A Zhu Zhu Pet for you? What’s the toy hamster fascination?

The must-have toy of this holiday season is a mechanical hamster that scurries about your home.

My husband is baffled by its popularity. When the Wii was the “It” toy he understood.  Even the Tickle Me Elmo he got, but why the mechanical hamster?

I totally get why the Zhu Zhu hamster would be popular.  They’re cute, they run, they DON’T poop or chew things. But most importantly, according to many articles, they’re cheap – only $7.99.

The only problem is stores can’t seem to keep the Zhu Zhu in stock. Luckily, my kids haven’t mentioned them so I don’t have to worry about chasing (hehehe) them down this season.

Here are a bunch of stories about the Zhu Zhu Pet craze:

A Hamster is the Season’s Hottest toy

Indianapolis shopper scuffle over hot hamster toy

Economics 101: By Way of a Hamster

So what do you think: Do your kids want a Zhu Zhu Pet this Christmas? Will you buy one? Have you already bought one? Did you have to fight off another lady? Do you understand why they are the hottest toy of the season? What other “It” toys have baffled you?

How do toys become the “It” toy?

50 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

November 30th, 2009
9:40 am

O.K. Theresa, I always try to help you out and be supportive but I have NO idea what this is and most likely it will not be on anyone’s list that I am shopping for….LOL.

We did reminisce with our son the other day about getting him a RED Power Ranger. My husband got caught up in it….visited a store that PROMISED it would be shipped by Christmas NADA.
We still laugh about the note he composed from Santa to hang on the tree.

Did anyone get any FABULOUS deals on Friday? I stayed home from Wed. night, after the movie, until Saturday afternoon and LOVED it. I am doing a good portion of my shopping online.

I am meeting DB for lunch today and will ask her about the topic today…I am certain she will know more than me!

Have a nice day all…I am ready to trade leftovers with someone as we are getting sick of ours LOL!

FCM

November 30th, 2009
9:40 am

We have a toy hamster but not Zhu Zhu. It is another one we got last year. I got it because my daughter is facinated with all pets, especially dogs, cats, birds and hamsters. I on the other hand appreciate that other people have pets. I do not have any desire to keep a rodent (hamster) or flying mence (birds) on hand. I could do with like, fish. Something that does not add more to my burden.

I am considering a dog or cat for her. I can accept either of those. I just have to decide how much I am willing to take care of another living thing — I know the kids will do some.

Anyway, I found the toy hamster and I fell in love with the idea. My daughter loves her pet. She has real animals to play with at school or the granparents. She also appreciates that she is not cleaning and feeding this one daily.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 30th, 2009
9:49 am

I wish I had a Zhu Zhu dog!! One that wouldn’t poop on my living room carpet!!

new stepmom

November 30th, 2009
9:55 am

Oh what I would give to replace the smelly guineau pigs with a mechanical hamster ;o)! We have a 2 year old dog and the 2 guineau pigs and the little piggies are really smelly and the hubs is allergic to them. They also cost far more per month than the dog ($20/month on litter and $24/food vs. about $20 month in food for the dog). $7.99 is a total deal and if my stepdaughter wanted one, I would figure out a way to get one ;o)! But alas, we will keep the piggies and we will continue to use them as a tool to teach responsibility which I doubt would be the same with a mechanical pet ;o)!

motherjanegoose

November 30th, 2009
9:55 am

Theresa..want me to send my daughter over?

After our 1st schnauzer was run over, in front of our house, we got a 10 week old puppy. I have trained several dogs but told my daughter that it was her turn. She did a GREAT job and we rarely have any inside episodes….only if the dog has not been out in a LONG time and no one is noticing that she needs to “go”.

Have fun y’all…I am ready for something beside leftovers!

RJ

November 30th, 2009
10:01 am

I’ve heard of this new toy, but my kids are too old. Honestly I’ve never gotten into the must-have craze. While I enjoy buying gifts for my kids, I won’t feed into that. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. We always keep that at the forefront of our minds in my home.

ATL06

November 30th, 2009
10:07 am

I saw this item featured on The View. I’m with your husband Theresa I just don’t get it and I know my son wouldn’t either.

JATL

November 30th, 2009
10:16 am

Thank God my two are too young to register this. Quite honestly I really hope neither boy ever asks for a mechanical hamster! I don’t get it at all, but it’s amazing at what kids really latch onto. I’m so excited this year because my 3 year old is REALLY getting into Star Wars! If Santa doesn’t deliver some light sabers, I think he may have a stroke ;-)

DB

November 30th, 2009
10:19 am

I bought one last month as a gag gift for my daughter, in memory of zillions of hamsters and guinea pigs that she so lovingly neglected :-) I just thought it was a funny and inexpensive gag gift — who knew I was on the leading edge?! I saw it last week listed as a hot toy, and had to giggle.

OMIGOD, the Red Power Ranger!! I remember that crazy search! And let’s not forget the first year that Barney came out — I think I was the only one in the neighborhood to actually score a stuffed Barney!

And while we’re talking about crazes — Beanie Babies, anyone? I worked in a specialty toy store during the height of the craze and was absolutely aghast at how Beanie Babies brought out the absolute worst in adults (kids just loved ‘em, adults were downright insane.) I got to work one day in the rain, and there was a crowd of about 20 people clustered around the door. I had the door key in my hand, and murmured, “Excuse me!”, as I tried to make my way to the door. One woman turned around, literally snarled at me, and pushed me so hard I fell down on the wet pavement, screaming, “WAIT YOUR F’KING TURN, BITCH!” I was a little stunned and muddied, so I picked myself up, went to the cafe’ next door to get a Diet Coke and to clean up a little, and then went around to the back, let myself in and opened the door from the inside — 10 minutes late. When the idiot woman who knocked me down saw that it was me, she turned red as a beet, especially when I politely told her, in front of all her friends and neighbors (and I was exquisitely polite) that she was not welcome, and if she came in the store, I was calling the police and filing assault charges. Several women came up to me later and told me that they wished I had! I had grown women lie to my face about wanting to buy several “hot” BB’s for their grandchildren, when they were really taking them down to Lakewood and selling them for four to six times the price at the flea market. It was really scary, how many women were “investing” in BB’s so they could “put their kids through college” — hello?! One idiot woman paid $600 for the Princess Di BB when it first came out (not in my store!), and last time I checked eBay, it was MAYBE $2.50 at the most. These are not women I would want picking my stocks for me!

After PETA’s stupid suggestion about getting an animatronic bulldog to replace UGA VII, I bet they are all over this gift!

lmno

November 30th, 2009
10:32 am

I knew this moron who took his family’s savings and bought crates full of Beanie Babies. He was waiting “For the right time” to sell them. He still has them. Idiot.

Sue

November 30th, 2009
10:43 am

TickleMe Plant is the Green Alternative for the over rated Zhu Zhu
You and your child will never look at plants in the same way ..gift a TickleMe Plant
The TickleMe Plant is now easy to grow indoors. The leaves suddenly fold up and the branches droop when you tickle It! It is more like a pet then a plant
1. No batteries required
2. Packaged in the USA
3. Guaranteed to Grow and move when you Tickle It!
It may even teach your child to be more sensitive to plants and nature. You can just search the net or go to
http://www.ticklemeplant.com Use coupon code HOLIDAY to save $2.00

xyon

November 30th, 2009
10:58 am

mine were from http://www.getzhuzhupets.com they are great but I think i paid a little more for them

RLS

November 30th, 2009
11:15 am

I don’t get it either but very thankful that someone has time on their hands to invent such a toy. I almost had to buy the real thing but was able to pick up 2 yesterday at Toys R US. Happy Holiday’s.

Stephanie

November 30th, 2009
11:36 am

When these were first released at the end of August/beginning of September, my daughter saw the commericals and was so excited! She had been wanting a real hamster, but I had told her that since we had 3 cats, a hamster was just not a good idea. Before these were labeled the “it” toy, I was able to get her the hamsters and the accessories at Walmart with no problems…However, by the end of September, they were nowhere to be found in the stores. I am very glad I thought ahead!

Kathy

November 30th, 2009
11:41 am

These hamsters remind me of Furbys…..does anyone remember those?!

Wow...

November 30th, 2009
12:30 pm

…not a lot or interest in this topic! But, I do remember both the Beanie Baby craze, and the Furbies!

And, there was another craze involving gnomes by a guy named Tom Clark, back in the late 90’s, too. I bought several of those thinking they may be worth something, but so far not much return on that venture! Maybe after Dr. Clark (he was one of my religion professors in college, and one of my fraternity brothers became his marketing guru – making both of them multi-millionaires) passes away will they increase in value!

Deal Maker

November 30th, 2009
12:50 pm

Here’s a handy tool to let you know that an out of stock item has come into stock at Amazon. Just paste the ASIN # into the field on the left and it will alarm when it becomes available at retail price. It’s especially useful for those heavily in demand toys.

http://thriftyandfrugal.com/az-grabber/

Becky

November 30th, 2009
12:51 pm

Like someone else already mentioned, my two had this toy under a different name several months ago..They loved it..

@Kathy, I’m so old that I not only remember the Furby’s, I remember the debut of the mood rings, the pet rock and the Cabbage Patch babies..

Kathy

November 30th, 2009
1:15 pm

Becky….I can’t cop to the mood rings and rocks, but I remember getting my first “Little People” doll (before the were called Cabbage Patch) in 1981!

FCM

November 30th, 2009
1:16 pm

Sue I cannot think of any kid who would want that plant thing. Even the ad was creepy.

Dave

November 30th, 2009
1:27 pm

Hi Theresa, you’re right about people having trouble finding Zhu Zhu Pets especially for the retail price.

I ran into a great site called Hot A-Z Alert which notifies you when the hottest holiday items and deals are back in stock at the lowest price. It checks Amazons inventory multiple times every minute and sounds an alarm when the item is available. You can see it at http://www.hotazalert.com

Richard Gere

November 30th, 2009
1:32 pm

Does anyone know where I can get a mechanical gerbil?

JJ

November 30th, 2009
2:38 pm

I have never been “Trendy” with christmas presents. I hate giving a gift that 100,000,000 other kids got.

I’ll never forget the Tickle me Elmo craze……

I like to be original…….

new stepmom

November 30th, 2009
2:42 pm

DB, I was in a gift shop that I frequent last Spring that carried Webkinz. Because so many of the “tags” that have the web access code had been stolen rendering the item valueless they started putting all of them behind the counter. A mom came in with her 3 little darlings and wanted them to be able to play with one each while in the store and put them back. The clerk told her no, that they have to be paid for prior to leaving behind the counter. The mom proceeded to chew the clerk out over being selfish and not understanding children. The store has since stopped carrying webkinz. It is amazing how adults act over toys at times….I am glad the lady that attacked you did not hurt you badly.

jen

November 30th, 2009
2:48 pm

It’s been crazy out there. But, we ran across an interesting trick that alerted us within seconds of when some toys came back in stock at Amazon, it’s free and you could use it for Zhu Zhu pets or anything. http://www.azproductsnatcher.com

Belle

November 30th, 2009
3:33 pm

Oh wow Furby and Tickle Me Elmo..I can really date my self on these. I remember hunting for the TM Elmo for over a month so my Mom could give it to my nephew. I found it, bought it, shipped it and yes he loved it. So much in fact that here it is 13 yrs later and and he has given it to my 3 yr old. Both kids crack up at that silly thing.
Now the Furby…I have that thing in the garage. I thought it was creepy when they came out and I still do.

motherjanegoose

November 30th, 2009
3:54 pm

As predicted, DB did know about the topic today and told me so over lunch. HOORAH!

I commented how I continue to meet total strangers ( like her) for lunch and am able to forge new friendships. I am still alive and no worse for the wear. PLUS I am thrilled to learn things from people who have had experiences that I have not…thanks DB!

Maybe some of the rest of you might like to meet each other too! LOL!

new stepmom

November 30th, 2009
3:56 pm

MJG…I think it would be a lot of fun to meet some of the regulars! I am on bedrest for a while longer, so it will have to be later on for me ;o)!

motherjanegoose

November 30th, 2009
4:08 pm

@ newstepmom, I have been on the planning/organizing end of life WAY too long and would never undertake a group project ( for this blog) after all the flack I get here. Do you REALLY think I am THAT crazy….hahaha! Someone else can wear that “let’s get together” hat.

I know a few on the blog personally and do so enjoy visiting with them in from time to time and catching up on things. DB and I laughed for almost 2 hours and I feel honored that she still wants to get together with me…imagine it….hahaha!

I meet people across the country and have often thought it would be so grand if they could all meet each other. Today, I told DB about the lady I met in Alaska, last month. She was so kind and I am still sad that she lives WAY to far away for me to visit with her again any time soon!

If you want to contact me, Theresa can put you in touch.

Hugs to you and take care.

FCM

November 30th, 2009
4:20 pm

“And this is the Buzz Lightyear aisle. Back in 1995, short-sighted retailers did not order enough dolls to meet demand” — Tour Guide Barbie in Toy Story 2.

That line is priceless. I worked for Disney the year Buzz was the rage!

Lisa

November 30th, 2009
4:25 pm

I love my TickleMe Plant! It really does move when you Tickle It!

zhuzhu

November 30th, 2009
4:50 pm

I found zhu zhu pets at http://www.zhuzhupetsinstock.net, they still have them last time I checked

FCM

November 30th, 2009
5:24 pm

zhuzhu I looked at the link….those things are not listed at $8 more like $50 and more.

Lisa, I am guessing your not a kid though. Do you know a kid who would want a plant?

FCM

November 30th, 2009
5:27 pm

based on the rates on the sites I found I have decided to become a ZhuZhu Veternarian. I will charge $35 per visit since the pets don’t bite.

JATL

November 30th, 2009
6:42 pm

Thanks to this blog I was able to “assist” an elderly couple in Walmart this afternoon who had been sent on a mission for one of these zhuzhu things by their VA-based daughter for their granddaughter. I told them I didn’t get it, explained what it was (they were stunned), and told them it was probably sold out. It was. Craziness!

Janis

November 30th, 2009
7:21 pm

Hehehe my kids are 9,7, and 5 and they asked once for it after seeing it on tv. I told them it was a stupid toy and that I will not be buying it. Guess what they haven’t asked since. But I remember the craze of beanie babies never bought one till last year though at the grocery store where they are overflowing I did break down and got an orginal tickle me elmo on black friday at Kmart. I wasn’t planning on it figgureing I would never be able to afford one and that they would be sold out. So imagine my surprise when they were right in front of the door on sale for $10 and no one was around. So I grabbed one. My oldest loved it, my second one loved and my youngest has played with it.

HB

November 30th, 2009
11:01 pm

FCM, I’ve always been a bit of a nerd, but I would have loved the plant as a kid and currently know several little ones who I think would like it (they’d like the hamster too).

uberVU - social comments

December 1st, 2009
12:49 am

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by Phelpshut: A Zhu Zhu Pet for you? What’s the toy hamster fascination?: Luckily, my kids haven’t mentioned them so .. http://bit.ly/6HkAwK…

Martha

December 1st, 2009
5:57 am

Did everyone see the TickleMe Plant yet? Forget Zhu Zhu my daughter wants to grow a plant that MOVES when you Tickle It! At first she wanted a Zhu Zhu..then we found the TickleMe Plant Greenhouse . In it you can grow this crazy tropical plant that closes its leaves when you Tickle It.
Then it opens again 15 minutes later. You can find the TickleMe Plant Greenhouse to grow it indoors year round at http://www.ticklemeplant.com while supplies last!

Stephanie Oppenheim

December 1st, 2009
8:30 am

The Zhu Zhu craze is a perfect storm of kids enjoying this novelty toy, parents loving the price ($9.99 if you can find them)…and the media enjoying having a fun toy story to write about. I took them on the Today Show last week–because they had become the story of the season, but there are many other wonderful toys we reviewed this season on our independent consumer site (toyportfolio.com) that may not be getting the same press–but they are worth your child’s time…and your money.

Alice

December 1st, 2009
12:50 pm

Check out this site GoGrabber.com, it’s saving my procrastinating butt! lol

I know other mom’s are having trouble finding them, so I wanted to let everybody
know how I got one.

I’ve seen some posts from Moms that are wating outside Toys R Us for new shipments to try and get one, but frankly, I live in New England and it’s COLD at five AM!! I wanted to buy from Amazon.com because they have free shipping on like, everything, but the only ones they had were being sold (at WAY marked up prices) by third parties.

HOWEVER, one of my girlfriends told me about gograbber.com, which is a free website that will “watch” items for you on Amazon and let you know when amazon has them in stock at regular retail price.
It was so awesome! I was just doing the dishes, I heard the gograbber alarm go off on my PC, hopped on and bought the zhu zhu pet! It worked so well I now have gograbber watching a whole bunch of stuff for me!
Lol! Good luck everybody!

juanalou

December 2nd, 2009
3:18 am

My kids love so much on their Zhu Zhu Pets I bought at http://www.amzpricesniper.com who offers for their best selling price.

Janet

December 2nd, 2009
6:26 pm

You’re so right about finding these toys. The only ones I could find up until a couple of days
ago where way, way overpriced. My sister got two earlier this week at retail and I was like
where? She let me know about this site that’s sort of like a notification service, it monitors
the online retailers and lets you know when it’s in stock, it was so helpful,

I was able to score a Mr. Squiggles zhu zhu pet yesterday, the site is http://www.azstalker.com hope this is helpful to some zhu zhu pet seeker out there.

Andy G.

December 2nd, 2009
9:58 pm

During the Holidays hot items like the Zhu Zhu Pets often go temporarily out-of-stock at the major suppliers like Amazon and ToysRUs. When that happens the resellers have a field day charging five times or more over the usual retail price. Many people don’t realize that resellers are allowed to sell on Amazon, so when a Zhu Zhu is out of Amazon inventory (normally a bit less than $10), the browsing customer sees the item listed at $50 or $60 or more from a reseller.

To get an out of stock item at the regular, much lower, retail price, I found a website service (free) that is a great help. The site continually monitors the Amazon inventory status and sounds an alarm from your browser window within seconds of a watched item coming back into stock. You don’t have to be sitting at your computer to hear the alarm and you can save your watched items list so they are immediately available the next time you visit the site. When the alarm goes off, the exact product page opens, and you can jump in and place your order very fast.

Here’s the site http://HeresYourItem.com

Lea

December 4th, 2009
9:48 am

First ofall to “NewStepMum” if you have real guinea pigs and you find they stink, It will be because of the acidity in their urine. Try a dash of Apple Cider Vinegar in their water, just enough so you can barely taste it and this will reduce the smell. It’s great for mice and rats too. We used to have a pet shop and got regular complaints about the smell. Not after we used the vinegar.
As far as pretend guinea pigs AKA Zhu Zhu Pets I found them at Amazon.com for the proper retail price by using some free software that tracks your item and alerts you the minute it comes in. It’s like being at the front of the line every time you shop there. The web site is http://www.ezgifttracker.com. The tutorial is great and the software is quick and easy to use. Bargain!!!!

Marc Alan

December 7th, 2009
2:49 pm

For the latest news and information on the Zhu Zhu Pets Recall visit http://www.Zhu-Zhu-Pets-Recall.com

Ana

December 7th, 2009
5:04 pm

I’ve been looking everywhere for those toys and most places had their prices extremely high. I searched online and I found a site that lets you track when they come back in stock in Amazon.com so you dont have to pay the high prices Amazon’s partners have. The site is: http://www.azproductwatch.com/

The Grayheck

December 7th, 2009
8:59 pm

This is NOT good news for the zhu zhu’s, unless it is an elaborate smear campaign from a former employee or something. With today’s news it looks like Zhu Zhu has its first BAD celebrity endorsement. It could spell an end to the zhu zhu phenomena:

http://socoolaz.com/article/Entertainment/Entertainment/Zhu_Zhu_Pet_Found_in_Richard_Geres_Bum/30273

fer

December 8th, 2009
12:09 pm

It’s all about marketing. People were told that this was THE TOY, and they blindly followed along.

Adam

December 13th, 2009
8:26 pm

http://www.NoveltyPoster.com currently has in Zhu Zhu pets! Check it out