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American University
 
Online Shopping Guide: Toys

Here is a very selective list of online shopping sites you might want to visit, compiled by Washington Post staff writers. Click on the links below to go to the other sections of the chart.

Clothing | Books & Music | Electronics | Food | Toys | Tickets | Beauty | Luxury



eToys
What they're selling: Toys, baby gear, software, videos, video games, music.
Shipping: $3 plus 95 cents to $2.50 per item for delivery in four to 10 business days; $6 plus $1.95 to $3.50 per item for delivery three to six business days.
Gift wrapping: $2.95 per item
Return Policy:Returns accepted for any reason, anytime, in original conditions. Shipping charges only refunded if eToys made a mistake.
Discounts: Buy $75 worth of toys and get a $10 gift certificate good at any BabyGap or GapKids store or Web site.
Critique: A well-organized, if overwhelming, site. Lots of choices with great photos and services to make choosing easier. Toys are organized every which way: best sellers, top choices under $20, fantastic finds, etc.
Amazon.com
What they're selling: Toys, games (and most everything else)
Shipping: $3 plus $1.25 per item for delivery in two to seven business days; $6 plus $1.95 per item for two-business-day delivery; $8 plus $2.95 per item for overnight delivery.
Gift wrapping: $1.95 per item.
Return Policy: Within 30 days, in original condition. Refunds shipping charges only if Amazon.com made a mistake. Holiday gifts can be returned until Jan. 31, 2000.
Discounts: None clearly displayed.
Critique: Has done toys like it does books: great depth, good information, good pictures. Browsing is a breeze, and top sellers are updated hourly. Best of all, shipping is incredibly fast and easy.
ZanyBrainy.com
What they're selling: Toys, software, videos, music
Shipping: $3 plus $1.25 per item, for delivery in seven to eight business days; $6 plus $1.95 per item for delivery in three to five business days; $9 plus $4.95 per item for delivery in two to four business days.
Gift wrapping: $2.50 per item, odd shapes in a decorative bag.
Return Policy: : Returns accepted for any reason; can return to a ZanyBrainy store with a packing slip from your online order. No refund for shipping charges unless ZanyBrainy.com made a mistake.
Discounts: None clearly displayed.
Critique: A great new site with lots of educational products for kids of all ages. Nice graphics, easy to navigate. The interactive service to try select toys is buggy, but when it works better, it'll be a winner.
Ace Toys
What they're selling: Toys, baby gear, safety products, software, videos, video games, music
Shipping: $3.25 per order, plus $1 per item, for delivery in four to 10 business days; $6.45 per order plus $1.85 per item for "premium" delivery in three to five business days; $11 per order plus $5 per item for express delivery in two to three business days.
Gift wrapping: $2.95 per item
Return Policy: Holiday purchases can be returned through Feb. 15-if unopened and undamaged. Shipping charges only refunded if the item is defective.
Discounts: None clearly displayed.
Critique: Bold graphics and a spare design make this site really nice to browse in. Lots of high quality pictures on a page and well organized. Too many items out of stock, though.
Toysmart.com
What they're selling: Toys, baby gear, software, videos, electronics, music, furniture
Shipping: Free on orders of $25 and up; normally, for delivery in three to seven business days, charges vary based on price of order, from $3 to $9.25. For orders over $100, it's 10 percent of purchase price. For two to three-business day delivery, $8 to $14.80, then 16 percent for orders over $100. For overnight delivery, $10 to $18.50, then 30 percent for orders over $100.
Gift wrapping: $2.00 per item
Return Policy: Shipping charges only refunded in case of defective or damaged goods.
Discounts: $10 off any $25 purchase, plus free shipping.
Critique: A well organized site, with though not as easy to browse as some, and the design is a bit cluttered. Site still doesn't have pictures for a lot of things. But checkout was easy and the choices are first rate.
SmarterKids.com
What they're selling: Toys for toddlers and up, software, videos, electronics, music, furniture.
Shipping: Shipping: $3.25, plus $1.25 per item, for delivery in two to nine business days; $6.50 plus $1.95 per item for delivery in three to five business days; $11.50 plus $3.95 per item for delivery in two to three business days.
Gift wrapping: $2.50 per item
Return Policy: Accepted within 30 days of purchase (for purchases made between now and Dec. 25, accepted until Feb. 1). Shipping charges only refunded in case of defective or damaged goods.
Discounts: Get certificate worth $10 off for referring a friend.
Critique: A good alternative that draws you in with its emphasis on low prices. The selection is deep but pictures aren't great-too small and not good quality. The rating system for each toy, one to five checkmarks, is a really good service.
FAO Schwarz
What they're selling: Huge selection of toys including action figures, dolls and videos.
Shipping: Allow seven to ten business days for standard delivery, $4.95 for orders up to $15.99. For second day delivery, add an additional $8 to the basic shipping charges.
Gift wrapping: Yes.
Return Policy: Return your purchase for a prompt exchange or refund. Collectible merchandise returns will only be accepted within 30 days of purchase with receipt.
Discounts: Yes.
Critique: Home page features a top 10 toys list to keep you in touch with the latest toy fads.
GameStop
What they're selling:Large selection of video games and software for a variety of systems
Shipping: $5 for orders under $75, second day delivery; $9, overnight.
Gift wrapping: Yes.
Return Policy: All returns must be made within 15 days of packing list date.
Discounts: Yes.
Critique: Site features demos and screen shots of individual games. A must for the serious gamer.

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