The holidays are fast approaching which to some of us simply means breaking our low carb diet and an extra side of gravy, but for many of us it also means the start of the holiday retail season.
If you’re like me, the idea of spending three times the actual price on something just because it’s December makes you so angry you just refuse to do it. There’s a reason we don’t fly home to visit my parents or in-laws during the holidays. I know you can’t put a price tag on quality time….oh wait. Yes, you can. If it’s the most wonderful time of the year, it’s exactly $3290.65.
And the “Tickle Me Elmo” of the Christmas season that is impossible to find unless I’m willing to blow our entire holiday budget on it? Nope. No thanks. There are more important things than a furry talking creepy toy that my kids will play with for exactly two days, but will continue to haunt my nightmares until Easter.
I consider myself lucky that my children are two and four which means they still find pretty much everything under the Christmas tree to be magical. I know that my four year old will love the new Lego set I stashed away in the garage for her because she’s finally old enough to graduate from Duplos and build with “big kid” Legos. I’m fully confident that my two year old will be equally enthralled with her first Play-doh set hidden in my closet and will probably still sneak pieces in her mouth when I’m not looking. I’m also thankful that neither of them are old enough to read this.
My kids don’t even realize they can tell me what they want for Christmas yet and although they watch a lot of YouTube toy unveilings, they are fairly oblivious to what the “hot toys” are this year. However, I know this won’t last forever and I dread the day when I can no longer begin stock piling their favorite play things weeks and months in advance to avoid the holiday melee altogether. I’m dreading the day when my kids edit their holiday wish list three weeks before Christmas to include whatever the “Hatchimal” craze is that season and I have to explain to them why they won’t be getting that coveted toy under their Christmas tree this year.
As we all know these are the $50 toys on the cover of the Toys R Us and Target holiday catalog that go out of stock at every big box store in October. However, there will be several people in my Facebook mom groups who will have six of them and are selling them for $175 a piece.
If you’re one of the parents selling “rare” Fur-Hatch-Tickle-Finger-mals out of the back of your soccer van, you are part of the problem and I’m talking to you.
This may not seem like a big deal because you aren’t the only one doing it. You can probably justify yourself by simple economics of supply and demand. The stores can’t seem to keep enough in stock, so you are providing a service to other parents who didn’t make it in time to buy it at the store and are willing to pay extra money for all that hard work you did calling every Walmart in the tri-county area and buying all their stock before the rest of us finished our first cup of coffee.
The hole in this theory is that if people weren’t systematically buying out all the available stock and turning around and selling them at a 400% markup, there might actually be some of these toys available for the rest of us at the actual retail price intended for that toy.
And what about the children whose families cannot afford to pay four times the price of a toy just because it’s December? What once was already an expensive toy has suddenly become an impossible wish list item for many kids because someone figured out they could make an extra $700 if they bought twenty Fingerling Monkeys and sold them for $50 a piece. Have we all become so greedy that we have to finance the extra money we spend on our families during the holidays by profiting off the wish lists of children?
I get that money is tight around the holidays, but if you have all that time and effort to put into going store to store, buying up toys and selling them on Facebook and eBay, then you have time to pick up some holiday shifts at Target or Kohls. If you really need to keep the consumerism alive, buy up some of those hot holiday toys and donate them to a toy drive so kids whose families can’t afford to indulge their kids’ wish lists this year can benefit from your retail skills.
It may not pay for your holiday, but it might just make someone else’s.