Author tries turning Hatchimals for profit, internet turns on her
A New York Times best-selling author tried to cash in on the Hatchimal craze and bought up $23,500 worth of the trendy toy in hopes of reselling them for many times their retail price. She claims it was for a good cause, but the internet is not having it.
Sara Gruen, author of the wildly popular novel “Water For Elephants,” is creating a “Making A Murderer” type documentary about a man she believes to be falsely imprisoned on murder charges. In her quest to free him, she’s incurring tons of legal fees and decided buying a zillion Hatchimals to sell for several times their value was a brilliant plan to recoup the expenses.
And it’s not going very well.
Explaining she “went a little Hatchimal mad” by snapping up 166 of the season’s hottest toy from eBay, Gruen says trying to unload them hasn’t been smooth-sailing. She noted the toys were already selling for “double and triple their MSRP” and figured she could easily turn a profit to cover the lawyer fees to put this man’s case back in front of the Supreme Court.
Arguably, she’s attempting to do something good. But she seems confused that the internet is turning on her for essentially scalping toys to families around the holidays.
Turns out, both eBay and Amazon were not willing to play in Gruen’s journey of depriving small children of Christmas joy (or forcing their parents to pay hundreds of dollars for it). The author laments that eBay only allows a user to sell three Hatchimals per week and Amazon requires a letter from the manufacturer in order to sell that many. She’s upset that eBay wasn’t having any of her complaining. “No warning, no precedent, nothing. And there is no way around it, and they don’t care, and it is unprecedented, and did I mention they don’t care?”
Gruen says that she’s having “Hatchimal nightmares” with these things cluttering up her office and that in a recent dream, she was the caretaker for the room full of interactive toys. “Last night, someone’s kids hatched all of them and then went home and I was bouncing and patting and poking and cooing to as many as I could to keep them alive.”
To be fair, some parents are having nightmares about their credit card bills after paying $200 for a toy.
She resorted to pleading with readers to buy them at her inflated prices, $189 and $219 instead of the retail price of $50-60. “I have a fortune invested, only one venue to offload them, and in only three weeks they will magically transform into useless pumpkins that will take up space in my office FOREVER, and have caused my financial ruin.”
Excuse us while we play the tiniest of violins. Taking advantage of a parent’s desperation to keep the Christmas magic alive for their child who’s begging for one of these is kinda gross. Of all the ways to raise money for her cause, this probably wasn’t the best one. Sure, there’s a market for Hatchimals and parents are willing to pay if you sell them at a high price — but does that mean you should?
If she’s so scared of being stuck with these things after Christmas, how about selling them for their regular price to incredibly grateful parents who would rather not shell out a car payment for a dumb toy?
Facebook took her to task for trying to mess with kids at Christmas for her own financial gain (and sure, it’s charitable, but come on, lady).
Gruen told the Philly Voice she feels parents’ collective ire toward her is both misdirected and unfounded. “They don’t hate me – I don’t think, that doesn’t make any sense – but they hate whatever it is they think I represent,” Gruen said. “And the death threats? I’m going to put my alarm on for a few nights, but I think it’s all online bluster. They’re blowing off the wrongfully convicted man with the argument that their children ‘need’ these toys.”
Um, no. No one is blowing off a wrongfully convicted man in favor of toys, they’re simply saying the way you’re trying to help him is not exactly admirable.
Screwing over parents anxious to make their kids happy is just the wrong way to go, no matter how she tries to defend it.
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