PINELLAS PARK (FOX 13) - Hatchimals are the hottest toy this holiday season, and people have been waiting to get their hands on one. Thursday, the wait is over.
Select Bay Area Walmart stores just received shipments of the high-demand toy. Employees at the Pinellas Park Walmart location say they plan to have them on shelves by 9 a.m.
Parents wanting to fulfill their children's holiday wishes were already waiting in line at some stores as early as 7 a.m.
Hatchimals, made by Canadian company Spin Master, are little furry animals that hatch from from eggs, then learn skills during interactive play.
The concept is similar to the popular Tamagotchi toys from the 1990s-- they start as eggs, and as you care for them they hatch and grow. Except Hatchimals are furry, colorful robots that offer interactive play and touch technology.
There are several different "species" of Hatchimal, each with a different appearance and personality. But, every species is not sold at every store.
The "Owlicorns" can only be found at Toys R Us, while the 'Bearakeet" is only sold at Target. Walmart has the monopoly on "Burtles." "Pengualas" and "Draggles" are sold in multiple stores.
Surely, the differing species and store exclusive offers along with the limited amount of product released played a role in the popular toy's rise to the top of every kid's Christmas list.
The hit toys were released in October, and were met with huge demand that caused them to sell out quickly. Desperate parents looking to purchase their kids a Hatchimal for the holidays have had a difficult time finding them in stock, even resorting to paying inflated prices from non-authorized sellers.
Some people are taking advantage of parents' desperation to make sure their children aren't heartbroken Christmas morning by listing Hatchimals for sale on Ebay at outrageous prices. One seller in Rhode Island is asking $300,000 for the toy, in hopes of paying off their mortgage with the profit. Another listed a "Burtle" Hatchimal for $30,000.
The toy's retail price is $48.88 at Walmart. Hatchimals were on Walmart's Chosen By Kids Top 25 list of hot toys for the holiday season. The company says select Florida locations will have the toy back on shelves between December 8 and 19.
Walmart said there will be no limit on the number of Hatchimals shoppers can buy, and each store is expected to receive dozens.
However Thursday morning people are reporting that one Walmart location was limiting the purchases to one per person.
The Pinellas Park Walmart store told FOX 13 that they received a shipment of just 14 Hatchimals, and they were sold out by 8 a.m. Thursday.
Customers are encouraged to check with their local store on when they are expected to arrive during this timeframe. The local shipments are part of larger national shipment that numbers in the tens of thousands, according to Walmart.
Hatchimals released a statement on their website in response to the high demand:
"The consumer response to Hatchimals has been extraordinary, exceeding all expectations. This is a special season and we don’t want anyone to be disappointed, nor do we support inflated prices from non-authorized resellers. While additional product will hit retail shelves in December, we anticipate this inventory will also sell out quickly. We have increased production and a whole new batch of Hatchimals will be ready to hatch in early 2017. In the meantime, we have created an online resource center at Hatchimals.com/NorthPole to help kids and their parents during the wait. We are also partnering with some of our retailers to develop pre-sale and/or rain-check programs for redemption in January. We will continue to update with program details as they become available."
Walmart released a list of store locations that are scheduled to receive Hatchimals shipments between now and December 19:
- 7011 W. Waters Ave., Tampa
- 15302 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa
- 1485 Commercial Way, Spring Hill
- 8701 Us Highway 19, Port Richey
- 7305 Broad St., Brooksville
- 13300 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville
- 2461 E Gulf To Lake Hwy., Inverness
- 8745 State Road 54, New Port Richey
- 6885 S Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa
- 8001 US Highway 19 North, Pinellas Park
- 1575 Land O Lakes Blvd., Lutz
- 4928 State Road 674, Wimauma
- 11110 Causeway Blvd., Brandon
- 949 E Bloomingdale Ave., Valrico
- 13140 South Tamiami Trail., Osprey
- 5315 Cortez Rd West, Bradenton
For more information on Hatchimals, visit the website hatchimals.com.