Shoppers Find Furby Online--But at a Price

The hot toy this holiday season is Furby, Tiger Electronics Inc.'s animatronic toy that reacts to touch and speaks its own language. But like last year's scramble for Tamagotchis and the buzz over Tickle Me Elmo in 1996, the laws of holiday supply and demand are putting the crimp on Furby-hungry consumers.

Earlier this fall, Tiger admitted it wouldn't produce enough dolls to "ensure the holiday demand," said company President Roger Shiffman. "We don't want to be too overconfident and flood the market."

Tiger Electronics, a division of Hasbro Inc., began showing the talking, shaking Furby earlier this year at the American International Toy Fair in New York. The company began distributing the dolls nationwide in September, and the media frenzy followed soon after.

Frazzled parents already are striking out at most retail outlets. So many shoppers, hoping to take advantage of crowd-free malls on the World Wide Web, are scouring the Net and newsgroups like alt.toys.furby for sightings of the chatty toy. But even there, consumers are striking out--unless they're willing to pay.

CyberShop's EGift site, which placed large Furby orders with Tiger Electronics earlier this year, is profiting from its foresight. Furby's price tag--a whopping $92.96.

And over at online auction sites EBay and Yahoo Auctions, Furby owners gleefully watch as bidders blast past the toy's $30 retail price and offer $75 or more. One doll, a rare all-black Furby in a sealed box, was sold for $1,001.10 last week.

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