Tickle Me Elmos Selling for $5,000

ByABC News
October 18, 2006, 6:38 PM

Oct. 19, 2006 — -- Looking for one of those hot, new Tickle Me Elmo 10th Anniversary Edition dolls for the holidays?

You may have some trouble tracking down one of the biggest must-have gifts of the 2006 holiday shopping season in a toy store or even at an online retailer.

But if you're willing to pay a few thousand dollars, there are more than a few sellers at online auction sites like eBay willing to part with theirs -- at least one seller is asking for $5,000 for the little guy.

How about a PlayStation 3, Sony's high-tech video-game console that has video-game junkies drooling even before it's released?

For about $1,500, you can purchase the right to buy one: a preorder someone else placed that won't be sent out until the machine ships on Nov. 17, and for which you'll still have to pony up the $600 ticket price.

That's not to mention the games and other peripherals, and, of course, whether the retialer can fill the preorders it's taken.

It's become a holiday ritual: a couple of products that are in such demand that people are willing to pay almost anything for them -- and do.

Cabbage Patch dolls, Furbie, the Xbox -- for the makers of those items it's hard to find the downside when it means that their products won't stay on store shelves for very long.

The practice is not necessarily illegal, but for customers it can be frustrating, turning holiday shopping into a cutthroat business where it's every man, woman, child and Muppet for themselves.

When someone goes into a toy store, buys up the new shipment of Tickle Me Elmo toys, then waits outside and sells them to desperate parents at prices that would make the little red hairs on the back of Elmo's neck stand on end, who's really getting hurt?

"Nobody's really getting hurt because it's all about supply and demand, and if someone wants something bad enough and is willing to pay more for it then they have a right to do so," said Jim Silver, editor in chief and co-publisher of Toy Wishes Magazine. "The consumer can easily wait until the item is more available."