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Retail "Craze"iness And "Fan"demonium In Retail!

Updated on September 4, 2013
"Missoni" Scarves sold in accessories department.
"Missoni" Scarves sold in accessories department.
A "Missoni"  laptop case.
A "Missoni" laptop case.
Ladies"Missoni" clothing.
Ladies"Missoni" clothing.
"Missoni" ladies shoes.
"Missoni" ladies shoes.
"Cabbage Patch" dolls.
"Cabbage Patch" dolls.
"Tickle Me Elmo"
"Tickle Me Elmo"
"Beanie" babies.
"Beanie" babies.
"Webkinz" plush animals.
"Webkinz" plush animals.
"Power Rangers Megazord."
"Power Rangers Megazord."

One Recent Happening Was "Missoni For Target"

Not too long ago, I heard about items that were for sale at Target stores that had been created and designed by an Italian designer named Missoni. It seemed they HAD a collection of clothing, housewares, stationery items, fashion accessories, shoes and other items that came out one day, and everything was SOLD OUT within hours. The website "crashed" from too many visitors, and most stores were completely sold out of all Missoni items!

This reminded me of the 14 years that I spent working in retail and all of the "Craze-iness" that went with it! Whenever we heard about a "new" "hot" item that was coming out, it was cause to cringe... we knew the first day the item came out, the store would likely be in a state of absolute pandemonium, depending on how popular the item was expected to be.

First of all, we'd park our cars to go to work and see the LINES of people outside of the store waiting for the store to open, so people could be the "first" to get their hands on something popular. After glares and rude comments to us as we walked in (we would have to explain that we WORK there or people would become rude), we would finally make it inside the store.

Once the doors were unlocked at opening time, people would literally RUN down aisles to get to whatever department was carrying what they were looking for. In the case of Missoni items, this would have encompassed the entire store! Then the long lines would start, and people would get pretty impatient waiting. To be honest, I'm glad I missed the Missoni mess... I stopped working there shortly before the Missoni items were featured.

And the rudeness and bad behavior doesn't stop there.. we had always (as employees) heard of instances where someone would turn away from their cart to look at something... and someone else would "snatch" something OUT of the shoppers cart. Then invariably the customer would come to US hoping we could "do something." Usually there was nothing we could do in that case.

If it was a case of a purse being snatched, that was different... they could file a claim with one of our security people. But in the case of someone taking an item to be purchased out of a shopping cart, there was nothing we could do. I had heard stories of people coming to actual "fisticuffs" and fighting over an item, but I personally never saw that. That is something I am very glad I never had to deal with!

Now what I've heard recently is that there is a secondary market for these items on Ebay and Craigslist, and that people are paying up to FIVE times what the items are worth just to GET them! It's hard for me to understand why this happens, but in all my years working in retail, it happens all the time. You check on Ebay or Craigslist hours after something popular has gone on sale, and there they are! Pages and pages of them.

What used to bother me the most was the children's toys that would come out at Christmas time. A child would decide they wanted a "hot" hard to get toy that year, and parents would dutifully line up outside of the store in the cold and dark to be first in the door in case we had gotten another shipment in of the item. These parents would try so hard to get this item for their child without having to resort to a secondary market.

I could totally relate to these parents. Years ago, Power Rangers were the hot, new, hard to find toy and our boys wanted them for Christmas... especially the "Megazord". Now these days, you can find them just about anywhere. But our boys wanted them right when they came out, and we tried (and I was successful) in getting the Power Rangers for them. I totally understand what these parents are going through. And I'm sure it was worth it on Christmas morning to see their little ones eyes light was worth it back when I did it.

It happened again years ago with "Cabbage Patch" dolls, then more recently, with the extraordinarily cute "Tickle Me Elmo," and even "Webkinz" and "Beanie Babies." Now granted, these are VERY cute toys, but I (as an employee) would HATE to see someone buying all that they were allowed to buy and piling them in their cart.

Watch This For Examples Of The Craziness!

Items Would Go To eBay Or Craigslist To Price Gouge Those Who Really Wanted Them

What stockpiling popular items usually meant is that those items were destined for eBay or Craigslist. If a loving parent did not want to disappoint their little one on Christmas morning, they would have no choice other than to pay the outrageous prices! What kind of GREED makes people buy things like this, just to price gouge a parent who simply wants to make their child happy on Christmas morning?

We would see this kind of behavior over and over again... and I imagine it will continue as long as there is money to be made from it. Recently, some retail stores have started limiting the amount of a popular item a person can buy.. but from what I heard about the Missoni items at Target, people were checking out with $2,000 or $3,000 worth of merchandise! You pretty much KNEW it wasn't for themselves, it was destined to go on eBay for the purpose of gouging someone who really WANTED the items.

For example, a blanket-type of throw that had a zigzag design on it (Missoni) originally sold for $39... they were on eBay for $200! And a "travel tote" that retailed for $34 was going for $165. One of the most "hyped" Missoni items was a bike that sold for around $300... later it was going on the secondary market for around $1,500. Now supposedly, Target continued to get small shipments of more Missoni items, Then in October of 2011, they stopped selling them altogether.

I guess as long as their are "crazes" and "hot" hard to get items, this will continue to happen for years to come. But as I've gotten older, I've come to realize that sometimes it just isn't even worth the hassle to get something... I've found that I can do without the item, whatever it is.

Maybe that's why a lot of these items are targeted towards the younger generation... the ones who can be more impulsive with money and "have to have it" right when it comes out. I guess it's true that the older you get, the wiser you get! At least I hope that I've gained a bit of wisdom over the years.


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    • KathyH profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Charlotte! You really do see both extremes of human nature when you work in a public place! :) Thanks for stopping by! :)

    • Charlotte B Plum profile image

      Charlotte B Plum 

      7 years ago

      This was a really interesting read. Although I wish we would behave in a more gracious and civilized way, I can attest that your stories are a true reflection of human nature.


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