Last month our sales team was in town for a two-day meeting. As we adjourned at the end of the first day and headed to our dinner destination, one of our salespeople got a call from her daughter. She was trying to convince her Mom to let her purchase a much-desired Webkinz on eBay. I said, "A what?" I pride myself in being pretty hip with the latest fads, although Heelys took me by surprise, but I hadn't heard of these Webkinz thingies.
According to this Mom, these stuffed animals are the latest craze. Sold in small gift shops and Hallmark stores, you purchase your Webkinz, then use the secret code to access a whole world online. Once you "adopt" your pet and give it a name, you then spend time on the site playing games and earn KinzCash so you can shop for toys, furniture, and clothes for your pet. A pretty ingenious way to use an old standard, the stuffed animal, and a new medium, the internet, to engage a salivating audience of young 'uns.
I loved stuffed animals as a kid. Shoot, I still do. So, this whole Webkinz madness is intriguing to even me, an adult. It's interesting to see how toys have evolved over the year. I thought pulling a string and hearing Mrs. Beasley talk was fantastic, but she's old news these days. These virtual stuffed pets are slowly becoming the new Cabbage Patch Kid or Beanie Baby it appears, and if a kid can go online to join the Webkinz Clubhouse, they can probably navigate a bidding war on Ebay to nab the elusive pet they desire.
Maybe I'll indulge one day and get one just for grins. It sure beats the old, boring pet rock I had.