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Dec. 11, 1996: Edmonton shoppers hunt for Tickle Me Elmo

The hot toy for Christmas, Tickle Me Elmo, had parents searching local stores to find the elusive red plush animal.

An Edmonton Zellers store had a strict one-Elmo-per-customer rule

On Dec. 11, 1996, the Tickle Me Elmo doll was in high demand leading one store to impose a strict one-Elmo rule, when it was in stock. 1:45

The hot toy for Christmas, Tickle Me Elmo, had parents searching local stores to find the elusive red plush animal.

An Edmonton Zellers store imposed a one-Elmo-per-customer rule to help more customers get their hands on the laughing, shaking toy.
Tickle Me Elmo was the must-have toy of 1996 and was in short supply. (CBC)

The policy helped Barb Wilkinson pick up an Elmo for her son.

"I was just in the right place at the right time and a woman turned around and said, 'Here do you want this Elmo?'" Wilkinson said.
Barb Wilkinson holds her Tickle Me Elmo, a toy she felt lucky to get. (CBC)

At the same store, one desperate parent offered a worker $200 for the toy.

The Tickle Me Elmo frenzy never saw the violence as the Cabbage Patch Kids craze of the 1980s, but kids still wanted Elmo under the tree that year.

These days, Tickle Me Elmo is making a bit of a comeback with a redesign. The new Elmo sells for around $25 and is in stock at most stores.

In the video, CBC's Rosalind Robertson catches up with shoppers looking for Tickle Me Elmo in a local Zellers.

About the Author

John Zazula

Associate Producer

John Zazula is an associate producer at CBC and has been with the Corp. for more than 15 years. As a lifelong Edmontonian, John brings that experience to the job.