Updated: November 05, 2021 03:11 PM
Created: November 04, 2021 05:18 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Experts say the time to start is yesterday.
For months I've been telling you about how supply chain issues are affecting our lives. We’ve seen shortages of everything from toys to toilet paper. So I conducted an experiment. I compiled a list of 10 of the hottest toys that were $100 or less. I wanted to know if I could find them, and more importantly, would they arrive on time.
Those are certainly the questions for parents this year. I chatted with the parents during a visit to the Rochester Museum & Science Center. I asked them whether they’d started their holiday shopping.
“No, not quite,” said Jibriel Strader, a father of four. “I probably will this week though."
That would be a good idea, Dad, especially this year. A confluence of COVID-caused crises have created chaotic scenes at ports across the country. On News10NBC we’ve shown viewers video of products stuck at ports exacerbating shortages on the shelves.
"Is there anything specific that you're looking for?” I asked Strader. “Well, if I say it, then they would hear me,” he said laughing. “I don't want to give anything away to these guys!"
He said his 4-year-old son, Noah, who has his heart set on one toy, and he’s not been able to find it.
"Ah Walmart's out,” he said shaking his head. A lot of places are out because it's a really popular toy."
And that's what I found in my search for the top ten toys for toddlers through teens. First, I had to compile a list, an incredibly challenging task. While retailers create their own top toy lists, I found toys included that were targeted for niche markets, toys the retailer was trying to sell. I wanted to include truly popular toys this year. So I searched not only the lists created by Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Amazon, I also studied lists by toy reviewers like The Toy Insider, Business Insider and The Today Show.
I looked for toys that appeared on the lists of multiple retailers, toy reviewers, and social media sites. News10NBC has no relationships and I was not influenced by any retailer or manufacturer. Here’s my Top 10 and the retailers that currently have the items in stock:
These toys didn’t make my top ten list, but I couldn’t write this story without mentioning them:
The toy buying took hours because so many sites didn’t have the toy or third-party sellers had it and were selling it for astronomical prices.
I'll start with the good news. The toys I found arrived early or on time. That’s because I avoided the rush and ordered on Oct. 20.
Here's the bad news: Many were hard to find. I either had to settle for a similar toy or I couldn’t find it at all. If you’re looking for a specific toy, you have to be willing to broaden your search beyond the retail giants. The smaller online sites with less traffic may have it. The hockey set for half price at Zulily is an example. And we have to be flexible. Look for last year’s edition of that toy. Lastly, keep your confirmation numbers. This year, shipping problems are more likely as Christmas nears.
There’s little doubt that holiday shopping is harder this year. It’s a good time to remind ourselves that the real reason for the season is not what we find under the tree.
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