Toys R Us Names Zhu Zhu Pets Hottest Holiday Toy in 2009

What Can Zhu Zhu Do For You?

Zhu Zhu pets are like this guy, but they aren't alive. However, many thousands of kids don't care. (Photo: flickr.com)

Zhu Zhu pets are like this guy, but they aren't alive. However, many thousands of kids don't care. (Photo: flickr.com)

Retail stores are getting ready for the Christmas shopping season, which means that people who aren’t compulsively early shoppers are getting ready to buy their gifts. If that means getting in touch with personal loan companies to bankroll the whole operation, so be it. What a person decides to do with their money is their own business.

If you’re wondering what the little ones on your Christmas list might be interested in this year, Zhu Zhu Pets appear to be a safe course. According to Toys R Us, that’s going to be the top toy of the 2009 holiday shopping season. For retailers in need of a good holiday season, Zhu Zhu will do for them, too.

Play Me Off, Mr. Squiggles

Don’t let that cat anywhere near Mr. Squiggles and his Zhu Zhu Pets brethren this holiday season. The kids want to keep these toys to themselves. Effectively, they’re pets without the waste products, food needs and tendency to eat homework. For little kids, I don’t see the harm, although older children would be well-served shouldering the responsibility of caring for real hamsters.

Zhu Zhu Pets Getting Hard to Find?

Zhu Zhu Pets like Mr. Squiggles are selling on Amazon for $25.95, but there are reports that Wal-Mart was selling them for as little as $8. Understandably, they’re flying off the shelves at that price. Leave it to Wal-Mart to make toy shopping an operation that doesn’t require personal loan companies.

OK, So What Does Zhu Zhu Do For You?

While it doesn’t teach you about animal husbandry, Zhu Zhu Pets do come with the prerequisite array of bells and whistles. They are programmed to make more than 40 different sound effects and display rudimentary artificial intelligence. You can either watch them zip about the house or place them in one of their accessory play sets (sold separately, of course). Most of the pre-programmed sound effects only come out when Mr. Squiggles or another of the Zhu Zhu Pets is on a play set. They you can hear both kitchen and (wait for it) bathroom noises. Poopless, kiddies – but with the flush.

Retailers Don’t Want to Be Circling the Bowl

This Christmas, there’s a greater focus on consumer value than in recent years. We have the recession to thank for that. Cautious spending tends to rule out huge purchases, so retailers are looking for at smaller hits like Zhu Zhu Pets rather than big toys that have to be cut in price before the public gives them a nibble. Market research firm NPD Group Inc. informed the Columbus Dispatch that last year’s holiday season was marked by a five percent drop in toy sales over the previous year. Needham & Co. sees a further decrease from 2008 to 2009.

I Just Want to Say Good Luck. Mr. Squiggles is Counting on You

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Surely the Zhu Zhu Pets aren’t a serious replacement for real animals, but parents will appreciate not having to clean up after the animatronic replacements. We live busy lives and don’t want to have to contact personal loan companies in order to afford the cavalcade of cleansers needed to make our homes look presentable.

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