Eight Of The Worst Fad Toys From The Last Forty Years

The latest batch of fad products roll out every year around Christmas, when people spend way too much money and act like animals just to get their hands on the must-have product of the year.

A lot of really bad fad toys have been released in the last forty years, but the fad toys on this list epitomize the love it now, couldn't care less tomorrow core of what makes most fad toys a total waste of money!

1. Pogo Bal-

The pogo stick was rendered obselete by the release of the Pogo Bal in 1986, which didn't mean much because kids had given up their pogo sticks in favor of skateboards and scooters long ago.

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The good thing about Pogo Bal was every kid on your block had one, so you could all look ridiculous trying to bounce around together.

The bad thing about Pogo Bal- it rapidly deflated and cracked when left out in the sun, and only really worked as advertised when fully inflated, so most kids let it become part of the backyard.

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2. Cabbage Patch Kids-

Cabbage Patch Kids sprouted out of the ground all cute, clothed and ready for adoption, and kids have never wanted to eat their vegetables more than when they saw those dimple cheeked Kids on toy store shelves.

The Cabbage Patch Riots of 1983 showed how far some parents were willing to go to get their hands on those dolls, which at the time were being mass produced rather cheaply by Coleco.

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The good thing about Cabbage Patch Kids is their dollyness-  they have plenty of outfits and accessories to keep kids (mostly girls) entertained for years to come.

The bad thing about Cabbage Patch Kids is the cloth material used to make the body got dirty fast, and if you tried to wash them they turned into lumpy Cabbage Patch freaks. Likewise their decal eyes rubbed off if the dolls were played with too roughly, which left them looking so sad:

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3. Tickle Me Elmo-

One annoying little musical doll named Tickle Me Elmo made the world stand up and take notice when people started paying big bucks for the quivering doll during the Elmo Craze of 1996.

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The good thing about Tickle Me Elmo- it made our little ones laugh out with his giggle seizures, and parents who decided to skin Elmo for his crimes were left with this cool robo-chortler:

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The bad thing about Tickle Me Elmo- some parents paid hundreds of dollars for a toy their children lost interest in or inevitably broke, left with nothing but a screechy robo Elmo laugh to haunt their dreams.

4. Tamagotchi-

Virtual Pets like Tamagotchi took the toy market by storm in the mid-90s because they're flashy, (fairly) gender neutral and can satisfy even the most addicted console gamer.

The first Tamagotchi was released in Japan in 1996, and although they're still being made to this day the original went fad around 1997 when it sold out in stores and ended up on the virtual pet black market.

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The good thing about Tamagotchi is the inherent strangeness of the toy- there were always odd new things to discover about your virtual pet, that is if you could keep it alive long enough to see them all...

The worst thing about owning a Tamagotchi- the inevitable virtual pet death, and the emotional scars their passing leaves behind:

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5. Zhu Zhu Pets-

The little racing furballs known as Zhu Zhu Pets created quite a stir when parents turned them into must have toys in 2009 despite the fact that their kids couldn't care less about the motorized hamsters.

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The good thing about Zhu Zhu Pets is they drive pets wild, so if you're not afraid of having your RC pet chewed to bits by your furry friends they provide hours of interactive fun.

The bad thing- they're not as durable as other remote controlled toys, so parents who spent hundreds of dollars on a toy that's hardly worth ten bucks got to watch their kids break them the same day they opened them!

6. My Buddy doll-

My Buddy was released in 1985 as a plushy best friend for boys, created as a way to cash in on the lack of dolls for boys in the toy market and to piggyback on the sales of Cabbage Patch Kids.

Then, in 1988, a little horror movie called Child's Play came along, slashing Buddy's dream of becoming as big as Barbie to ribbons and turning a cute character into the stuff of nightmares:

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The good thing about My Buddy- your sister could adopt the doll after you got yourself a much more macho My Pet Monster doll, and then she'd have a doll couple so she could play house.

The bad thing about My Buddy- kids who were even remotely scared of Chucky found it really hard to sleep in the same house as Buddy, fearing it would come to life at any moment:

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7. Teddy Ruxpin-

If the My Chucky..err Buddy doll wasn't enough to give you nightmares the talking robot bear Teddy Ruxpin would certainly do the trick.

With dead eyes that stared vacantly into your soul and a motor in his head that was so loud it was hard to hear the story he told, Mr. Ruxpin and his friends became a huge fad hit around 1986.

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The good thing about Teddy Ruxpin- the interactive element of each storybook and cassette, which helped make many latch key kids feel like they had a friend to rush home to after school.

The bad thing about Teddy Ruxpin is kids grew bored of him really fast, quickly abandoning him for the cartoon version, and Teddy was mighty scary sounding when his batteries were running low:

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8. Barbie's Dog Tanner-

Last on our list is the little toy dog that caused a crapstorm of controversy way back in 2006- Barbie's dog Tanner.

Tanner became a big hit because of her controversial pooping mechanic, and when she was recalled for having a loose magnet in her scooper the shortage made her one valuable little pooch.

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The bad thing and good thing about Tanner are pretty much the same thing- poop jokes!

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Fad toys will come and go, but regret last forever!


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Tickle Me Elmo had so many problems, not the least of which I couldn't keep my hands off him in the store! Early in our relationship, I was at a TRU with my now-husband, and I could not resist tickling each and every TME on an endcap, maybe 15 of them faced just so. As I rose up from activating the E's on the lowest shelf, my guy was turning around and I caught his elbow on my cheekbone. Try blaming a black eye on a TME doll. I did.
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