HOULTON, Maine — Cathy St. Peter knew that she was going overboard on Thursday when she began browsing eBay for Hatchimals, the hottest children’s toy on the market this year, and seriously began considering paying $399 for one.

“My daughter, who is 8, wants one so badly this year and she is going to be so disappointed when one is not under the Christmas tree this year,” she said, speaking of the animatronic pets which come in an egg and need to be cared for so the plush animal inside hatches and grows older. “But I didn’t realize how popular they were until way too late in the season, and so they are sold out everywhere. The only place you can buy them right now are on third-party seller sites for four times the price.”

Spin Master, the US company which makes the toy, has witnessed unprecedented sales of their invention worldwide. Hatchimals usually cost between $60 and $70, but the company has sold out of the product. Representatives from Spin Master said they would be restocking “soon,” according to their website.

St. Peter said she tried several stores in Bangor on Black Friday but had no luck, and has several friends in Portland checking regularly for her.

“I am very afraid that my daughter is going to be disappointed.”

Michael Lord of Presque Isle said he “knows the pain” of parents like St. Peter.

He also tried shopping in Bangor on Black Friday, checking Target and Walmart, only to find out that they had a limited shipment of toys or that they were only giving out one toy per shopper.

“That doesn’t work very well if you have two children who want one like I do,” he said. “You can’t very well give one child the toy and not the other. That’s not fair. So I guess we’ll just have to wait until they make more.”

Lord said that something like this seems to happen every holiday season, when toy makers create a popular item but somehow only make a certain amount, leading to disappointment on Christmas morning for children, and loads of stress for adults who take “desperate measures” to get the product at jacked up prices only to regret it later when the shelves are “miraculously restocked two weeks after Christmas.”

Logan Farrah of Caribou remembers a time like this all too well and suggested a possible solution for some. He recalled “desperately wanting” a Tickle-Me-Elmo doll when it became a fad back in 1996.

“I was 7-years-old at the time and everyone in my class wanted one,” he said of the Sesame Street character that laughed and vibrated when you squeezed it. “My mother ran around like a crazy person trying to find it, but they were so scarce around Christmas that year, and my brother and sister wanted one, too. We each got little pictures of him in our stockings saying that we’d be getting one when he was back in stock. It was not exactly the same thing, but she made good on her promise.”