Coronavirus fear sees hand sanitiser replaces teddies as arcade prizes

The easiest way to get some hand gel! Amusement arcade’s 50p-a-pop claw machines have bottles of sanitiser and toilet roll as prizes instead of giant teddies

  • Ho!Barts in Devon introduces cleaning products as prizes as virus fears spread
  • Soap and toilet roll have replaced toys because ‘they’re probably more valuable’
  • Owner Rob Braddick, 48, admits the outbreak might be good for his business

Hand sanitiser and toilet rolls have replaced giant teddies as prizes at a Devon arcade in a tongue-in-cheek jab at shortages caused by coronavirus chaos.

Shoppers across the country have been panic-buying cleaning essentials in huge quantities as fears continue to grow over the spread of Covid-19.

As a result, Rob Braddick, owner of Ho!Barts arcade in Bideford, decided to make a couple of alterations to the classic claw games.

A bottle of Carex hand sanitiser, pictured, hangs in place of a 3ft Spiderman toy at Ho!Barts arcade in Devon, in a tongue-in-cheek jab at shortages caused by coronavirus chaos

In two machines which cost 50p for three goes, the 48-year-old has placed a pile of loo roll ready to be won, and next to that, a load of Carex hand soap is also up for grabs.

However, the big prize is a solitary bottle of Carex aloe vera hand sanitiser hanging from a machine called Giant Prize Pod PRO.

Rob, who has been running the family business for 20 years, said: ‘Those hand sanitisers are like hen’s teeth.

‘I found it in a cupboard above the sink at home at the weekend and it was completely unopened.

Classic children’s toys have made way for hand soap and toilet roll as customers across the UK continue to panic-buy cleaning essentials

‘There used to be a 3ft tall Spiderman in the pod before, but that tiny bottle of sanitiser is probably more valuable at the moment.

‘Having seen a picture online from America where there was toilet roll in a grabber machine, it gave me an idea to try and lighten the mood.

‘It’s just meant to be a little bit of fun.’

To make space for the new offerings, Rob swapped out Peter Rabbit teddies in place of the washing materials.

Arcade owner Rob Braddick, pictured, found the hand sanitiser, which he described as ‘like hen’s teeth’, in a cupboard above the sink at his home

Rob said: ‘We’ve had people come down to check if the machines are real and not just some PR exercise.

‘But we swapped the toys out and now there is soap and the all-important hand sanitiser.

‘It’s a Monday and it’s a bit rainy so we haven’t had too much business yet.’

Rob, whose family have owned the arcade since 1932 and who also owns Braddick’s Holiday Centre in the town, said the coronavirus outbreak might be good for business.

Mr Braddick admits the Covid-19 outbreak might be good for his business, pictured, with people becoming increasingly fearful of travelling abroad

Rob said: ‘I’ve had people ring up and say they’re not going to go abroad for their holidays this year.

‘So they’re thinking of coming down to Devon, which will be good for us.

‘We have thousands of visitors each year, so the more the merrier.’

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