I’ve now entered the phase of our family’s life when my kiddo circles toys in the “Toys ‘R Us Big Toy Book” and has some favorites she has seen elsewhere that went on her Christmas list. In fact, when we visited Santa a few weeks ago she wouldn’t tell anyone what she was going to ask for except for Santa himself. Luckily we were able to overhear her request for a Doc McStuffins. Thanks to her Toy Book browsing I knew she wanted the one that talks and comes with Lambie (for those fortunate enough to have no idea what I am talking about, just count your lucky stars and know there are several similar toys on the market). Fast forward a week or two later when things were calm enough for me to try and order this specially requested toy from the North Pole and…….. Out of stock? Sold out? Not available for in-store pick-up? What?
Who knew that my kid had a knack for picking out a toy that was sold out at many/most online retailers? Great. I stopped by a couple common toy sources in my city, but struck out there as well. If it was any other toy I would either say “skip it” or get a different similar toy, but this was the toy she asked Santa for, so it kinda has to be right. Because I was tight on time, I turned the seedy, dirty, and dangerous black market of toy resellers. If I had a ton of time to devote to this search I probably could have located it in a store, but I’ll leave that quest for the 5 star parents, and I will happily sit at my 4 and a quarter star ranking.
I had no problem instantly finding this toy available if I was willing to pay a premium. Some of the mark-ups were insane, but some of them were more tolerable. So, I found one I was comfortable with and didn’t look back. The toy appeared two days later, and Santa will now be able to deliver the special request. Whew.
In addition to thinking that right next to Santa there should be a toy ordering station, I had another idea that could result in earning extra points next holiday season. I know many in the miles and points community are into buying and reselling merchandise in order to take advantage of large shopping portal mileage bonuses and/or to up spending on credit cards, so this seems like a natural fit. Just identify what some of the “hot” toys will be next year early in the season when prices are low and supplies are high. If you aren’t sure what the hot toys will be, just ask to see Little C’s list as I am sure she could identify some of the winners. Buy the toys through a portal to earn as many points as possible, and put them on a credit card where you are working on a minimum spending requirement or just want to earn more valuable points. As an added bonus you also would then have a legitimate business to reference when applying for small business cards.
Before other parents come after me with torches and pitchforks for talking about buying popular toys with the intent of reselling, here is the difference in my proposal. If you are in it mainly for the points, you could keep the mark-up small, and then you are not only helping yourself, but you are helping other parents who wait too long to order the toys directly from the usual sources. I was actually grateful that there was a resell market for that toy as at least I had an option when the normal retailers around me were sold out. Sure I felt like a total tool paying a mark-up for a silly toy, but since it was just one toy, it wasn’t that big of a deal in our overall Christmas budget.
Clearly this points scheme isn’t for everyone, but it struck me that it might be helpful to a few who want to earn more points next holiday season. Just please remember the part about keeping the mark-up small. This is all about the points, right?!
PS. Yes I know that the holidays aren’t all about toys and commercialism (duh, they are also about Christmas trees, music, and lights), no my daughter is not getting anywhere near every toy she circled in the toy book, yes she donated way more than she is getting, and yes Santa is real. Any hate mail referencing any of the above topics will be filed in the appropriate folder. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!