"I have had people looking for Hatchimals in Australia, Africa, the US, London and Belfast and I have contacted all the Smyth's shops in Ireland but I just can't get my hands on one of the damn things. I'm worried now my eight-year-old is going to have an almighty hissy fit," says a Dublin-based dad who realised far too late in the season that the must-have toy for little people is the small, robotic creature which comes in an egg that hatches if properly loved.
According to data recorded by Google Trends last week, Hatchimals are the most searched-for toy in Ireland.
The toys were created by Canadian toy maker Spin Master and when they first appeared on toy shop shelves in October they had a price tag of no more than €90 but today they are selling online for hundreds of euro as frantic parents all over the world cybercamp on websites waiting for deliveries to come in.
The manner in which the egg hatches is key to its success. It is sold still in an egg which contains one of two possible variations. Kids have to play with and nurture the egg and listen to it cooing for up to an hour while the toy pecks and eventually breaks the egg’s shell.
Once it has hatched, the creation learns new skills and tricks as it journeys through various life stages.
According to some unconfirmed - and possibly wildly inaccurate - reports one of the reasons why there is such shortage of the toy of the moment is because they are hatching too soon and bursting into life while still in the back of delivery vans, airplanes and boats.
Once hatched, a Hatchimal loses much of its appeal although if the reports are true it could create a market for “Rescue Hatchimals” in the weeks ahead.
One canny seller in Denmark is selling a lot of six Hatchimals Pengualas on ebay.ie with a price tag of more than €1,300 and while the price might seem utterly outlandish there will be buyers with some solitary eggs with price tags well in excess of €200 attracting multiple bids in recent days.
"We realised in September that they were going to be a big deal," said Argos spokeswoman Aoife Sweeney. "Although perhaps we didn't realise just how big a deal they were going to be. There is always that one product that capture's chidlren's imaginations and this year it seems to be the Hatchimal."
Demand is likely to spike this evening as the toy is set to be featured on the Late Late Toy Show.
Sweeney said that while more deliveries would be coming in to store in the weeks ahead, demand would easily outstrip supply.
She suggested that parents might gently push their offspring in the direction of the Furby Connect instead. “It is not in an egg but it is the next best thing,” she said. “We just don’t know if we will have enough stock back in.
The Furby Connect is being billed as the cleverest one yet. It is a sensor-laden toy that interacts with its owner through sounds and movement and can be connected to the internet to interact with its virtual children and watch viral videos and the like.