You know how sometimes you buy some electronic device at Best Buy or Staples, and the cashier asks if you want some sort of insurance for your device? Of course, you don’t want your device to go kaput on you. But do you really need that insurance? Probably not. It only preys on your fear of your purchase going bad at some point.
Now how about your $1.29 Hot Wheels car?
Wait—what? Insurance for a basic Hot Wheels? Yes, indeed.
I was purchasing a Hot Wheels Batman car for $1.29 at Target’s self-checkout. The screen displayed an offer stating: “Select Plan: $3.00 2-Year Toy Protection Plan ($.01-$9.99) – Allstate“
The options were “No thanks” and “Select Plan“. You can guess which one I chose.
This is bizarre on so many levels.
- Who would EVER buy insurance for a $1.29 toy?
The insurance costs MORE than the toy itself. Let’s say you don’t buy the insurance and your toy breaks. You would pay $1.29 for another toy. Now you are standing at a total of $2.58 for your two cars. That’s still less than the insurance. The cost of the insurance doesn’t even cover the replacement value of the toy.
- Hot Wheels are guaranteed for life
Seriously. They have this on their package. Hot Wheels are built to last. There’s a reason why kids can still play with a 40-year-old Hot Wheel. If the wheel pops off? Mattel will send you eight random cars to replace your one broken car (per Reddit users).
- A legit insurance company
Allstate is the company behind this insurance—not some random no-name company pushing weird-o insurance. This is a legit company. If we started singing, “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way. The Batmobile lost its wheel, and the Joker got away.” Would… Allstate cover the damages to the car?
- Allstate already covers real cars
Is Allstate getting into the toy car business too?
- Only two years
The insurance lasts only two years? Please! As mentioned before, Hot Wheels last decades, not just years. In the context of Hot Wheels, two years is like eating a hot dog. Boom. Two years, gone.
I tapped “No, thanks” on the screen and moved on. Actually, I was buying a second Batmobile (both are for my cousin and his nephew. I would bear no shame if I were purchasing two for myself. I love Hot Wheels. I already have two different Batmobiles, I had to resist the urge to get one for myself. I’m teaching myself to be content.).
Anyhow, I scanned in the second Batmobile, and yup, the SAME offer came up. Which of course it did, this is all programmed. But since this is such a silly offer, they really had to push it twice. Like, c’mon, you didn’t take it the first time, but you ARE having second thoughts, right? Right?
A side note on how I discovered these cars. Last week I encountered two of these Batmobiles hanging on the pegs at Target. The pegs were rather full, so it looked like this was a pretty recent shipment. (Yeah, I’ve been to the Hotwheels section at Target lately and I can tell).
When I got home I emailed my cousin about them, and he said he’d take two. And I’ll take any excuse to go back to the toy section at Target!
The following week I went to Target hoping the cars would be there. But I knew that they would be gone. I had hung the two Batmobiles in the front of the rack, because when I find cars I like, I don’t hide them. I put them plain in sight. I WANT people to buy these cars. The more people buy Hot Wheels, the more often the store will replenish their supply and keep it fresh. And it’s just fun helping to promote cool cars. It’s a little bit like, “Here’s Matt Maldre’s selection”… which wouldn’t that be fun? I should put little sticky notes on some of the Hot Wheels in the store with comments.
When I approached the racks, indeed, there were no Batmobiles hanging on the pegs. Disappointed, I moved on.
But then in the aisle cap, there was a giant blue box of Hot Wheels. All randomly thrown in there.
This must be a new thing that Target is doing. Jewel and Mariano’s does this giant box thing. I guess it must be less work for the employees to have to constantly be picking up cars that fall off the hanging pegs. Yeah, just toss ’em all into a box.
Or maybe this is a marketing ploy like at Costco. Drop the products on a pallet, and it makes people think they are getting a great deal! A few psychological things happen with this pallet technique.
- Urgency: That pallet makes the product look like it was just placed on the floor, creating a sense in the shopper, “oh I gotta get this now, because they just put these out”
- Attention: the pallet can put in different places in the store, sometimes right in the middle of the aisle. This gets the shoppers attention.
- Affordability: the store isn’t spending money on fancy shelves. The savings get passesd onto the customer.
Ok, so the Hot Wheels at Target are not on a pallet. But the box with the cars just tossed in gives the same feeling.
- Urgency: This box is really full, they must have put all these cars into the box just now. I gotta get ’em before someone else does!
- Attention: The box is on the end cap where you encounter it while walking down the aisle.
- Affordability: The cars seem to be tossed aside, because nobody else wants ’em, so they gotta cost less!
So yeah, there’s a big blue box with Hot Wheels, and I will always dig into these boxes in hope of a car that someone else passed over. I fall sucker for it every time.
And certainly enough, that was true. I found FOUR Batmobiles in this box. FOUR. The racks had NONE. The box had four. How could this be? I like to think people bought all the Batmobiles on the hanging pegs, because those are much easier to look through. If you see a Batmobile hanging there—bam, it’s gone. In the box, it’s hidden. It’s a secret! Batman likes to hang out in the mystery box.
Although most likely, it was some kid that pulled a Batmobile off the hanging peg, and then the parent discarded the car into the box in the aisle. Which works for me!
Do you have any stories about weird insurance offers? Or do you have any fun Hot Wheels stories? Please leave them in the comments.
The art on the Hot Wheels packages usually makes the car look super incredible. But in this case for the Batman Forever Batmobile, the art is oddly lacking. It looks really fake. The Batmobile is supposed to be sleek and exciting, not like some quick version of vector art.
This is one case where the actual toy itself is much better than the illustration on the packaging.
I’m still tempted to go out and buy one for myself—especially now that I wrote a 1,000-word blog post about it. And maybe this time I’ll buy the $3 insurance, just to see what happens.