X-treme Elmo to Terrorize Nation’s Retail Workers

If you happened to work in a store, as I did, during the Rosie O’Donnell induced Tickle Me Elmo craze, you’ll understand my legitimate feelings of horror when confronted with people lining up to buy Elmo T.M.X. Announced today, Elmo T.M.X.’s (the X stands for X-treme) reveal ended “months of unprecedented secrecy that’s had the toy industry abuzz.”

Whatever. It’s a stuffed animal that rolls around and slaps its knee when you tickle it. Big deal. Rosie O’Donnell better keep her damn mouth shut. She probably still has no idea what hell she wrought in malls across this fair nation. And I’ve survived other crazes. I did Beanie Babies. I did Blues Clues. I did Titanic. I did Rugrats. I did “McDonald’s Beanie Babies” where I had people coming into my video store and asking if we sold “McDonald’s Beanie Babies.” No. We did not. We sold videos. And Pez.

But the worst was Tickle Me Elmo, which we did carry. We got exactly 2 of them and the store manager bought them both. Which meant I had to endure 2 months of this:

“Do you have any Tickle Me Elmos left?”
“Will you hold one for me? When will you get more?”
“We won’t. This is a video store.”
“But, you don’t understand. I NEED one. They said you had them.”
“Can’t you order it?”
“Your sign says Special Orders.”
“We don’t order toys.”
“Well, what the fuck do you suggest I do?”
“Maybe you should try Toys R Us.”
“They told me to come here.”
“Maybe you should try Marshall Field’s.”
“They told me to try Toys R Us.”

And on… And on…


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  1. rbdfoxes says:

    When I saw the “T.M.X.” ads a few days ago I assumed it was going to be a new Elmo doll that would be averse to tickling and perhaps scream “DON’T FUCKING TICKLE ME!” for the amusement of that “rebellious” Hot Topic crowd.

  2. Kat says:

    Retail employees should not be allowed to take products of any sort and buy them before they hit the shelves. And that should be doubly true for any rare or hard-to-find product.

  3. Mr. Gunn says:

    Why shouldn’t they? They’re the ones who have to put up with our crap on a daily basis for minimum wage. I know I would do it, and I’d use my employee discount, and I’d sell ’em on ebay. If anyone came in looking, I’d give ’em a business card with my ebay URL and tell them to go for it.

  4. Kat says:

    Grady – I’ll bet you sold Xbox 360’s for hundreds more than retail on eBay, didn’t you?

    Sure, you (the general, public “you) can do whatever you want with what you’ve bought, but Cabbage-Patch/Tickle-Me Elmo/360 debacles suck.

    And your job = your choice. As a former retail worker I didn’t make minimum wage either… I made more. Just because someone puts up with X amount of crap shouldn’t give them special rights towards merchandise before everyone else has a chance.

    I know people will still do it, but I won’t buy merch off eBay at a highly inflated price either.

  5. LafinJack says:

    “Retail employees should not be allowed to take products of any sort and buy them before they hit the shelves. And that should be doubly true for any rare or hard-to-find product.”

    Free market? What free market?

  6. Mr. Gunn says:

    So, IndigoRain, this bothered you so much you had to use an AskMe question on it?

    Unfortunately, no, I haven’t been in a position to get any arbitrage action on merch, but I would in a heartbeat.

  7. Kat says:

    So what does it matter if I wanted to Ask Mefi? I posted there and stated my motivations. It’s not like you just “blew my cover” or something.

  8. Mr. Gunn says:

    It was just a strange moment for me. This is actually the first time I’ve spotted someone I knew (of) from one site on another under a different name. I think it’s neat.

  9. Godders says:

    What is so wrong with retail employees buying up products and ebaying them anyway? When demand outstrips supply, prices go up – that’s how capitalism works.