"Grinch Bots" Could Be Why Some Toys Are Sold Out This Holiday Season & Not Much Can Be Done About It

Ad failed to load

In the classic Dr. Seuss book, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, the titular character makes it his goal to ruin Christmas for the residents of Whoville. The Grinch succeeds, but not without realizing the mistake he made. In 2017, a new "Grinch" could possibly ruin the holidays for some young children, because "Grinch Bots" may be why some toys are sold out this holiday season. But one can hope that they don't succeed in ruining your Christmas.

"Grinch Bots" have one purpose: to buy all of the hottest toys this Christmas before anyone else can, making Christmas shopping even harder and more stressful than it already is. This year, according to NPR, cyberbots are buying up the most popular toys of the year online and hiking up the prices on third-party websites. In the most dire of situations, when all a child wants is a Fingerling for Christmas and they're sold out everywhere, some parents are pretty much forced into buying toys from them for their kids, even if they don't agree with the prices.

Fingerlings, one of the hottest toys of 2017, are being sold on Amazon and eBay for almost quadruple the regular price, according to The New York Times and have practically gone extinct from the shelves at Toys "R" Us and Walmart because of it. People are understandably upset about it, especially since, according to MSNBC, Fingerling inventory has been "tight" at retailers since as early as September.

Ad failed to load

But Fingerlings aren't the only sold out item that might be gracing your child's wish list. According to BuzzFeed, there are three other toys that are the target of "Grinch Bots" this year: Super Nintendo NES Classic, L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls, and the Barbie Hello Dream House. All of these items have been sold out at stores, but are just as expensive on third-party resale websites.

Ad failed to load

"Grinch Bots," according to NPR, employ the same tactics as the bots that buy concert tickets and resell them at insanely high prices (and was probably the reason why you missed seeing Beyoncé in your city last year). This doesn't benefit anyone but the seller, and your child who didn't think they would be getting the hottest toy of the season. And as long as there are "hot toys," there will be parents who will go through hoops to make sure their kid is happy.

Parents aren't the only people who think this is a problem. Over the weekend, according to Newsweek, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer called for an end to the bots, seeing how it negatively affects the people in the middle class that save up throughout the year to afford these gifts for their children. "It's time to #BlocktheBots," Schumer tweeted.

Ad failed to load

In part of his efforts to "block the bots," according to USA Today, Schumer has asked the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association to "help investigate the bot issue on their member's websites." Both groups told USA Today that they support Schumer's efforts. Schumer explained why he feels so strongly about this, in a statement shared to his website and asked for a call to action:

It's time we help restore an even playing field by blocking the bots. When it comes to purchasing products online, major retailers should put forth policies that will help future Grinch bots from stealing the season's hottest toys.

Hopefully by next year, holiday toy shopping could be a lot easier. But until something is done about it, according to ABC News, consumers should shop with a few things in mind. Before buying from a unknown seller, according to ABC News, shoppers should know of a toy's retail price, shop before the holiday rush (easier said than done), and have patience when it comes to the items being out of stock. "[Waiting is] a better solution than rewarding people that are fleecing customers," Consumers Union spokesman Chuck Bell told ABC News.

Ad failed to load

Unlike The Grinch, this story doesn't really have a happy ending. But like the Whos in Whoville, banning together to combat the problem could be the best solution.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills