Must-have gifts sold for a premium
The pandemic has created a larger scuffle for in-demand gifts this year as both local and national retailers struggle to even get toys on the shelves before they sell out.
Meanwhile, cunning shoppers take advantage of the situation, selling the sold-out goods for a premium online.
The character that best represents the commotion is Baby Yoda (whose name is Grogu, for those who don’t watch The Mandalorian).
One of the hottest toys this season is Hasbro’s animatronic Grogu doll “The Child.” The 7.2-inch-tall figure retails for $59.99, but is out of stock at most stores.
So, eBay and Facebook marketplace has sellers who purchased the toy early selling it for a profit. Last weekend, eBay sellers sold the figurine for up to $140 but most sold at around $80.
A Facebook Marketplace seller in Ventura is asking $90 for her Baby Yoda.
“Any baby yoda toy or action figure, we just can’t keep on the shelf,” said Bob Ficarra, owner of Metro Entertainment. “Star Wars Mandalorian definitely leads the pack. Anything related to that show has been hard to keep in stock.”
His store, located at 6 W Anapamu St. in downtown Santa Barbara, sells comics, toys, games and more. Despite the pandemic’s strain on local businesses, his profits are slightly better than last year.
“Right now, everything is going really really well,” he said.
Because people are staying home, they are buying games, puzzles and collectibles to stay entertained. Sports cards, a product he had dismissed, made a comeback.
And four to five months ago, he noticed a lot of people purchasing Pokemon products.
“We had many people coming off the street that we had never seen before asking about Pokemon. It brought in a whole new resurgence,” he said. “It’s hard to predict what will do well and what doesn’t.”
Unless, of course, it’s game consoles. Many have predicted the popularity of the PlayStation 5 and taken to Facebook Marketplace to sell consoles they pre-ordered.
One local seller, who asked to remain anonymous, knew the PlayStation 5 would be big when Sony revealed the console to the press.
The seller bought over 20 and compiled a spreadsheet to keep track of sales. Most are already sold, and the few left are priced from $850-900 on Facebook Marketplace.
Some have bought the console for themselves, but others have said it’s a gift for a boyfriend or son.
It was a new endeavor, profiting off of a popular game.
“There hasn’t been any other time like this, with the whole COVID situation. It has sort of an overwhelming effect,” the seller said.
The answering machine of the Target in Goleta, at 6865 Hollister Ave., says PlayStation 5 consoles will only be available online. “Our teams are unable to provide item availability at this time,” it says.
The game system, like many other gifts and toys, is unavailable through major retailers.