For decades, certain toys have cornered the market, particularly around the holidays. Around 1910, the teddy bear was popular. The following decade, it was the yo-yo, and so it continued with each decade, each year favoring one certain toy over another. Then, in 1983, something unexpected happened.

The Cabbage Patch Craze

In 1983 Coleco released the Cabbage Patch Kids for “adoption” and everyone wanted one. Toys had been desired and hoped for in previous years, but this year parents were willing to go to extreme measures to get one of these chubby-cheeked, yarn-haired, painted-eyed dolls. They didn’t talk, like Chatty Cathy dolls; or walk; their limbs weren’t articulated, and their eyes didn’t open and close.

Cabbage Patch Kids had an adorability about them, but not necessarily enough to warrant the physical altercations parents got into, fighting their way through crowds to snag one of these Kids to take home to their kid. The dolls went for exorbitant prices on the black market, some parents paying over $1,000 for a $25 doll. This Cabbage Patch craze set the stage for future holiday toy-mania. Remember Tickle Me Elmo?

It’s All Hype

Keeping up with the Joneses can be expensive and exhausting. In the end, it can also be pointless, and it usually is. Still, it seems we humans are prone to crave that which is most hard to get. Even knowing the system is rigged against us doesn’t make it any easier to resist the temptation. Besides, it’s for the kids. We want our kids to be happy, and they won’t be happy if they don’t get the newest, most popular, least available toy or gadget on the market.

Scarcity Bias

Is the toy really popular because it is going to be difficult to get, or is it difficult to get because it’s a popular toy? Companies know how to manipulate consumers (kids are consumers too) and use scarcity bias to create buzz and frenzy over particular toys. Knowing there will be limited quantities only makes people want it more. Forget that fewer than three months later, that got-to-have-it toy will be in toy-limbo at the bottom of the toy box.

What Would Santa Do?

You have a choice to buy into the craze or not. If you choose the latter, you have a variety of options. Some parents have left notes from Santa with a heartfelt apology and a promise that the cherished toy would be delivered at a later date. Others have used the opportunity as a teachable moment – delayed gratification has many advantages and, learned early in life, can make adulthood less stressful and more realistic.

The bottom line is you can avoid the franchise toy craze by choosing to avoid it. Your child may be a little disappointed, may pout for a while, maybe even throw a tantrum. This may also be an opportunity, a time to sit down and discuss the meaning of the season with your child. This could be a valuable teachable moment. Chances are you will find that super-fantastic got-to-have-it toy on sale after the holidays are over.

The attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., live and work in the southwest Florida communities of North Port, Englewood, and Port Charlotte. We value family life and community involvement. Working and playing here gives us a stake in our communities.

The people we help are our friends and neighbors – our fellow community members. When we take on a personal injury case, we are fighting to help you get the fair compensation you deserve. Call us if you have a personal injury case and want a caring, compassionate attorney to represent your best interests.