With just over two weeks to go until Christmas, Heartland stores are filled with parents shopping for those must-have items on their kids' wish lists. But this year, many are finding that the hottest toys are high-tech, and high-priced.
The hottest toys seem to be the latest video game systems, like the X-Box, the Nintendo Game Cube, and Sony Playstation 2. But parents go into the store expecting to pay a high price for those high-performance gifts. They say it's not the video games, but all the other high-tech, high-priced toys that are catching them by surprise.
"A remote control car is around twenty-nine dollars," says an incredulous Vickie Rhodes of Zalma. "And that is for one of the less expensive ones!" Shawn Lynch, of Cape Girardeau, quotes ninety-eight dollars for an electronic boxing toy his son has his eye on. And Denise Jackson says, "You can't find a good, cheap toy for ten-dollars anymore that's gonna last them through the holidays."
It's not that children's wish lists have changed this year, but that technology has simply caught up with some old favorites. If a child's list has a baby doll, a book, and a stuffed animal on it, parents could end up with a doll that cries, a computerized book that reads itself, and a stuffed animal that talks. Easily, those three items could cost 150-dollars!
But those high prices aren't keeping toys on the shelves, driving some shoppers across the Heartland to track them down.
"I'd have never found this in Poplar Bluff," says Debbie Vandergriff as she holds up a much-desired Batman toy. Vandergriff drove all the way to Cape Girardeau to track it down. "They have some things in Poplar Bluff, but Toys R Us has more of a selection."
But despite the scavenger hunts, and the high-tech prices, these shoppers all agree that in the end, it's worth every bit.
"When they open their presents and go, "Oh wow!," it's worth it," says Denise Jackson. Shawn Lynch smiles wide as he seconds that opinion. "It is worth it, because on Christmas when you see their smiles and all the excitement...it's cool. I like it."