Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: Zhu Zhu Pets? Will this save the hamsters?


Zhu Zhu Pets? Will this save the hamsters?

During my Friday shift at Meijer (for all of you West Coast folks, think a Super Target), I was asked by a customer if we had Zhu Zhu Pets in stock. I consulted my co-worker to see if those toys were in stock and she told me, with a sigh of relief, that Meijer was out of stock and not planning to carry anymore until the holidays. Me, being the mid-20s young adult out of sync with the newest toy trends, decided to find out what the heck these were, as my co-worker described them as "robotic hamsters."

Sure enough, I logged onto the Zhu Zhu Pets website and saw these fuzzy pill things that supposedly resembled hamsters. These pills on wheels were battery operated, noisy robotic rodents that had their own tracks, running balls, cars and hiding holes. The hamsters could even be tucked in for the evening to go to sleep. Really?

I mean, I can see why parents would want to buy one of these toys for their kids for [insert over-secularized holiday and/or birthday here]. Batteries are a much cleaner substitute than poo, pee, and eventually, burials and/or dispatch of remains by porcelain commode. These things don't bite, but it seems like they don't do much else, either. When the kids will eventually put them aside for the next big thing, you won't have to continue supporting the fuzzies' lives until they eventually venture to the giant rodent wheel in the sky. These Zhu Zhu Pets will go to the storage bin until the next yard sale (or if you're my parents, next to the 70s clothes, bootleg copies of Richard Simmons' "Sweatin' to the Oldies," and my dog's ashes where they will never be heard from again - they don't believe in throwing anything away).

But, there's something missing...oh yes, spontaneity! Fuzzy, my hairless rat, doesn't fail to surprise me with a new trick or a place to hide. Sure I have to deal with animal waste and eventually, having to say goodbye, but I do value the fact that he makes me smile when I'm grumpy.

I totally wouldn't spend $55 on a pair of motorized hamsters (accessories not included). The organic ones are far more pleased with sunflower seeds, natural plant fiber fluff, a strawberry every now and then, and a toilet paper tube to rip apart. Hell, if I had my way, forget the hamsters and go for the rats; they're so much smarter and sweeter anyway.

I have unofficially declared these toys the "Tickle-Me-Elmo" of 2009. If I am scheduled to work on Black Friday this year, I will definitely see how insane parents will be to get these for their spawn. Pet stores, you have been spared for now; cuteness is now a fur pill of electricity and its name isn't Pikachu.

I think I'll pull my Power Rangers and Gargoyles action figures out of storage and play with those for a few minutes to relive the good old days.