Every holiday shopping season is plagued by at least one ridiculous fad, and Fingerlings are the latest toy to sweep the nation. Parents and kids around the country have been suckered into the Fingerlings toy craze, but where did fingerlings come from in the first place? Are they nothing more than a bunch of kids toys, or is there something more sinister behind their adorable exteriors and fuzzy hairdos?
For those readers who are out of the loop, Fingerlings are miniature, animatronic puppets that can move, vocalize, and even respond to user actions. The little animals are tiny enough to grip onto a child's finger and can be worn as well as played with like any other toy. They come in many colors, and there are even a few different species of Fingerling. These peculiar and ridiculous finger puppets have an interesting background.
They're Selling Out Across The Country
Christmas shopping can be hell on Earth for parents looking to acquire the hottest new item of the season. Malls and toy stores are packed to the brim with desperate adults trying to make their children's dreams come true. But Fingerlings sold out so quickly that many parents went home empty handed.
Like many toys before them, Fingerlings have experienced a surge in popularity so great that the manufacturer simply couldn't keep up with the demand. Retail stores like Walmart and Toys"R"Us couldn't keep these tiny primates on the shelves for more than a few hours at a time, and online outlets experienced similar Fingerling shortages.
Scalpers Sold Fingerlings Online For Enormous Amounts Of Money
When demand skyrockets for any product, there are always people looking to make a quick buck. Anticipating the lack of supply, scalpers around the world started buying Fingerlings en masse to sell at insanely inflated prices. While the toys only cost about $15 at the store, on sites like eBay, people were selling Fingerlings for as much as $5,000 a pop.
Not only were people shelling out enough money to pay off a decent chunk of, say, a lightly used but reliable mid-sized sedan for a glorified finger puppet, but some people actually got scammed. Third-party retailers on Amazon sold knock-off Fingerlings as the real deal, and many unsuspecting parents got caught up in the hustle. Fraudulent sales became so prolific that WowWee, the toy company responsible for Fingerlings, had to file a lawsuit against more than 150 counterfeiters.
They Were Deliberately Created To Go Viral
Everything about Fingerlings' appearance is intended to make them viral, from their adorable faces to their bountiful farts. The design was not a mistake; 28-year-old creator Sydney Wiseman admits that the goal was always to create a viral toy. "Our days are spent literally surfing online seeing things... that have viral potential," says Wiseman. WowWee makes a point to scour the web for trends they can turn into profitable products. "When things get shared all the time... that means there's something there that resonates with a larger audience. So we're always looking for those types of things that we can really play on — no pun intended."
They're Basically Just Glorified Finger Puppets
When you examine a Fingerling, it's hard to decipher exactly what it is about the toy that has made it so popular. They are little more than high-tech finger puppets that can move and respond to certain commands. They're not much more satisfying than fidget spinners, and one can imagine that the appeal might wear off after a few minutes of play. Still, the cute exterior and brilliant marketing of these tiny apes has had a massive effect on consumers everywhere.