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The Hottest Items on Black Friday back in the 90s

By Christian Roemer

While Black Friday as we know it today is a relatively recent phenomenon, post-Thanksgiving deals have existed for decades. The ever-creeping encroachment of consumerist values on our society have pushed Black Friday store openings earlier and earlier to accommodate frenzied shoppers. Not even the strongest turkey-induced nap can slow us down.

Just because Black Friday is happening earlier and crazier than ever these days, that doesn’t mean there weren’t wild cases of Black Friday insanity in the 90s also. In fact, some of the most brazen, eye-popping product crazes happened when I was but a wee lad.

Here are the 10 Black Friday products that caused uproarious amounts of parental stress in the 90s.

Tickle Me Elmo

In my mind, Tickle Me Elmo is the first true Black Friday product. It sold out almost immediately in stores, creating an entire black market of resellers marking up the price hundreds of percent. Looking back, I still don’t understand why parents wanted to buy this product for their kids so badly, but they did.


Furbies are another toy that I never owned and never understood. That doesn’t mean they weren’t wildly popular. In the late 90s, they were the hottest toy on the market, and they sold out basically everywhere.

Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64 was the first 3D gaming console, and people lined up to get one. Among the first games released were Super Mario 64, Starfox 64, and Waverace, all of which are classics.

13” TV w/ VCR

The ultimate autonomy that a 90s kid could possess is the freedom of having a TV in their room. The problem was, back in the 90s, TVs were heavy, big, and expensive. At the time, you could snag a 13” TV with built-in VCR for about $300. What luxury!

Game Boy Super

The Game Boy is the first successful console for hand-held gaming, and the Game Boy Super improved on the classic design. It featured a colored, backlit screen and tons of classic games. It really changed mobile gaming for forever.

Tamagotchi Pets

Every girl in my 4th grade class had a Tamagotchi pet. If you don’t know what exactly a Tamagotchi pet is, I don’t either. As far as I can tell, it’s a tiny, keychain sized electronic thing with a little imaginary pet that you feed and take care of.

Sony Walkman

Blasting tunes on the go was developed in the 80s, but it was perfected in the 90s. Portable CD players started proliferating, but tape players still reigned supreme. Out of any music player a kid could have, the Walkman was the best.

Beanie Babies

Beanie Babies were basically like trading cards for girls. They were stuffed animals, around 6 inches long, that were filled with beans instead of cotton. They came in all sorts of shapes, colors, and animals, and some people I knew had hundreds of them. They also had a temporary resale market that was fetching eye-popping prices for these tiny compadres.

Assorted Pokemon Paraphernalia

The late 90s is when Pokemon became the de facto cool toy for boys and girls everywhere. Complete with trading cards, Game Boy Games, and accompanying TV show, getting Pokemon stuff was on the top of practically every kid’s wishlist. It was also their parents’ nightmare on Black Friday.

Super Nintendo

The Super Nintendo (or SNES) was a major development after its precursor, the Nintendo. It featured better graphics, longer games, more complex movement, and 4 player capability. In the mid 90s, this console was the pinnacle of gaming, and kids everywhere wanted one.

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