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A Local Venture To The “Island Of Misfit Toys”

Utica, NY (WIBX) – By now, everyone knows what toys are popular this year, with Lalaloopsy and Fijit (pronounced Fidget) joining the ranks of fad toys including Furby, Elmo and the Pet Rock.

But what about toys that aren’t living up to their potential anymore? Where do they go, once their day in the limelight has come and gone? In most cases, it’s the clearance aisle.

“Bulk ride-ons I can’t seem to get rid of to save my life,” one toy manager at Wal-Mart said. “Black Friday, I had a sale on ride-ons and sold zero. So, if they don’t sell on the biggest shopping day of the year, that’ll be an indicator of how they’re selling now.”

His section of the store sees heavy foot traffic this time of year, but some aisles get less love than others. Naturally, when it comes to gifts, the more interactive and electronic a product is, the better. Leapfrog LeapPads, along with Leapfrog Explorers fly off the shelves, leaving TinkerToys to sit and fend for themselves.

In addition, expensive toys, like bulk ride ons, don’t sell. Remote control cars have also been replaced, mostly by cheaper, and more exotic, remote control helicopters. Loud toys have also been pushed aside.

“Winter’s approaching,” he said. ”So, what are you going to do with the 200 pound, 1 and 1/3 scale Jeep Liberty in your living room for the next six months? I mean, it looks pretty, but you can’t crank that bad boy up to two and half miles per hour in the kitchen. So, why buy it?”

According to him, more people are going back in time, grabbing nostalgic toys, including the Etch-A-Sketch, Slinkies and Lincoln Logs. Other toys, like Barbie, also remain popular.

Steve Martinez, the assistant store manager for the K-Mart in New Hartford, agrees. He says expensive items are not selling like they used to, but the reason for the change in toy tastes is simple.

“People still haven’t gotten their jobs and there’s been a lot of unexplained tax cuts, that people aren’t getting the money they used to get,” Martinez said. ”So, we atribute a lot to that.”

On the bright side, Martinez mentioned that Christmas toy sales have remained steady, and that there has been an uptick in sales of other holiday items, including trees, lights and other decorations.

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