I grew up in the pre-Elmo era of Sesame Street and had children a decade or so after the 1996 launch of Tickle-Me Elmo, so I was completely befuddled by the avalanche of enthusiasm that gripped society upon the toy's release. Demand for this plaything, which giggled when you tickled it, so outscored supply that in-store arguments were commonplace and at least one New Jersey Wal-Mart employee sustained a concussion and broken rib when 300 customers rushed him for the last Tickle-Me Elmo in stock [source: Oloffson].
Still others capitalized on the situation and enjoyed a financial windfall, selling their prizes online for ridiculous markups. I'm still waiting for the episode of Sesame Street where the furry red monster rolls around in a huge pile of cash, 'cause you know he's been raking it in for quite a long time now! At the very least, he deserves a Rolex or something.