How Can We Learn From Claw Machines (Again)?

My favourite claw machine brand rigged the game so badly that you can’t catch anything UP AT ALL till it is pay out after 12 tries.

It is ridiculous. They might earn 10 to 20 dollars off each customer. Heck, they might even earn over 50 dollars off a naive customer. But customers are not dumb, they will catch up eventually. The business is earning money on a short term basis, but losing loyalty every single minute they’re allowing this business model to continue. Is it allowed? Definitely. Will they continue? Probably. Do they care? I doubt so. Do they have to? No. It is simply good enough for them, or at least for now till they start to bleed.

We’re back to the same old situation of urgent vs important.

There are two ways to catch a plane. The first way, believe it or not, happens to be the most common, is to leave on time, pray that your cab doesn’t get lost and actually comes on time, repeatedly glance at your watch, and then start moving faster. Before you know it, you’re zigzagging in and out of lines with a pace you convince yourself that it is not jogging. It is merely power walking. Four gates away, you break into a run. If you’re fortunate, you barely make the flight. If not, ha ha ha. The second way is to leave for the airport 15 minutes earlier. If we focus on the important stuff, the urgent will take care of itself. Too often, we use the urgent as an excuse for sloppy decision-making. Absurdly rigged claw machines is a prime example of sloppy decision-making. It is like ordering chicken chop as your takeaway option only to be given ridiculously weak plastic knives almost deliberately intended to be broken by the chicken instead. Urgent is not an excuse.

Urgent is often a sign that we have been putting off the important stuff until it mushrooms out of control.

It is simple to justify running for our planes when it is leaving in three minutes and we’re only four gates away. It is much more difficult to justify waking up 15 minutes earlier to avoid the problem altogether. However, waking up early is the single most efficient and effective way to prevent further urgent matters to pop up. It may seem foolish to the person lying in bed next to you, but we only start to reap the rewards of a tough decision when we are taking a pleasant stroll to the gate. We appreciate it even more when we happen to chance upon a friend we haven’t spoke to in awhile.

Imagine that, as compared to frantically waving goodbye to your friend even before he said hello.

Rather than justifying draconian measures, let me, if I may, propose a simple solution. The key idea is to embrace and encourage the concept of “I care, not because I have to. I care, because I want to.” If you genuinely care about your business, you wouldn’t make your business lose customers. If you genuinely care about your customers, you wouldn’t make your customers lose their trust.

The way to genuinely care for your customers is allow them to have a fair game of claw machine in a way where they can learn with each progressive try.

  1. Adjust claw settings to a minimum level where it can actually pick up the toy. There should be no instance whereby the strength of the claw goes beneath this level.
  2. Put in themed toys (E.g. Pokemon, Disney, etc) where it is generally bigger and heavier in size. It needs to be worthy for its value to be tried for at least a couple of times.
  3. Adjust prize chute to be slightly taller in the event that catch rates happen to be too frequent.
  4. Introduce better promotional rates to encourage customers to change more tokens in one go. $2 for 2 coins. $10 for $12 coins. $30 for 40 coins. $50 for 75 coins.



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Terence C.

Terence C.

There is a fine line between fishing and doing nothing. We would like to think that we’re fishing, but the truth is we don’t have the line.