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People encouraged to shop early amid predicted toy shortage for some hot items

Toy Store
Posted at 5:33 AM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 11:10:53-05

(WXYZ) — We've been warning of a possible toy shortage for months now due to pandemic-related shipping delays.

The good news is we're not going to run out of toys. The bad news is that some specific toys are already hard to find.

Related: Amid toy shortages & shipping delays, many retailers offering early holiday shopping deals

As toy inventory is still rolling in, a recent trip to Target in Southfield found a few bare spots on the shelves.

At Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy in St. Clair Shores, they have plenty of stock. But, Mary Maniaci and her mother are still striking out in search of some gifts.

"How many toys have you not been able to find?" I asked.

"So far, only two. Specifically, a Playmobil Advent Calendar and then a Bluey toy that they’re really, really looking forward to," she said.

Another toy is Squishmallows — a sought-after collectible among many kids and young adults.

“Everyone’s just been buying a lot of them. Even people who buy one specific one, and they’ll buy a bunch of them," said Destinee Watson, an employee at Whistle Stop who also collects Squishmallows.

She said she's been able to find them at Kroger and Walgreens, but they sell out fast.

What's driving the popularity? Tik Tok videos from Squishmallow collectors like 22-year-old Iyla O'Connor of St. Clair Shores. Now the huggable, squeezable, soft toys are all the rage.

Julie Everitt, the co-owner of Whistle Stop, said they are seeing some changes with the orders. Her family started ordering holiday toys back in February.

“Double what we normally would [order] just to be safe. And we’re noticing we’re getting half the orders – lots of backorders," she said.

The good news is that toys are showing up, but they're taking longer.

Pokemon cards are still hard to get.

There are also shortages in the popular TY Plus toys — especially the Beanie Boos.

The count for some items is already down to single digits. There's only one more GUND Toca Life plush toy left at this store.

The in-demand Nee Doh balls are also sold out at the moment Everitt said, but she added that the super popular Pop Fidgety toys are in stock.

So, if you can't find a particular sensory toy for your child, there are plenty of other fun options that are in that same wheelhouse.

Those who are shopping earlier might be able to find all the toys on their list. Inventory is still coming in all the time at many stores; shipments are just taking longer.

Everitt said one toy, the Melissa and Doug toys, used to ship within a week of an order. Now, it's taking a good month to get them in.