The Toy Quest


When I was about 12 or 13 years old, Cabbage Patch dolls were the new thing, and quite a few parents behaved in ways they probably never imagined they would to get one for their child. I remember being flabbergasted that anyone would fight over a toy. Yesterday, I learned I have a touch of that kind of crazy within me. Just a touch, mind you.

The seeds of my crazy began in September, when during a visit from my in-laws, I discovered that like other children her age, my little girl is fascinated by technology. She got her hands on my mother-in-law's smartphone, and a tantrum ensued when we finally got it back. Since then, I've seen a lot more examples of her delight at technology. Therefore, for several months, I've been on the lookout for a tech toy for her. I considered an Innotab 2 and Leap Pad 2, but neither is recommended for children as young as my daughter. I wanted something that had apps that she'd get something out of now, not two years from now, and I didn't want to shell out $100 for something she'd slam on the floor and break within a week.

While browsing on Walmart.com yesterday, I found an Innotab 2 Baby. It is recommended for children as young as 12 months and has a protective cover and apps for babies. It's designed for children as old as age 9, so it will "grow" with her, and its price is $10 cheaper than the regular Innotab 2. Whoo hoo! With glee, I put one in my online cart and continued browsing the site to see if there was anything else I wanted to buy.

After about 20 minutes, the site messaged me that the Innotab was now sold out online, and when I checked to see if it was available in local stores, the site said no. I was annoyed, but at this point, only mildly so. "I've got backups," I thought.

First I tried Amazon.com, which had them available only through third-party sellers who had them priced at $125, a full $36 above what Walmart.com had them for. I moved on to Target.com, which didn't have them at all. On the manufacturer's website, I learned the toy is a Walmart exclusive.

So that left eBay. I saw dozens, all of which were much more pricey, some as high as $155 for a "Buy it Now." Bring on the crazy.

I was furious as I imagined that the Amazon and eBay sellers were people who bought stockpiles of InnoTab 2 Baby tablets specifically to profit off of people like me, moms who really, really, really wanted their child to have one. I did not want to give in and let the imagined profiteers bilk me out of an extra $35 or more, so I decided to wait. If nothing else, I told myself, I could likely get the toy in a few months at Walmart. Having to wait, though, frustrated the crap out of me.

My husband could tell I was mad, probably because I was mumbling under my breath and sitting with my arms crossed, and because he's a good husband, he sprang into action. On Walmart's website, he saw other customers had found the InnoTab 2 Baby in their local stores even though the website had said it wasn't available there. He passed this info on to me.

"Let's go!" I said.

"Huh? Now?" he said.

"Yes," I answered, and out the door we went.

Half an hour later, I had an InnoTab 2 Baby in hand, my husband was on the receiving end of a big, big hug, and I had put Crazy Mommy to rest ... for now.

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