10 Holiday Gifts That Caused Riots (Black Friday Fights)

10 Holiday Gifts That Caused Riots (Black Friday Fights)


Welcome to Top10Archive! Can you believe that it’s almost that time
again? Time to string up the lights, place the angel
atop the tree, and steamroll your way through the lines at Wal-Mart to get this year’s must-have
item. To kick off this holiday season, we’re shopping
for the top 10 gifts that sparked holiday madness. 10. Mr. Potato Head
Who would have thought a smiling, anthropomorphic potato would make for the perfect Christmas
gift? In the 1940’s, toy inventor George Lerner
apparently did, which is why he thought to shove body parts into fruits and vegetables
to create goofy little people. By 1952, Hasbro was ready to bring Lerner’s
crazy idea to life and, wouldn’t you know, being the first televised children’s toy,
the response was impressive. During its first holiday, 7 months after its
initial release, parents flocked to stores to pick up the toy that their children had
been clambering about for months. 9. Beanie Babies
They may have been tiny but Beanie Babies certainly left a lasting impression on children. So much so that, 3 years after their initial
release, Ty, Inc. still had trouble fulfilling orders. Released in Chicago in 1993, Beanie Babies
didn’t reach nationwide fame until 1995. The incredible response to Beanie Babies carried
over into the 1995 and 1996 holiday seasons, sending parents and kids alike into a tailspin. Ty couldn’t keep up with the demand and made
the craze a little worse by retiring some of the current collection. In the height of Beanie Babies madness, retailers
were running out and some kids were left disappointed Christmas morning when they received socks
instead of their treasured Beanie. 8. Zhu Zhu Pets
You all remember why everybody went crazy for Zhu Zhu Pets during the 2009 holiday season,
right? Anybody? Believe it or not, this now lesser known plaything
was a massive draw for children during the 2009 Christmas season. The robotic hamster is a product of Cepia
LLC and, while they’re still sold today, they don’t quite have the same draw as they did
the year of their United States release. As with most holiday gifts, Black Friday was
a big day for Zhu Zhu shopping and people were so crazed about purchasing one that the
Times Square Toys ‘r Us was forced to create two lines of customers: one for general and
one for Zhu Zhu shoppers. 7. Atari VCS
Hang around your elders enough and you’ll hear a tale of an archaic game system that
– get this – didn’t have 3D graphics or online multiplayer! Oh, the horror! Sure, the Atari VCS (later renamed Atari 2600)
may not appeal to the current generation’s love for flashy colors and intricate detailing,
but when it released in 1977 in the North American market, it was all the craze. After a slow start, children and adults wound
up loving the microprocessor-based hardware so much that, by 1979, it became the best-selling
Christmas gift. Of course, you don’t earn the title of best-selling
Christmas gift without a few broken hearts – and limbs – being left in the wake. 6. Xbox 360
Leave it to people to completely ruin something that’s supposed to be fun and bring joy to
someone. Enter the Xbox 360, Microsoft’s second gaming
console and the latest thing to hit the market in 2005. Facing a massive demand and a release date
so close to Black Friday, Microsoft seemingly underestimated its ability to meet consumer
need and left many customers out in the cold. Making matters worse were opportunists that
were snatching up multiple systems and selling them on eBay at incredibly high markups. It took several months, but eventually the
360 became readily available, but it had already left a black mark on the holidays of many
disappointed kids. 5. PlayStation 3 / Nintendo Wii
A year after Microsoft’s Xbox 360 holiday debacle, Sony, and Nintendo joined the 7th
generation of consoles with the PlayStation 3 and Wii consoles. With time to watch where Microsoft faltered
during its launch, one would think that either company would better prepare themselves for
the 2006 holiday release of their system, especially since both companies launched their
product right before Black Friday. The ratio of supply versus demand was so off
kilter that neither company was able to completely fulfill preorders, leaving some customers
to wait until after the holiday before receiving their system. Like the 360, the market was marred by greed
as systems were snatched up with the sole purpose of taking advantage of the holiday
rush. 4. Air Jordans
How do you guarantee your product is going to cause some holiday madness? You release it 2 days before Christmas. Such was the case for Nike’s release of the
Air Jordan 11 Retro “Concord” on December 23rd, 2011. With people madly in love with the Air Jordan
brand – or at least with the profit they’re able to turn by reselling them – Nike was
setting retailers up for disaster with such a last minute holiday release, and disaster
they got. In Seattle, Washington, fueled by too much
eggnog and greed, shoppers caused a small riot that led to at least 20 people being
pepper sprayed by local authorities. The frenzy wasn’t just in the northwest, either,
as incidents were also reported in Indiana, Florida, Virginia, and Texas. 3. Furby
Nowadays, Furbys are a novelty gift, but when they were released in 1998 by Tiger Electronics,
they were the “next big thing.” The small, robotic alien ball of fluff and
penetrating eyes was revered for its ability to appear to learn English over time. While its main feature was mostly a gimmick,
people ate the concept up and became rabid over making sure there was a Furby waiting
under their tree. During the 1998 holiday season, specifically
on Black Friday, mobs of people sought out the pointy-eared robot, leading to stampedes
like the one in Bentonville, Arkansas that left shoppers Donna Marie Unangst and Judy
Roccosanto battered and bruised. 2. Tickle Me Elmo
Could Sesame Streets’ red-furred Elmo ever be behind a craze so maddening that it drove
people to completely disregard their fellow man? As innocent as the big-eyed puppet may seem,
the answer is unequivocally “yes!” During the 1996 holiday season, Tyco Preschool
released an intoxicating Elmo doll that giggled and shook when squeezed, as if being tickled. Unaware that such a simple concept would spark
a frenzy of shoppers and after an unprompted plug from Rosie O’Donnell boosted demand,
Tyco was ill-prepared for the holiday season. The craze was two-fold: You had parents who
absolutely wanted to surprise their kids and then you had people looking to make a quick
substantial buck. Elmos were being sold second-hand for astronomical
gouges, upwards of thousands of dollars. Fights broke out and people were arrested
during the hysteria caused by a simple red doll. 1. Cabbage Patch Kid
The doll that started it all. A simple mix of plastic and fabric that took
the 80’s by storm, raining a hail of angry shoppers and desperate parents on retailers
across America. As you could probably guess, not everybody
that wanted one got a Cabbage Patch Kid for Christmas when they released in 1983. The doll was in such short supply that retailers
resorted to holding lotteries to pick which lucky families left with the prize. Those not lucky enough to win their own Cabbage
Patch Kid weren’t shy in taking matters into their own hands. Brawls broke out across many retailers, leading
to shop owners brandishing baseball bats for protection. If a parent didn’t resort to violence, then
chances are they tried to bribe employees.

23 thoughts on “10 Holiday Gifts That Caused Riots (Black Friday Fights)

  1. The Tickle Me Elmo craze was nothing like that in the UK. They had plenty on the shelves to meet demand and parents could easily get them – still have mine today somewhere!

  2. My parents have told me the story about how my sister and I wound up with one of our Cabbage Patch Kids. They were at a toy store to pick one up that was in layaway or something, and the clerks began throwing them at the shoppers. I still don't know how we managed to end up with four of them (plus two Preemies). I can just see these people grabbing the box, and racing for the checkout like the little guy on the Heisman trophy (Look It Up, Dear)

  3. So people are now fighting and killing for garbage gifts that they will give to stupid children (not even for themselves lol) that will stop playing with it after 1-2 months.

    Yep totally worth it

  4. The 360 craze is not meant to be spoken of
    I know several victims of it
    I got mine the Christmas after, and it opened my eyes to the wonders of video games
    Wonder I still experience a decade after
    On the topic of the Wii, I actually had one of the very first ones ever made
    My grandmother won it from a radio call sweepstakes, so I had it before it technically came out
    Saved my parents their limbs
    I knew a couple people who got shafted with the Wii thing, so they came over to my house to play it for a few months until they got one
    Trade-off was I got to play their PS3

  5. Kids today have it easy. Online shopping? Pfft. Not in the 90s. It was blood, sweat, and tears or no Furby for you.

  6. Oh man, those stupid zhu zhu pets. I worked at Target during this craze and people were such a-holes. We had a limit of 2 per customer and people would flip their shit over this policy (hey, be happy that you even managed to grab any at all for how quickly they went!)

    Nowadays, I see these things in thrift stores. 🙄

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  8. Not surprised Number 1 was Cabbage Patch Kids. I was too young to remember the riots, but according to my parents, the people in the layaway department were throwing them at the crowds.
    EDIT: I forgot to mention, I still have that doll. How my sister and I ended up with four of them back then, I'll never know!

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