The week before Thanksgiving my husband and I took our kids to the store so they could make their Christmas wish list. They each created their lists and my youngest got his hands on the newest in the LeapFrog line: a LeapPad Explorer.

Stock photo

I loved the product, and since there was a stack of about 12 of them on the shelf at Target, I decided I’d grab him one the next week.

Then Thanksgiving hit and the words “Toy of the Year” were mumbled by some marketing genius and there were no LeapPads anywhere. I was constantly checking WalMart, Amazon, Target, Barnes and Nobel, Best Buy, Sears, Toys R Us, or even

Anyone who knows me knows I had two immediate thoughts:

1. It’s just a toy. He does not need it.

2.Was that “will not find it” directed at me? I accept your challenge! I will not be denied the thrill of getting the must-have gadget just because no one has it in stock. No is not an option. I will hold it in my hand and sing victoriously from the tallest mountain that I, Jamie Anne Richardson, accomplished the impossible! (Insert evil laugh here.)

Hey, I’m a little competitive, what can I say?

I have therefore spent the last couple of weeks calling, stalking, and checking every chain and small store that had ever carried an educational toy. I signed up for every newsletter, in-stock alert website, and friended every company on Facebook in hopes of grabbing one somewhere.

I learned early in my hunt that holiday employees at brick and mortar stores are pretty much idiots, and my best bet would be online. I did, however, find several of the various impacel’s comments quite humorous including:

  • “No, ma’am, what you are really wanting is the Leapster Explorer. The LeapPad Explorer is old. We have lots of Leapsters Explorers though.”
  • “Yes, ma’am we have tons of LeapPads. Yes, I’ll go grab one and put your name on it.”    (long pause with various annoying Christmas tunes)  “Oh, no, it appears that we are sold out.”
  • “There will be a whole case on the shipment tonight. Just come by the store in the morning.”  Followed the next morning by, “I don’t know who told you that, but we aren’t expected any more of those.”
  • “We do not have a waiting list”  followed the next day by, “seventeen of them came in last night, but we have a waiting list for them. Sorry.”
  • “You know those are like really hard to find, right?”
  • “What department would those be in? Are those, like, TVs or something?”
  • “I’m looking for one of those too. If you find one, will you let me know?”

But today all my work paid off. The confirmation has been emailed and I feel like a million bucks. Honestly, I couldn’t care less about giving it to my son for Christmas (in fact I may just hold on to it for his birthday), but there is some sense in accomplishing what had been deemed to be impossible.

So what about you? Did you accomplish your must-haves? What has been your craziest Christmas “must have” experience?