Parents across the city are going into pre-Christmas panic mode, and it’s all thanks to a familiar fuzzy robot known as Furby. After more than a decade on the island of misfit toys, the once popular (and sort of creepy looking) talking electro-owl is back at the top of Santa wish lists, and parents who didn’t plan ahead may face some Christmas-morning tantrums. “We’ve been sold out for at least a couple of weeks,” says a Toys R Us employee at the Gerrard Street location (same goes for all other Toys R Us stores across the city). At Walmart, the shelves are similarly Furby free. And, of course – because parental desperation is a terrible thing to waste – the black market is thriving. Second-seller shopping sites such as Craigslist and Kijiji are hawking Furbies for more than twice their in-store asking price of $60. In a particularly Hogtown turn of events, one Kijiji user this week was hoping to exchange two mint-condition Furbies for two tickets to the Blue Jays’ April, 2013, home opener. Clearly it’s not just the wee ones hoping to see their holiday wishes come true.
Hasboro announced plans to rerelease it once-popular product back in April, and the toys arrived in stores in September, just in time to build preholiday buzz, and capitalize on the wave of 90s-era staples that seem to be slipping back into vogue (vogue, vogue). Grunge fashion is everywhere, Eddie Vedder has his own radio show, the cast of Clueless reunited earlier this year. On the toy scene, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and My Little Ponies are cool again, though only one toy can occupy the Tickle Me Elmo throne each year, and in 2012 it’s Furby 2.0. The latest incarnation comes in a range of new colours (teal, tangerine tango) and the software has been updated to include iPad compatibility. Postmillenial Furby may be an old friend, but he’s new and improved, which is great. If you can find one.