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Korean parents scramble for hottest Christmas toy

December 24, 2014
Parents line up at a Seoul supermarket on Dec. 18, 2014, to purchase the much sought-after action figures from the Power Ranger Dino Force series for their children ahead of the Christmas holiday. (Yonhap)

Parents line up at a Seoul supermarket on Dec. 18, 2014, to purchase the much sought-after action figures from the Power Ranger Dino Force series for their children ahead of the Christmas holiday. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — The joyous time of Christmas has again left South Korean parents in distress over trying to find the hottest toy of the year, and this year’s hands down winner is the Power Rangers Dino Force action figures, whose scarcity has pushed up its price to nearly triple the amount on the Web.

The DX Tyranno King, a form-changing dinosaur robot from the Japanese version of the Power Rangers television series, was No. 1 on the Christmas wish list for children this month, according to sales data from Lotte Mart, the supermarket affiliate of retail giant Lotte.

Other toys from the television franchise — the DX Ptera King and the transforming gun device Gaburivolver — were in the top five as well.

Likewise, local stores could not keep up with the demand for the robot figurines ahead of Christmas.

Lotte Mart had stocked up some 4,000 of the DX Tyranno King toys on Monday for its stores throughout the country, only to have them all sell out as soon as the shops opened. Discount chain E-mart ran out of its stock of 10,000 Dino Force toys in a single day.

Aside from popularity, the toys are in short supply as the Japanese toy and video game maker Bandai Co. is no longer producing them as much as before since the Japanese version of the Dino Force season ended in February. The same season premiered in South Korea later in July.

“The Dino Force toys are extremely hard to secure, so we don’t carry them in the store regularly, and any newly incoming stocks are always wiped out in a flash,” a Lotte Mart official said.

As Christmas draws near, parents have become nearly frantic to find the rare gift for their children. Some said they took a day off from work to line up at stores early before business hours. Others said they were going online to purchase secondhand versions of the toy.

Joonggonara, a widely known e-commerce website for used items, had nearly 500 new posts on Tuesday alone by those willing to sell their DX Tyranno King figures. The toys, whose original price is 75,000 won (US$67.92), were being sold at well over 90,000 won, with some profiteers asking for more than three times the original price.

Online scams were reported as gullible parents fell victim to dishonest sellers. The father of a 7-year-old boy recently found a sales posting for a used Dino Force toy online and wired 80,000 won, only to find that he had been swindled out of his money.

“The person that put up the post said she was a mother who wanted to sell the extra DX Tyranno King she had because her husband had bought the same toy by mistake,” the 39-year-old fraud victim said. “I can’t believe she could scam people like that, if she really is a mother like she said.”

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