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A little furball, a big frenzy

By Waltrina Stovall / Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News
Published 12-02-1998
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Furby, the interactive furball from Hasbro, has become the hot, hard-to-find toy of this holiday season. That, as you've probably read or heard on the news, leads to frenzied lines at department and toy stores. But what you may not know is that the Furby frenzy has also led to: 
 

* Ballooning prices on the secondary market. The number of Dallas Morning News classified ads offering Furbys for sale now outnumbers those for Beanie Babies. The asking prices - for a toy that normally retails at $29.99 - range from $125 to $1,000. 
 

* A backlash. Though the toy has been out only a month, there are at least three Furby-unfriendly sites on the Internet. 
 

Last week, there were three classified ads for Furby; early this week there were almost three dozen. At least some of the ads were placed by novice toy sellers. 
 

"I've never done anything like this before," says Marty Roberts, a 29-year-old audio engineer who was one of the early advertisers. 
 

He got eight Furbys at the regular price from a distributor for a chain store, then placed a two-line ad offering them at $150 each. Mr. Roberts, who lives in Addison, says he got about 90 calls in the first few days. 
 

"Some people tried to get me to lower the price, then 10 minutes later they'd call back and say they would pay the full amount," he says. "Some callers just wanted my address so they could get over and get one before anyone else got there." 
 

Teresa Fuston of Mesquite says she had a hunch Furbys would be hot, so when they first hit the stores in late October, she rounded up 30. She's keeping one for her 5-year-old daughter, Hailey; she sold two through relatives at $700 each, and for the others, she's asking $800 firm. 
 

Her ad found three takers at the $800 price; a fourth "stood me up at the mall where we were supposed to meet," says Ms. Fuston, 25, who deals in real estate. 
 

Profits from the Furbys will go to her daughter's special medical needs, she says, and she will also make a donation to a children's charity. 
 

The ad placed this week by Regina Lee of Roxton, Texas (outside Paris), gives an 800 number and notes payment for her $350 Furbys can be made by credit card. 
 

However, Ms. Lee, who describes herself as a homemaker, says her venture into the Furby secondary market is a one-time thing. She started with about 50 Furbys, acquiring some off the Internet and others " by standing in line at Wal-Mart at 3:30 in the morning." 
 

She first sold them for $250, she says, and she may drop her prices soon. "You get a lot more calls at $250." 
 

Furbys are going for about $100 each on Ebay and Yahoo auction sites (ebay.com and auctions.yahoo. com), though so-called "rare" Furbys, such as all-black or all-white ones, may bring $200 or more. 
 

One Furby skyrocketed to $2 million on the Yahoo site, possibly in response to the seller's ardent request that no one post "joke bids." The item disappeared from the auction list before its allotted time was up. 
 

And Furby seems to have spawned backlashes faster than Barney can sing "I love you." 
 

One Web site called Furby Autopsy (phobe.com/furby/) gives step- by-step instructions on how to dismember the toy. It warns that "doing so will most likely void its warranty." 
 

Assassinate Furby reports that most visitors to the Web site (newgrounds.com/assassin/ furbybrief.html) think the best way to dispose of a Furby is in the microwave. No warning is given on what that might do to your oven. 
 

Stomp Furby (geocities.com/ Area51/Realm/4955/) is taking votes on whether to stomp or save Furby; with almost 300,000 votes cast early this week, the vote was running two to one in favor of stomping. 
 

For parents desperate to find a Furby for Christmas, a recorded message from Tiger Toys, a division of Hasbro, urges patience. "We are shipping Furbys every day across the country," the message says. 
 

Stores it lists as carrying the toy include Kmart, Sears, Target, Toys 'R Us, Wal-Mart and Montgomery Ward. 
 

Then again, you might wait until after Christmas. They could even be on sale then. 
 

PHOTO(S): (The Dallas Morning News: Amy E. Conn) 2 Furbys (The
Dallas Morning News: Joe Stefanchik) Teresa Fuston of Mesquite, 
 

shown with daughter Hailey, bought 30 Furbys when the toy first 
 

came out. She is selling them at an asking prive of $800 each. 
 
 
 
 
 

1998 The Dallas Morning News All Rights Reserved

Waltrina Stovall / Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News, A little furball, a big frenzy., 12-02-1998, pp 1C.

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      1998 The Dallas Morning News