For weeks, desperate shoppers have been frustrated by the way two of the 2016 holiday season’s hottest gifts—Hatchimals and Nintendo NES Classic—have been sold out at every turn. Lately, Apple Airpods have joined the ranks of extremely popular, impossible-to-find holiday gift items. Apple finally began accepting online orders for the much-hyped wireless earbuds this week, but the limited quantity available for delivery by December 24 was unsurprisingly sold out almost immediately.
It is the season or miracles, however, so don’t give up hope. With a little luck and strategy, there are still plenty of ways to pick up these must-have holiday purchases, perhaps even without getting gouged. Here’s what you need to know.
Undeniably the “it” toy for the 2016 holiday season, Hatchimals have been virtually sold out since early November. Because demand for the furry, interactive toys that hatch out of eggs has far outpaced supply, prices for Hatchimals have soared on eBay and other resale sites. To avoid disappointing kids with their hearts set on Hatchimals, buyers have regularly been paying three or four times higher than the toy’s original $50-$60 retail price.
But biting the bullet and paying through the nose is not the only way to get your hands on Hatchimals. Over the past two weeks, fresh batches of Hatchimals have popped up around the country in Toys R Us, Target, and Walmart stores. And yes, they’ve been selling for normal retail prices, as low as $48.88 at Walmart.
Stores are expected to keep putting a sprinkling of new Hatchimals on shelves over the next week or so, but, understandably, the toys are generally snatched up by shoppers the moment they’re available. To increase the odds that you’ll get your hands on a Hatchimal, talk to the manager at your local store and ask for tips for snagging one for your kid. By all means, present your sob story and play up your customer loyalty to see if the manager can hook you up with some special assistance. Also, take note that Toys R Us specifically reached out to MONEY to say that stores nationwide will have new Hatchimals supplies ready when they open at 6 a.m. for special holiday hours on Saturday, December 17.
As for online shopping options, you can sign up for alerts from services like Brick Seek and Hatchimals Locator, but they only track inventory among e-retail operations—and they’ve been completely sold out for weeks. Of course, there’s always eBay too. The resale market is prone to pricing fluctuation, but as of Wednesday the “Buy It Now” and final bid prices for auctions show that Hatchimals have been selling for under $150 apiece. That’s significantly cheaper than the $200-$250 asking prices from third-party sellers listing Hatchimals at Amazon Marketplace and Walmart.com.
Finally, if you’re feeling lucky, enter the contest being hosted by Spin Master, the maker of Hatchimals. The company is giving away one of the toys daily through December 20.
Nintendo NES Classic Edition
Like Hatchimals, the throwback Nintendo Entertainment System gaming console has been nearly impossible to buy at the normal $60 list price in stores and at retailer websites. That’s left shoppers with seemingly few places to turn other than eBay or Amazon Marketplace, where prices are generally $200 and up.
There are some other options, however. Amazon recently rolled out a special promotion selling the Nintendo NES at normal price, but with two catches—only members of its Prime Now service are eligible, and only in a few select cities, including Atlanta, Miami, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. As a bonus, the Prime Now purchase comes with delivery in a lightning fast two hours after ordering.
Meanwhile, Best Buy reports that stores around the country will have “limited quantities” of the Nintendo NES in stock on Tuesday, December 20. The old-school gaming consoles will not be available via Best Buy’s website, and will be sold in stores on a first-come, first-serve basis, so it’s wise to arrive at your local store before it opens on Tuesday.
The latest edition to the 2016 holiday season’s must-have-can’t-find wish list is Apple Airpods, a wireless version of its popular earbuds that were introduced to the public in September and finally went on sale this week. The Apple Store and Best Buy began accepting online orders for the $160 wireless earbuds on Monday, and the initial batch sold out almost immediately. Shoppers can still order Airpods online, but the problem for gift givers is that they won’t be shipped until sometime in January or even later.
If you need to get your hands on Airpods sooner—like, oh, before December 25—make plans to head to a physical Apple Store next week. Apple says Airpods will begin arriving in its stores (and those of some select partners) during the week before Christmas. Again, it’s worth chatting up your local store manager to see if he or she can share more specific details to help you track down a pair.
As you’d expect, the timing of Apple Airpods becoming available for order in extremely limited supply is working out perfectly for opportunistic resellers. Ebay sellers who are lucky enough to have Airpods in the days before Christmas are asking “Buy It Now” prices of $350 and up for orders arriving by December 24, and Airpods auctions are ending with final bids in excess of $300 per pair.