Saturday, September 23, 2006


The Hunt For Red Elmo

Like many others, I watched a video clip of the introduction of the top-secret TMX Elmo doll. This isn't the Elmo of ten years ago, no siree. This is not a mere pressure-activated doll that giggles. This is state-of-the-art "how the hell?" motion. The new Elmo, while giggling the whole time, slaps his leg, bends over in a fit of laughter, rolls onto his side, kicking his feet, rolls onto his back, his front, kicking and laughing, and manages to right himself back on his feet again. Unbelievable.

Thinking I'd try my luck at getting one of these little mechanical miracles, I called the local Toys R Us store on Wednesday to see if they had any left.
"Let me check, I just strolled in......yes, we've got quite a lot of them. Shouldn't be a problem," I was told.
After work I made a quick stop at home and decided to first check out the local Zeller's store since they are quite a bit closer than Toys R Us. They were sold out.
Ha, chumps. Looks like I'm going up to Toys R Us to get me one. I wonder how many of those poor suckers out there don't realize that Toys R Us has lots of them. Off I went to claim my share of The Hottest Toy Of The Year.

I parked in the mall lot and walked into the toy emporium, expecting to find a huge mountain of TMX Elmos, but instead found an empty rack that said "SOLD OUT. We will have more stock for sale Saturday September 23. Line up early."
Bastards! Obviously, the clerk who took my call a couple of hours earlier must not realize that this is The Hottest Toy Of The Year. What he may have considered to be "quite a lot of them" could have easily sold out twenty minutes later.

My mission became apparent. I needed to get there Saturday morning. Early. I made note of their opening time - 9:00am. OK, I open my store at 10:00. That would give me enough time to get in, grab one and boot back to open in time.

I decided that I would get there by around 7:00, and that should ensure me a good spot in line. Surely, this isn't like back in the good old days when I lined up overnight for concert tickets to The Cure or Depeche Mode.

I updated and charged my iPod so I could watch some video podcasts while I waited in line. It would make time fly, I'd finally watch those things I've been downloading for months, and it would keep me from having to make small talk with the other shoppers.

I got to bed around midnight and set the alarm for 6:30. I figured I would jump out of bed and into the shower and run out the door (after getting dressed, of course). I pretty much stuck to that plan...stayed in bed a few minutes, but aside from that it was ok. I stopped for a coffee and bagel at Timmy's and made the trek to Toys R Us. I noticed a lot of other cars pulling into the lot as I approached, but when I pulled in, I was pleasantly surprised to see only six people in line. I guess the other cars were going to the McDonalds or Timmy's in the mall. Thank God!

"I guess this is the Elmo line," I quipped.
"No, we just like hanging out at Toys R Us overnight," one crusty smart-ass woman replied.

So there I perched with the others who preceeded me, and the many who came after, eagerly awaiting the chance to drop around fifty bucks for a toy. Even though I had my earbuds in, I was able to hear a lot of the conversation around me. One woman was saying that her mother lined up at a store for a Cabbage Patch Doll for her years ago, and now it's her turn to do it for her kid. I suppose it's a small sacrifice to bring joy to someone's face. She was telling others in the line that there is one woman trying to sell a TMX Elmo on eBay for one million dollars. Apparently she's hoping some celebrity will buy it and take her out of debt. Ya, I would hope a cool million would get her out of debt. The greed.

Around 8:30, a manager came out with a stack of tickets and handed them out to us. Being seventh in line was all it took, but only about ten more people or so behind me got in on the action. The others were issued rainchecks in the event they receive more. So after another 30 minute wait, we were in. I paid for my Elmo, picked him up at the specified location and walked away with him giggling all the way to the car. That is to say Elmo was giggling inside the box, which I guess in turn did make me giggle. It's infectious.

So here I am at work, I have unpacked Elmo and have given him a...ahem test tickle, and he works like a charm, although the initial movement of Elmo slaping his leg does somewhat look more like he's enjoying himself in a whole other way.

The original plan was to get this for Brynn, but I realize that she's about a year too young for this. I guess Elmo will be placed under the tree with Zoe's name on him. And I know that she will be thrilled with him. Now I just need to find something for Brynn that I can line up for.

I love the TMX Elmo... but In spain we have the TMX Ernie!
I haven't seen the TMX Elmo yet, so I'm waiting for you to video him doing his schtick and post it here. Thank you. ;-)
Oh my god, I'm not nearly that technically adept. I found about a thousand clips out there of him though. Check out YouTube if you haven't seen it yet. There's no shortage of him on there!
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