Popular toys flying off shelves earlier this year
It's not as early as you think. If you want to land that hot toy for your favorite child, shop now, experts advise. The most sought-after toys may sell out weeks before Christmas and not be re-stocked. And put some careful thought into what toy you buy a kid, to make sure it's age-appropriate and appealing. Toys R Us predicts these will be at the top of wish lists.
We have almost two months until Christmas, but buying toys early saves you a hassle and headache. It guarantees that the toys you want will be available. With the economy struggling, toy manufacturers and sellers are cutting back on the supply of toys, industry experts say, so they don't risk losing money on unsold merchandise.
Jack Cohen — owner of S.W. Randall Toyes and Giftes, an independent, local, specialty store with locations Downtown and in Squirrel Hill and Shadyside — says he already can't re-order any of the popular wooden Thomas the Tank Engine toys from Learning Curve, which is out of them.
About half of the people who came in the last week of October were specifically shopping for holiday gifts, Cohen says.
People seem to be buying even earlier this year, he says, possibly because it will be easier to stick to a tight budget if they spread out their shopping over a few months.
“The woman who just left said she's done — she bought everything she needs,” he says of a customer who carried out two big bags full of toys. “I was shocked.”
Some parents were shopping in September and putting items on layaway, says Adrienne O'Hara, spokeswoman for Wayne, N.J.-based Toys R Us.
“We've given parents so many different opportunities to shop and save for those who don't want to get up early” on Black Friday, O'Hara says.
The sellout risk for popular toys is high for buyers who wait until the last minute, says Richard Gottlieb, owner and president of Global Toy Experts, because of decreased inventory in a weak economy.
“The biggest reason (for early shopping) is the chances of getting the toy you want are going to be much higher,” Gottlieb says. His New York City-based company provides consulting to toy companies that want to enter the North American marketplace. “In these days, you'd rather buy leaner.”
And with most toys being made in China, it's not easy to get a quick turnaround and re-stock the sold-out toys, he says.
Choosing a toy
Whether you buy toys early or procrastinate, what should you buy for the children in your life? A toy can either delight or bore kids, depending on their interests. Some toys, though — such as those with small parts — can be dangerous to younger children, which is one of the reasons gift-givers should heed age ranges printed on toy boxes.
If you are buying toys for someone else's children, asking the parents what the kids want is a good starting point, O'Hara says.
Parents can put together wish lists and take the lists shopping. For younger children, O'Hara recommends toys that stimulate creativity and imagination, including something simple like building blocks.
Gottlieb — whose company publishes the magazine “Global Toy News” — recommends that grandparents buy a toy that reflects the giver's personal interests. A history buff, for instance, can give a child a Civil War playset. The child may grow to share that same interest.
“Buy for your own passion. What do you care about?” Gottlieb says. “If you're really into a particular craft, science or character you loved as a kid, share your enthusiasm.
“Gift the child with your passion,” he says. “They may or may not pick up on it, but it's authentic, it's who you are. ... Let their parents get them what they want, and let Santa Claus get them what they want.”
Gottlieb recommends looking for “legacy toys” that will last a long time — perhaps a checkers or chess set — and provide good play value, rather than cheap “landfill toys.”
“A toy can really have a lifetime impact,” he says.
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7824.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Tennessee DE Hendrix announces transfer to Pitt
- Steelers receiver Brown attends workouts despite previous comments
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle says playing 1 position should benefit Harrison
- Riot erupts in Baltimore after funeral for man hurt in police custody
- MLB notebook: Cardinals ace Wainwright out for rest of season
- Man found dead in Lower Burrell
- Plum officials: District won’t inhibit ‘constitutionally protected speech’
- NHL notebook: Rangers’ Zuccarello sidelined with upper body injury
- Pitt women’s basketball team picks up Southern Cal transfer
- Grand jury presentment: AG Kane lied, attempted to cover up leak
- State jumps in UPMC-Highmark dispute, pushes binding arbitration