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Posted: December 08, 2016

Hatchimal horror: Author's plan to buy, sell popular toys backfires

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            Hatchimal horror: Author's plan to buy, sell popular toys backfires
Writer Sara Gruen and actors Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon attend the 'Water for Elephants' premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on April 17, 2011, in New York City. (Jim Spellman / Getty Images)

By Michelle Ewing

Cox Media Group National Content Desk

ASHEVILLE, N.C. —

An author who hatched a plan to buy, then sell thousands of dollars' worth of a popular holiday toy has learned that cashing in on a Christmas trend isn't as easy as you'd think.

According to a Philly Voice article published Monday, New York Times best-selling author Sara Gruen spent more than $23,000 on 156 Hatchimals, which she had hoped to sell to raise money for the defense of a man she believes was wrongfully convicted of murder. 

>> Can't find a Hatchimal or other hot toy? Here's what you can do

The coveted toys, which retail for $59.99, are interactive pets that hatch and can be raised "from baby to toddler to full-grown Hatchimal," learning to "walk, talk, play games and more," maker Spin Master Corp. said in a press release. As the critters sell out in stores across the country, parents everywhere are scrambling to find them.

"It never occurred to me that I'd have trouble getting rid of them," said Gruen, who ran into listing limits and other barriers while trying to sell the items on eBay and other auction sites. 

Gruen ended up listing the items, now available for $189-$219, on Shopify. Buyers also get a free copy of one of Gruen's books.

>> Hatchimals coming to Target this Sunday

According to the store's website, all of the proceeds will go toward the legal fees for the man, who was sentenced to life without parole 23 years ago.

“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," she said, according to the Voice.

But Gruen has gotten some good news in the days since: In a follow-up story published Wednesday, the Voice reported that eBay gave her permission to sell "as many Hatchimals as I want." Another shopping site, Bonanza, followed suit. 

>> Read more trending stories

"As of this morning, I've sold 40 percent of the critters and given away four to needy kids," Gruen wrote on Facebook early Wednesday. 

The bad news: She also has received negative feedback and even death threats, the Voice reported.

"I'm going to put my alarm on for a few nights, but I think it's all online bluster," Gruen told the Voice. "They're blowing off the wrongfully convicted man with the argument that their children 'need' these toys."

Read more here or here.



Here's a follow-up piece by Brian Hickey (from Philly Voice). As of this morning, I've sold 40% of the critters and...

Posted by Sara Gruen on Wednesday, December 7, 2016


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