Hordes of adults rioting in decent Fredericton over a kid’s toy in short supply at 3 am? Toy scalpers selling a modestly priced toy for thousands of dollars? The Tickle Me Elmo craze of 1998 not only demonstrated a few basic points about economics and human nature; it also highlighted various issues regarding out modern economic state.
Manufacturing Tickle Me Elmo
Tickle Me Elmo is a cute kid’s toy. Based on Elmo of Sesame Street fame, he is essentially a fabric plush toy with an imbedded micro-chip. A poke to his cute belly elicits a giggle and a “Don’t tickle me” response. Fabric, microchip and labor in a cheap Asian assembly plant probably combine with royalties to put his cost a few dollars at the top end. Why then were adults, who should have known better, waiting in line, grasping, pushing and even offering thousands of dollars in their frenzy to buy “Tickle Me Elmo” for their kids’ Christmas present?