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Hard-to-find hamster and other shopping challenges this holiday season

Susan Tomsche's daughter really wants a hamster for the Holidays. A hamster; the most popular of all the gifts on all the
/ Source: KARE11.com

Susan Tomsche's daughter really wants a hamster for the Holidays. A hamster; the most popular of all the gifts on all the hot toy lists this year.

""It's the first phone call every single day in toys; did the Zhu Zhu Hamster come in?" Edina Target Toy Team Lead Marybeth Forker explained. "I don't know what it is about this little hamster that has created this craze," she added.

Tomsche's been to 7 Target stores in 7 days, looking for the zooming Zhu Zhu. "I'm a little frustrated because I didn't think it'd be this difficult (to find)," she said. "I did actually get an attachment (a hamster tunnel), but I need a hamster! It won't do any good without a hamster."

Other toys topping most wish lists this year include the Mattel Mindflex (a helmet that measures brain activity), Nerf N' Strike guns from Hasbro, and the 100-pose Barbie Fashionista.

The experts say if you see any of these toys, and your kid wants one, grab it. "I think what's really different this year is we're going in with much lower inventory levels. We thought they were low last year, but they weren't low enough," National retail expert Stacy Janiak of Deloitte explained.

Janiak says stores couldn't get rid of the excess inventory after the last holiday shopping season, and they're not going to make that mistake again, in the current economy. Shoppers could also make a mistake by waiting to buy. "You really have, maybe, just one shot and so there could be a risk that you have some product that you know, you and I go out to find, and we may not be able to find it," Janiak said.