With "Big Box" retail management among the adventures of my "past lives," I've lived through a few holiday toy crazes on the frontlines. I was there for Tickle Me Elmo back in '96, an era that came right alongside the launches of Tamagotchi, Pokemon, and later, Furby. While none of these really rivaled the Cabbage Patch Kids craze of 1983 (though at times they've come close), it's the internet that's really changed the game, with desperate parents turning to "third-party sellers" as opposed to shadowy figures scalping toys from the trunks of their cars. Just eight weeks ago, you could find these on shelves, but now Hatchimals have become a commodity, and the folks at Spin Master are working diligently to get these toys into the hands of parents for the holidays - and they don't want you buying them from scalpers. Yes, they're in-demand - but the "shortage" is being driven by the third-party market, with supplies being hoarded.
"This is a special season and we don’t want anyone to be disappointed, nor do we support inflated prices from non-authorized resellers," said Spin Master reps in a statement. Now, my own Rock Father intel has shown that Target and Walmart stores Nationwide have still been receiving regular shipments from their warehouses (as recently as last night!), but in the 24-hour locations in particular, they're not making it to the shelves. If you want to find Hatchimals at retail, start hitting Walmart late at night - or be at Target or Toys "R" Us when the doors open.
If you don't have the time to do a Hatchimals hunt, Spin Master is offering a little bit of help through the Hatchimals North Pole. Their new site offers tips for getting ready for the eventual arrival of more Hatchimals.
- Head to hatchimals.com/northpole to find everything your family needs to get egg-cited for your Hatchimal’s arrival.
- Parents and kids will find fun games, and download arts and crafts activities, like a welcome home banner to color, build your own nest activity and more!
- Parents can also enter their email to get a heartfelt letter from Santa sent to them.
- Head to Instagram.com/Hatchimals for a chance to win Hatchimals!
A Word of Caution - Beware Knock-offs!: I absolutely cannot stand knock-off toys, and Hatchimals has already spawned a few of them. Parents, please do not settle for anything less than the real thing. There's already some garbage floating around out there in which unscrupulous opportunists have squeezed stuffed animals into eggs, or worse yet - cheap Furby copies purchased on the Chinese bulk market, also crammed into eggs and sold to parents who are now demanding refunds. Nothing worse than a disappointed child, so stay away from the scammers!
Having experienced Hatchimals first-hand, I can tell you that the real joy is witnessing the excitement of the initial hatching. Ours took about a half-hour of nurturing to finally hatch, but when they did, the girls (particularly our oldest) were so excited (see video above). That's where the magic is.
Most retailers will be stocking two species of Hatchimals - Pengualas and Draggles - but there's three other species available as retailer exclusives. Burtles can be find at Walmart, with Owlicorns at Toys "R" Us and the elusive Bearakeet hatching at Target stores. See details on all of them here, and good luck in your Hatchimals hunt!