Mahaila is a bright, energetic, 8-year-old girl who received a $50 Hatchimals egg toy for her birthday two months ago.
When we asked her if it was fun getting it out of the egg, Mahaila said "yeah." But after it hatched, was it it still fun?
"No," she reports.
Yes, Mahaila doesn't really like her Hatchimals toy, to the horror of parents waiting in lines for hours outside Toys R Us, Target or Wal-Mart, or others paying hundreds of dollars to Amazon third-party sellers and on eBay, where many are selling for $250.
"It spins and talks, but whenever it talks, it's kind of annoying," Mahaila said.
Hatching the toy is the thrill
For her and many others, the real excitement of a Hatchimals toy comes the first day.
That's when you hold and nurture it, and the little stuffed bird hatches from its shell after about 45 minutes. No other interactive toy has ever done that before. A promotional video shows the experience.
For the next day or two it makes baby sounds; then, in a few days, it becomes a child saying some real words, with its eyes changing color depending on mood. It cries and coos when held.
But Mahaila says that got old fast.
"It's annoying, it's really annoying," she said.
Fortunately for parents, there is an off-switch underneath, if the sounds get to be too much.
Her mom, Megan Brittney, says the little Hatchimals toy has been languishing on a shelf in Mahaila's room now for weeks.
"She kind of sat it down and hasn't touched it in two months." Brittney said.
Her assessment is not unusual. Of more than 400 reviews on Amazon, as of Dec. 12, nearly 50 percent give it the lowest "1 star" rating.
One British mom's Facebook review, urging parents to "think twice," went viral and was shared thousands of times around the world.
Some reviews, though, are positive: One mom said "there is play value as the toy grows from a baby into a child."
But Megan Brittney says she doesn't think any Hatchimals toy is worth hundreds of dollars.
"When people are paying these large amounts for this toy, I really feel they would be let down," she said.
Bottom line: It's hard to say "no" to a 7- or 8-year-old who really, really wants one of these for Christmas. But keep in mind it may end up next to the Furby, Tickle Me Elmo and other once-hot toys by New Year's, sitting on the closet floor.
Whatever you decide, don't waste your money.
“Don't Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”). The information included in this article was obtained independently by Scripps reporters. While purchases from links inserted in this article may result in a commission for Scripps, no Scripps reporter benefited from that commission.
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