90s, Toys
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The Tickle Me Elmo fad of 1996

When squeezed, Elmo would chortle. When squeezed three times in a row, Elmo would begin to shake and laugh hysterically.

This preschool huggable toy became a massive fad in 1996. No one expected the toy to reach such high popularity. Some parents literally fought other parents in stores to purchase one for Christmas. The dolls’ short supply led stores to increase their price drastically. Before the days of Craigslist, newspaper classifieds sold the plush toy for hundreds. Originally retailed at $28.99USD, the toy was sold for as much as $1500 elsewhere. I always wondered why my brother – a recent high school graduate at the time – was so excited to own this children’s toy. This also explains why no one was allowed to play with it outside of its packaging.

“A clerk (Robert Waller) at a Wal-Mart store in Fredericton, New Brunswick, was among those injured by “Elmo-mania.” During a Midnight Madness sale, a crowd of 300 stampeded down the aisle on December 14, 1996 after spotting him being handed a box of the toys by another employee, he “was pulled under, trampled—the crotch was yanked out of [his] brand-new jeans.” According to People, the clerk “suffered a pulled hamstring, injuries to his back, jaw and knee, a broken rib and a concussion.

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