Holiday 2006: The season of broken dreams

Shoppers getting stung as stores post 'out of stock' signs on T.M.X. Elmo, PS3, some plasma TVs.

By Parija B. Kavilanz, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- Will it be "Happy Holidays" this year or a season of broken dreams and empty promises?

Unfortunately, plenty of households are bracing for wailing kids and even some weepy grown-ups when the time comes to unwrap those holiday gifts.

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Though Christmas is still more than a month away, many store chains and online merchants already have "out of stock" signs up for the season's most-wanted gifts.

Toys 'R' Us on Tuesday said it won't have T.M.X. Elmo in any of its stores on Black Friday. But on Wednesday, the toyseller told that it now expects to get Elmo shipments on a regular basis and will have the product in stores over Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Wal-Mart (Charts), Target (Charts), Toys 'R Us and others said they will try to restock hot sellers like T.M.X. Elmo, Sony (Charts)'s PlayStation 3, Nintendo (Charts)'s Wii whenever they get more supplies.

But given that demand for these item is clearly outstripping supply, there's no guarantee that you'll find one or all of these products in time for Christmas.

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