Surprisingly enough, the most desired, hard to get gift of 2009 is a hamster—a smart, interactive hamster that can drive and get into all sorts of crazy situations without the mess of a real pet!
I first came across a Zhu Zhu Pet while I was shopping on Amazon.com. I saw a picture of the cute little hamster and thought to myself, “Oh, this must be a new toy.” And then I saw that it was $60 and thought, “Oh, this must be one of those toys.” You know, those toys that are in high demand during the holiday season. The ones that sell out so fast and become so rare that devoted parents are willing to pay high prices for the few that remain.
We all remember the Tickle Me Elmo craze of 1996, when parents literally fought other parents in toy stores and newspaper classifieds sold the Elmo for hundreds of dollars. Several clerks were even injured by rowdy crowds that stampeded stores for the plush toy. But let’s hope that the Zhu Zhu Pet fad doesn’t get anywhere near that sort of debauchery.
I found the desire for a fake hamster somewhat odd at first, but after research I began to understand why children would want this toy. You can purchase all sorts of tubes and accessories, such as cars, skateboards, adventure balls and of course the basic hamster wheel. I must say it’s pretty entertaining to watch the little guys zooming around.
And although they’re not real hamsters, they’re pretty close—Zhu Zhu Pets have a “nurturing mode” in which they coo and purr, an “adventure mode” in which they explore and respond to various stimuli, and, like all real animals, they have a sleep mode.
There are several different characters, such as Mr. Squiggles, Pipsqueek, Num Nums and Chunk. In 2010, creator Russ Hornsby plans to release 50 new hamster characters. Now that’s a lot of Zhu Zhu Pets!
Due to the high demand and short supply, many stores have imposed a limit of one Zhu Zhu Pet per customer. And even with the hefty markup many stores have run out. But don’t worry; there are ways to obtain one of these trendy toys. Toys R Us recommends creating a wishlist on their website and then populating it with the Zhu Zhu Pets and its accessories. They then notify you when it becomes available.
So if you or any of your loved ones want the hottest gift of 2009, you better start your search for the Zhu Zhu Pet now!