitable route with my customers, i would have too). Wisely, target.com entends their potential in-stock date as they get their information from the supplier. Once target.com reaches a point where they KNOW they absolutely will not be able to receive product in time, distribute it to the warehouse system, then fufill orders for Christmas, they cancel your order.

        Sounds to me like they tried to hold out until the last minute logistically possible before they canceled your order. You should be thankful they canceled it this early instead of waiting until the week of Christmas to cancel the order.

        Simply put, you ordered an item that was back-ordered with an ESTIMATED delivery time and not a GUARANTEED delivery time. They updated their information as they received it. I don’t see what they did wrong other than if I personnally was running an online store, I wouldn’t let people place orders for back-ordered items for this exact reason.

    • Chargeback says:

      To quote John Bender “Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.” I would have to agree with your thought on “tough shit.”

  35. tekmill says:

    Didn’t anybody read the website. Target didn’t even have them available until October. So the fact that the supplier was unable to provide the the toys doesn’t surprise me one bit. Sounds like the OP made an oops by ordering from a retailer that got on the tail – end of the craze.

    ” Zhu Zhu Petsâ„¢ are available for sale at Wal-Mart, Toys“R”Us, Target (beginning in October) and other select retailers.”
    -From Zhu Zhu’s Website

    • Stacey says:

      available in October……..yet it’s December now & I ordered them in September…that doesn’t even make sense…the 2-4 week window would’ve been right at that point…now we’re in week 12…

  36. QuinellaCaninus says:

    Most store’s online arm is a completely different division than their physical presence. If you wanted one so damn bad, you should have just stood in line like everyone else.

    • Stacey says:

      as stated in another comment similar to yours, I have lost both vehicles in the flood, the one crappy one we scraped money together to buy would probably not make the 80 mile trip to a store & the 80 mile trip from the store….thank you though

  37. Whyspir says:

    Aaaannnnd….the article just got Farked.

    Congrats…I think?

    Anyway. I’m not going to side with either as I have opinions that fall on both sides of the fence.

    Sure it was a crappy thing for Target/Target.com to do…of course, this is 2009′s Tickle Me Elmo…so it’s a waste of money, even if it is for the kids.

    Of course it is harder for Stacey to even go get things because of the flood and such…so I suppose I’m leaning towards her side of the fence.

    Hopefully things work out for you though.

  38. Norsehawk says:

    Target is certainly in the wrong here for failing to fulfill an online order.

    I must say however, if your Christmas is ruined because you can’t get a couple of fur covered Chinese toys, you have lost the spirit of Christmas.

    • jayphat says:

      I just want to ask you, is it wrong to fufill an online order that was placed when the item was on backorder to begin with? If it was “in-stock” when she bought it this would be a whole different story IMO.

    • Stacey says:

      I did not write this article headline!!!! I did not state it would RUIN Christmas! Trying to write a letter of complaint & give heads up to people & getting crucified for the terminology in the headline…..

  39. ejkdmom says:

    To those of you who keep saying that Target.com can’t just go to the store to fill orders because they are part of AMAZON, bullhockey.

    When you buy at Target.com you can RETURN to any TARGET store. If they were so “separate” then you should have to return the item to Target.com/Amazon.com.

    They can’t have it both ways. Either they are a part of the whole store system or they aren’t.

    And I feel sorry for the parent. I don’t believe that kids should get everything they ask for and that sometimes they have to wait. My son had to wait until February of 2007 to get a Wii because I couldn’t get one in a store and I wasn’t going to pay a much higher price on Ebay. He was 7 and understood but was very happy to be getting one even a few months later. However, when you PLAN IN ADVANCE and order something MONTHS in advance from an online store that appears to have serious connections with the brick and mortar store, what happened stinks. Pure and simple. Target should be ashamed.

    And I know people who have been at the store at 4 in the morning to get their kids these hamsters. They were 4th and 5th in line at a CVS and there were only 5 to be sold. But the line was much longer. Just going out a few weeks to find the hottest toy of the season isn’t a piece of cake. This parent could very easily spend the whole day going from store to store and not finding any.

  40. Torchwood says:

    There is an old saying…. “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” The original poster planned way ahead… in September. It was target.com that dropped the ball, although they legally did not take her money.

    Personally, I think it is the manufacturer who is ultimately to blame. Under my conspiracy mind, I believe that the manufacturer is intentionally causing a shortage, thus causing more of a demand. Sigh…

    Still, I wish that some of the gripers who are complaining about a useless piece of plastic remember that this family went through some tragedy this past year. True, there are some spoiled brats out there, but it sounds like this isn’t one of them. And, if not this family, how about some local organizations? I personally run the company toy drive for a local children’s home. These are foster kids and kids who have been pulled from nasty situations in the middle of the night by local authorities. So, they have almost NOTHING. Something to think about…

  41. MrHacks says:

    When will the RECALL for these things occur? After somone tries “gerbiling” one of these things?

  42. SabyneWired says:

    I ordinarily hate to nitpick on stores, but was that an official e-mail from a Target rep? The grammar left a lot to be desired for me.

    But what an awful thing to have to deal with, on top of all the other drama it seems this mom’s dealt with over this year. Seriously, I think Target should honor her order.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      Sadly, yes this was an original cut and paste of what a Target Rep wrote her after she wrote them saying “Why is my order cancelled, I’ve been waiting 3 months??” Grammar is horrible, it looks like they used a generic response and cut and paste her item in it.

  43. kaysea says:

    How typical of The Consumerist to create a conspiracy theory out of a story.

    Like any regular business, Target.com and Target stores likely operate semi-independent of each other. Target.com orders and stocks items themselves; while Target brick and mortar stores similarly order and stock themselves from a regional distribution center.

    The fact that Target stores can get the item does not lead the the absolute conclusion that Target.com could also get the items. It is entirely plausible that Target.com’s order to the supplier could not be fulfilled while brick and mortar locations could.

    And assuming there is no independence between the brick and mortar and online stores in terms of distribution, god forbid a business act rationally in allocation of supplies.

  44. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    I don’t think she expects Target to fill her order now, but people really mistook this article. Everyone THINKS people are internet savvy, you should know this, and that, this company has a bad rep for…. and, some average people, just don’t. As soon as she told me what happened, I was mortified and wanted to warn others not to let Target say “Sure, we’ll send them out next week” over and over and give you a false sense of security.

    At the time, waiting a few weeks for an item wasn’t a big deal. Who KNEW they were going to become so popular. Certainly not me, I do not see the hype myself… but I also don’t see the hype in the hexbug nano’s but I bought them for my kids for christmas.

    Everybody is so willing to crucify. An opinion is one thing, but to spin an article about bad customer service on the internet side of Target into “That toy is a Chinese piece of crap” or “You don’t know the true meaning of Christmas”… well, that’s not for us to decide now is it. I’m sure someone telling you how to celebrate your holidays would piss you right off.

    Fact is, she ordered with plenty of time, and it was SEPTEMBER. Being on backorder for 2 weeks wasn’t a life threatening situation, it was a plausible wait and she didn’t mind. She followed up with them every time the expected shipment didn’t arrive and they ASSURED her they would be sent.

    Many of us would of cancelled the order and gone elsewhere, but by the time November hit, they were explosive and already harder to get. She thought being honest, waiting her place in line, that Target would come thru.

  45. friday3 says:

    Seems to be a messed up priority to be making a gift the only thing that will make it a good Christmas. Sorry, but you lived through a flood where people were killed. There are soldiers dying all over the world, and you are playing a sympathy card because you survived a flood and it was traumatic. How about telling them, that in life sometimes you may want something, but it may not happen.You tried and the way the system is set up did not allow you to get the item. Target did not charge you, and based on your own accounts they are selling them BELOW market price.

    • Stacey says:

      I’m not playing a sympathy card…I believe my complaint was against the store for misleading me….the rest has come out in response as to why I don’t go to another store & wait in line at 3am etc. I dont want sympathy from ANYONE, get that straight. My complaint was valid and I am asking for nothing from anyone here!

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      Listen, don’t lecture anyone about how worse around the world it is, because we aren’t them. Everyone has their own tragedies to live thru- My SO spent a year in Iraq and saw plenty enough to last him a lifetime. And, yet, that only made him a stronger person, wanting the best for his children, to let them have a decent childhood before all that negativity engulfs them in their futures. Such pessimism. To turn an article about bad consumer practices and flip it around on “Soldiers are dying, put your needs into perspective.”

      We all live our lives day to day. I don’t see comments like this when an article pops up claiming a company didn’t send a product, wouldn’t fix a product, or people losing their life savings from the crash. “Oh money isn’t the issue, think of the dying soldiers.”

      I thought about my soldier dying EVERY DAY and leaving his children behind. In the bigger picture, no, their tragedy isn’t as bad as others, but you didn’t feel it, go thru it, you don’t know what they’ve been thru. You’ll never know until it happens to you, and I hope it humbles you.

  46. Nick says:

    There are many toys for children that are much more creative and interesting than these toxic vermin. Why can’t people just use their heads? Oh yes, I forgot; it’s because they played with completely mindless toys when they were kids!

    Take a look at the website. It’s completely frightening. http://www.zhuzhupets.com/

    We are now at the complete mercy of the People’s Republic of China.

  47. Chinchillazilla says:

    Dude, people need to stop judging her for wanting these toys. If it had been anything else, people would be up in arms, but since it’s the trend toy, apparently it’s okay to hate on her and blame her for Target’s mistakes.

    I wanted a Furby when those were the hot toy. And yes, my Christmas would have been really disappointing — maybe even “ruined” — if I hadn’t gotten one. It’s not my mom’s fault that I wanted a dumb, popular toy, or that I wanted it SO INCREDIBLY BADLY OMG.

    I hope this turns out okay for you, Stacey.

  48. Stacey says:

    “WalMart, Target, and Toys r Us are getting them in weekly, but you never know what day they will appear on the shelves. They are not advertising them in their weekly fliers, due to demand.”

    That came from one of MANY articles I have read stating the same thing. If these facts are incorrect then it’s ABC, NBC & CBS news reporters…because I have seen similar articles from all networks.

    http://www.wptv.com/content/segments/dwym/story/Find-Zhu-Zhu-Pets/oNhK_2eFzkmqwxdE5-hXGw.cspx?p=2

  49. Chargeback says:

    If losing out on a “toy” is going to ruin Christmas, the meaning is all gone.

    Give you kid a piggy bank and a subscription to the Economist. After all the great depression v2.0 is coming

  50. Schmoopie says:

    I think Target’s “backorder” system is a deceptive advertising practice, which as I said before happened to me as well. They advertised on their site the availability of the product, accepted an order, and then did not deliver to one class of customers (online backorders) but did deliver to another class of customers (in the stores). She RELIED on their PROMISE to deliver a product, and they reneged on the promise. And zhuzhupets.com still says to order online at Target…

  51. kyle4 says:

    I feel really bad for Stacey and her children and am disappointed with way a lot of commenters are ripping on her. With the way people are making false assumptions about a person they don’t know about, it kind of kills any motivation to send your own stories in when you’ll just be destroyed by people who have no idea of what’s going on.

    Sure, they’re $8 Hamsters but after the flooding and the losses they encountered during the year she just wanted to have a good Christmas with her kids. She wants to see them happy. She said she will wants the toys and the story is just about Target.com and what they did. When I was six I thought Christmas was all about gifts, it wasn’t until a few years later that I valued it for what it really was.

    Relax people, she’s just a mom that loves her kids. No need to get so mean.

    • Kiz says:

      But surely she could have just gone and bought something else for them? I certainly didn’t always get what I wanted for Christmas every year. That’s just part of life. If the kids will only be happy with one specific toy and that specific toy only they are in for a life of disappointment.

      It’s not ripping on her as wondering why on earth 2 crappy Chinese toys are such a big deal when there are 3 billion other crappy Chinese toys out there to choose from. At 3 years old or whatever I am sure they will be happy with a load of things. It’s the whole “but I was in a flood and these are the only things that will save Christmas” attitude of the article that was odd.

      Like I said, Santa didn’t always bring me what I wanted, no matter what, either. He doesn’t for a lot of kids and they all cope. Again, that’s just part of life.

  52. glitterpig says:

    Ok, I see these stupid rats everywhere, but maybe not anywhere people are looking for them. You want one? Go to a CVS in/near an office park. They will have shelves full. They have some of the playsets, but I don’t care enough to know if they have any particular one. Seriously, these things creep me the hell out. You ever hear the noises they make?

    That said, Target was entirely crappy to the OP and there’s no excuse for that.

  53. Sumtron5000 says:

    Please tell me the whole “Ruins Christmas” thing is a joke. Worse things can happen, I’m sure you know. I can’t even begin to imagine what you and your family must have gone through with the flood. But if they are “so sure they are getting one, can’t let them down,” then start calling stores now to try to find some.

    Yes, of course, Target screwed up big time here. I’m not absolving them from any of the blame. But if this really going to ruin Christmas, you need to start looking at other options.

    I DARE you to vote with your dollars and never, ever shop at Target again. I’m not being sarcastic, I swear.

  54. bonzombiekitty says:

    I was kinda surprised the other day, I went to Hallmark store near work to get some stuff to wrap a present. When I checked out, behind the counter were at least 20 Zhu Zhu pets for sale. I thought those things were supposed to cause mass riots or something.

    I contemplated buying them and selling them on E-bay. But I’m not that mean.

  55. gannonhn says:

    The same thing happened to me! I bought 2 tom tom 340S gps systems online on Thanksgiving day that I was giving for Christmas gifts. I just got an email from target saying they basically sold more than they had and blamed tom tom for not sending them enough. I really don’t care whether tom tom didn’t send them enough or not. What I care about is the fact TARGET sold me the item, not tom tom, and Target never sent the item to me and refuses to do anything for THEIR mistake. Oh, and the best part is that I went into the target store and they have the exact gps system I bought online. I paid $97 for it online and they have them in the stores for $250 but won’t let me have the in store one for the $97 I paid for it. I asked the lady I spoke with at the corporate office if this happens all the time and she told me this is the only time target has made the mistake of selling an item online that they couldn’t fullfill. I didn’t believe her and this just confims that! Target must do this quite often. How is a business allowed to continue to operate that screws customers over and does absolutely nothing to make things right with the customer???

  56. goatzilla says:

    People, I have a secret for you. Amazon.com runs the target website not target. Zhu, Zhu pets are being shipped to target stores this week! most targets will have them by tomorrow. This will be a massive shippment of between one and two pallets. Let me repeat myself Target does not run its website, thats why the prices and availbility are completely different.