5 Products (Including Stanley Cups) People Lost Their Minds Over in the Middle of the Store

Consumers fighting over items in stores is nothing new.
Updated May 1, 2024
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Target has a long history of creating limited-edition collaborations with brands and designers. Target's latest collection: The Stanley 1913 "Galantine Day" collection sold exclusively at Target started a frenzy even before the stores opened. The Cosmo Pink and Target Red, 40 oz tumblers, sold out within moments of their release, nationwide. Customers were limited to two cups each and had a choice of sizes, but it still couldn't stop the cups from running out and everyone started losing their minds in the store. 

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History of the Stanley Cup craze

What created the Stanley Cup craze? In a word, influencers. Stanley 1913 is an American heritage brand. The company has supplied sturdy mugs, cookware, and lunch boxes for generations of campers and outdoors workers. Bloggers and influencers began featuring Stanley 1913's Adventure Quencher Travel Tumbler in posts in 2019, and the lidded 40 oz mug took off. 

In early December 2022, the company held a three-day pop-up shop in New York City's Soho neighborhood. Long lines of people waited to get in, grab a coffee or cocktail, and look at the merchandise. When the limited-edition Target collection arrived this year, shoppers were primed to run into the store and grab a coveted cup. 

Video after video shows people waiting for New Year's Eve for stores to open to snag one or misbehaving in stores, attempting to snag a coveted tumbler. Mikayla Barber showed a somewhat well-behaved crowd waiting for the store to fling open its doors for shoppers. Arizonian Victoria Robino filmed people darting in and out of the Stanley 1913 display like a bizarre game of keep away to grab a coveted cup. 

While the super-sized tumblers are sold out, desperate fans can buy one online at eBay. A pink or red 40 oz. Quencher Tumbler ranges from $69.99 to $104.99. 

People acting up in stores over the newest trend isn't a new phenomenon. Shoppers have tackled and scrambled over other shoppers for "must-have" items since the 1980s. Below are four top crazes that have sometimes caused parents to drive miles for the next big thing.

Elsa and anything Frozen

In 2013, Disney's Frozen hit the movies and Elsa and her sister Anna entranced little girls and boys worldwide. Anything Elsa or sister Anna were hot tickets all year long. A year after the movie's release, finding anything Frozen was almost impossible. When questioned about the shortage, Disney spokeswoman Margita Thompson explained in an email to CBC News, "Frozen is a global phenomenon that has truly exceeded expectations on every level." 

While Disney ordered more Frozen merch, it took months to hit the shelves. Desperate parents trying to track stuff down created posts on the U.K.'s Mumsnet website, a parenting resource. They shared where they could find items, costs, and strategies to save money shopping and get anything related to Frozen into their homes.

The Disney website imposed a limit on newer merchandise, especially the most wanted items, according to the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper. U.K. shoppers could only add one Anna and Elsa doll to Disney's online store cart. In the U.S., the New York Post reported that the lack of merchandise at the Times Square Disney store continued to disappoint parents and children. An unnamed Disney store employee stated that when the stores open, "People have gotten into physical fights in the morning."

Frozen is still popular, but today, production has matched demand. Parents are no longer attacking salespeople or driving from store to store to grab merch.


Back in 1998, the "hot holiday toy" was Furby. This bird-like furry creature that looked like a mix of hamster, owl, and gremlin chirped and spoke in its language. It was one of the first electronic toys programmed to start chatting in English. Furbies could also "speak" to each other via an infrared port in their eyes. 

Their charm and advanced, for the time, technology became a must-have item. Like Tickle Me Elmo, fights broke out between customers and against staff in stores nationwide. Shoppers injured in a store brawl in Pennsylvania sued Walmart. Shoppers stampeded over other shoppers while throwing things at store staff nationwide.

The Tickle Me Elmo craze

Furry red Elmo is a beloved Sesame Street character. His namesake toy is the Tickle Me Elmo doll. With a broad smile and infectious laugh, this child's toy became the top prize in the 1996 holiday shopping war. What caused the rush? Back then, celebrities, not social media, created crazes through endorsements. When Rosie O'Donnell endorsed the interactive toy on her eponymously named T.V. show, it immediately became the "it" toy.

Newspapers around the country reported people waiting outside of stores in all sorts of weather to grab Elmo when the store opened. Shoppers attacked salespeople and other shoppers to grab one. Like the Stanley 1913 "Galantine" tumbler, opportunists snagged the doll specifically to resell them and make extra money. Prices for the doll went as high as $700. 

Months later, the craze died, and no one cared about the bright red doll that shook and laughed. There was a brief blip in popularity in the early aughts when suddenly it was a hot holiday toy again, but its popularity quickly faded away the second time.

Cabbage Patch Kids

Cabbage Patch Kids are the dolls that kicked off today's scary holiday shopping behavior. Launched nationwide in 1983, these cute dolls, with their oversized plastic heads and floppy cloth bodies, also came with a birth certificate. How frenzied were the shoppers? 

It was so unbelievable that a documentary about frantic shoppers, black market sales, and more hit the film festival circuit in 2022. Billion Dollar Babies: The True Story of the Cabbage Patch Kids contains news footage of shoppers trampling anything to grab a doll.

Bottom line

"It" items and shopping crazes aren't a new trend. In the 1980s, a store manager used a baseball bat to protect himself after marauding shoppers were disappointed by the lack of Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. For years, people camped outside of stores to grab popular items on Black Friday. Recently, shoppers were so frenzied over owning a pink or red Stanley Tumbler that many camped outside stores to ensure they got one.

Before the advent of social media, it took time for products to grow from unknown to must-have. Nowadays, just a few clever social media campaigns and a product becomes a holy grail item. Sometimes, even an old product becomes a hot item. You never know what you might witness in a retail store near you the next time one of these fads hits. 

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Author Details

PJ Gach PJ Gach is a professional writer who has over a decade of experience covering the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle beats. Her writing credits include Shop TODAY, GoBankingRates, SPY.com, Reader's Digest, The New York Post, Rolling Stone, and more.