The hunt for those cute, fun and furry Hatchimals is turning ugly.
The must-have toy this Christmas has already sold out at most stores across North America. So third-party dealers who managed to scoop up multiple Hatchimals are now demanding sky-high prices, banking that desperate parents will pay up.
On Kijiji, we found Hatchimals priced as high as $ 750 each — close to 10 times the retail rate. The steep prices prompted one Toronto parent to blast dealers on Kijiji, posting on the site, “I don’t know how these people go to sleep at night.”
In early October, Bzdega started her search for a Hatchimal to give to her son, Liam, for Christmas.
So Bzdega started searching websites like Amazon and eBay. She was willing to pay up to $ 50 on top of the ticket price. But all the offers were well above her limit, with dealers often asking for three times the retail rate.
“It was pretty shocking,” says Bzdega adding that she understands people have the right to sell Hatchimals for whatever amount they want. But trying to profit from desperate parents at Christmas just seems “opportunistic and mean,” she says.
“It’s very hard to predict how big a new toy item will be. I mean nobody has a crystal ball,” says Liem with NPD Group in Toronto.
Liem acknowledges that that’s cold comfort for parents who feel they’re at the mercy of opportunistic resellers.
New Jersey mom Dottie Russo became so incensed over the situation, she posted a rant on YouTube.
“Have you no soul?” she asked people who resell Hatchimals at exorbitant prices. “You’re gonna ruin Christmas, you little Christmas snatcher? You proud of yourself you evil little elf?”
Soon after, Alex Brancheau posted his own YouTube rant justifying the profits he made from reselling 14 Hatchimals.
?Gruen, who wrote Water for Elephants, was born and raised in Canada and now lives in North Carolina.
She made it clear all proceeds from the sale of her Hatchimals stash would go towards legal fees for a man she believes was wrongfully convicted. Gruen later revealed that the man is Chuck Murdoch, who’s serving a life sentence in the U.S. for murder.
?However, her mission hasn’t stop parents from taking potshots at her on social media with comments like: “Price gouging a highly wanted Christmas toy definitely wasn’t the best way to raise money for your cause.”
This week, Gruen told NBC’s Today Show that the vitriol caught her by surprise.
“I had no idea that emotions would run so high,” she said. She also offered sympathy for angry moms and dads. “I understand wanting to get your kid that special Christmas present is everything when you are a parent.”
As for Bzdega, she’s decided that Hatchimals aren’t special enough to warrant the inflated price tag this Christmas.
She says she and fellow resigned parents are breaking the news gently to their children by explaining that Santa ran out of Hatchimal supplies.