Shopping for holidays? Consumer expert says this is what you need to look for

ATLANTA — The nation’s supply chain crunch is driving up the cost of everything, including toys. But there are ways families can still get the most bang for their holiday buck, especially when popular toys sell out.

The hottest toys seem to sell out every year and then secondary sellers send prices through the roof. But it started even earlier this year, so now more than ever you have to shop smart.

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Want a Gabby’s Purrfect dollhouse? Target had it for less than $60, but it has sold out. We found it on Amazon for nearly $200.

How about a Magical Misting Cauldron? Last week, it was priced at $54 but sold out. Now a secondary seller has it through the same site for $159.

Supply chain experts told Channel 2′s Linda Stouffer the backlog at U.S. ports, plus the workforce crunch has led to unprecedented issues. Shoppers are noticing.

“They’re definitely through the roof,” said Edgar Dworsky of ConsumerWorld.org. “Please don’t pay those crazy prices, whatever you do, you’re just going to encourage more sellers to try to pile on.”

Dworsky said price gouging protections don’t extend to toys. So this year, shoppers will need to be flexible and shop early.

“Because the item you really want may not be in stock or may not come in in time. So you need a second and third choice. And you got to shop early because some shelves are already bare,” Dworsky said.

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Next, Dworsky said to research the real value of the product.

“There’s a site called camelcamelcamel.com, which shows you the price history of any item on Amazon,” Dworsky said.

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Tip 3: Monitor the price of you item and monitor the prices. They could actually go down.

Also, be careful about where you shop. Dworsky said if you’ve never heard of an online shop, can’t find any real reviews, he would stay away.

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