Toys 'R' Us Holiday Reservations: Easy or Cheesy?
Parents can make their toy shopping a little easier this year thanks to Toys "R" Us' new holiday reservation system. Or maybe not.
The company, based in Wayne, N.J., announced on Wednesday a new Hot Toy Reservation system, which will allow parents to reserve any toy on its famed annual Holiday Hot Toy List before Oct. 31.
"The program is designed to provide peace of mind to parents and gift-givers and end frantic searching in the days leading up to Christmas," said Jennifer Albano, spokeswoman for Toys "R" Us. "It's a great program for those who want to plan ahead."
The free reservation system is expected to launch in the coming weeks or days when Toys "R" Us announces its Holiday Hot Toy List, a list of 50 new toys it expects to be the most popular this year.
Parents can visit the customer service desk in stores and pick any of the 50 toys, with certain limits on the quantity of items the customer can reserve, Albano said.
Once the order is available for pick-up, customers will receive an email and will have until Dec. 16 to pick up their order. A 20 percent deposit is required at the time of reservation, but if a customer cancels an order, the deposit is refundable, Albano said.
Albano was tight-lipped about what she expects on this year's Hot Toy List, but she was confident that the list was thoroughly vetted, and that popular toys won't necessarily launch after the reservation deadline of Oct. 31.
Whether Toys "R" Us' new tablet for children, announced earlier this week, will be on the list is yet to be seen.
"We are in 36 countries worldwide. We have a great team of merchants who scour the world for hot toys. We know what's going to be hot," she said.
Meredith Carroll, a writer and blogger for Babble.com, owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News, said such product lists usually try "to get parents up in a frenzy."
"Honestly as a parent, this is the last thing I need," Carroll, 39, said.
Carroll, who has two kids, ages 1 and 4, in Aspen, Colo., said it is unlikely she will do her holiday shopping before Oct. 31.
"Forcing me to go to a store twice is the least convenient thing you can do with two small children," Carroll said.
However, Albano said if a customer is shopping early for the holidays it is likely a toy will be in stock in stores.
The purpose of the program would accommodate items that may be out of stock, "thereby eliminating the need to search around and make extra trips at the store," she said.
And of course, the company's 90 day return policy to reserved items. Though Toys "R" Us typically has a "relaxed" policy during Christmas time for those who shopped early, Albano said.