Retail Now

STOP Hot Wheels Theft! Download your handout today.

How many times have you walked into a retail store to see the newest premium Hot Wheels, only to see that someone has swapped the wheels — or worse, swapped the whole car? It happened to me this morning with the red mainline BMW (you see in the header pic), resealed on one of the new Replica Entertainment cards.

Well, after thinking long and hard about a way to deter such behavior — knowing full well you will never stop it entirely — I came up with a solution. I made a handy sheet that identifies the latest Hot Wheels premium releases that you can print and give to your local service desk employee the next time you find the ‘ol “diecast switcheroo”. It contains an explanation, so you don’t have to take the time to explain.

Ultimately, its up to the store to do what they want with this handy little tool; but you are now putting the ball in their court, empowering that service desk employee who knows next to nothing about Hot Wheels to at least make an informed decision. Sound good? Below is the link to download the 2-page PDF. Feel free to print and distribute as you see fit. Hopefully this will make the scum bags that do this a little more uneasy the next time they try to pull this off.

DOWNLOAD THIS FILE >> Hot_Wheels_Theft_Stopper.pdf


Categories: Retail Now

20 replies »

  1. Nice job.. all I have to do is print!
    I was hoping you could add the header photo example in the article so it can show what the pack would look like with a ‘replacement’ car, to inform the uninformed, you know?
    I was also curious to see up close, the photo you took of the ‘swap’ product. Yeah.. those store employees are either not knowledgeable or some probably could care less, but this is a great idea to maybe at least make aware, in case someone were to try their dirty tricks.
    I’d like to do something like this at a local Walmart where some freak takes his Car Culture picks (other premium stuff too remain unsafe), for example, and BENDS or DOG EARS the ones he doesn’t want. It’s not only just vandalism, but it’s just plain selfish and stupid! Karma!

    • Nice job ive found a few old swaps and a lot of cars from 5 or 6 years old I guess someone is buying new and returning old ones worth nothing! Ths for the flyer I will send it out here local and to other local collectors.

      • I actually like it when they return old stock. Sometimes you find cool stuff. Maybe not worth it to you but worth it to someone else. Old stock returns is better than switched out cars or stolen cars.

  2. It’s a fine job for sure, but working for them, I’m pretty sure Walmart won’t really care even. They don’t care what condition most of their returns are in and still ship them back to be put on the shelves.

  3. Nice Brad, I had actually done this same thing many years back for the Garage series cars and others at my local Toys R Us. Was tired of seeing mainline cars in the premium stuff. Just the other day I saw someone swap out the ’55 Gasser in the Car Show 5 pack…there’s always someone

  4. I really like this, Brad. As you may have seen, I shared this across a number of Facebook groups. I was getting feedback of “they don’t care”. When you just present it to people in a retail environment, that may be the case. I would suggest that people using this explain how stores are losing $11 on each of these fraudulent returns. $5.50 in the swapped out merchandise, and $5.50 in lost sales, as people are not going to buy a $1 car in a $5.50 package. If you talk to the Toy Manager, Asset Protection Manager, Customer Service Manager, or and Assistant/Store Manager and explain this, the store will be much more likely to get on board with showing a little more focus on the issue.

    • Thanks, Kyle. What I have inferred from those who say that is that they are most likely overwhelming the store employees with knowledge. There was even a guy who told an employee how to spot fake rivets. These are things that to everyone outside the hobby, are definitely overwhelming, and the store employee has no real ground to stand on when rejecting the return. Hopefully, this sheet empowers them to make that decision.

      I think the explanation of loss is better suited at the store manager level as they are the ones that deal with what is known as “shrink” in the retail world. This isn’t just stolen product, but its also that fact that returned cars like this tend to sit on the pegs, not allowing for them to order / auto-order new product. Therefore, they are also losing out on that potential revenue, say, what a new case of cars would bring.

  5. Brad, the point you just made about these sitting on pegs is what I was talking about in the $5.50 of lost sales. From my time in retail (12 years, half of it at management levels), the different managers I referenced are all part if the shrink committees in the store’s. If you just tell a regular employee in the department or a cashier, you’re right. It’s too much info and they don’t seem to care, as it’s “above their paygrade”. The managers that are accountable for the shrink are much more likely to push focus.

  6. A couple of months ago in a Target I found several new mainline packages that had been opened and the new car replaced with heavily played with older cars. The blisters had been stapled back on. They had been returned and restocked and none of the employees thought to question this mess. I bought one that had the XS-IVE because I like the casting.

  7. I don’t normally do this, but I couldn’t let this go. I have may views on this, from different perspectives, so please don’t take this personally….
    1st as one who loves HW and will always collect them; I have seen many opened packages with cars on the shelf or missing entirely, very disappointing that someone would do this for something that costs a dollar, or $6 in this case. But I do not believe your BMW “switch” is what you think. If you look at it, the clear holder is the intended one for that car, and there is no indication of removal. The artwork of the Acura is untouched and in perfect condition. The wheel, where the plastic overlaps is in perfect alignment. This looks like a classic factory error. I would have bought this for $6 and most like see it worth at least $25 once production stops ( I have Yellow Submarine that didn’t get riveted before packaging, paid $1 and now worth $50+ depending on who’s interested.) I would have purchased this kept it just like it was.

    2nd as someone who worked and trained others for Retail LP with large companies; in order to pull off a “switch” this perfect, someone would need to use a portable heat gun (which are loud) and have the perfect temp to soften the glue, but yet leave it tacky enough to reseal and dry in seconds. To do this with one package is a task. If 2 packages were involved, you would need to be very quick or have 2 people w/ 2 heat sources. Effort to do so would not be worth the $1-6 dollars. One explanation, if this did truly happen, BSR (buy-switch-return). Most people who would go through this process would not take the risk for an item this inexpensive.

    3rd as an ex retail manager; something at this price point isn’t worth the payroll to try and prevent. Managers have many more tasks and expensive products to keep an eye on in most cases. If an item is under $20, most large stores don’t even factor it into their total profit/loss margin. It gets bundled as a “lot” w/ an estimated total value. Again takes more payroll to account for the item itself than the store makes off of selling it. At the end of the day the bottom line is what matters to any manager or company. This just isn’t enough to make a factor for them.

    I will end this on a positive note. As a HW collector, I give you mad props for taking the time to put together the flyer, to print and pass out. I will do so just because you did, and hope others will do the same.
    PS- go back and buy the mispackaged BMW. You will be glad you did in the future.

    • Wow, thanks for your reply. I value your input. As a retail LP for large companies, your number one rule was to what: deter? If this sheet deters a small group of collectors from doing this, it worked in my eyes. It will never be the #1 end-all, as you mentioned, its really up to the retail stores to handle their own returns. Hopefully this empowers the fraction of associates who do care, and if just one person gets caught doing this, again, its another win in my eye.

      As far as the BMW in the Replica Entertainment packaging, this is by no means a factory error. I can say that 100% certainty. Replica Entertainment (and other premium lines) are manufactured in Thailand, while the mainline cars are manufactured in Malaysia. The do not cross paths until after they’ve arrived at retail. The process to cleanly de-card a car and reseal it is a fairly simply one, one that even has tutorials that I will not share, as it only empowers another scum bag to make the conscious decision to steal.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to write that! You had some great points and I only have time to address the ones that I didn’t agree with. Thank you for the support as well. Hopefully we deter at least one person in your area from doing this.

  8. Retailers aren’t going to do jack squat about these toy cars. Hell, I buy 20, 10, 9, and 5 packs all the time and take out the good castings I like and replace ’em with old or duplicate castings. Then seal it up with hot glue, and return it for a refund. It’s like getting free cars. Works ALL THE TIME! I just tell the clerk at the customer service desk that the person I got it for already had a set. No fuss, and I get my money back. Is it dishonest? Yeah, but I don’t care. It hurts NOBODY, and Mattel makes enough money.

    • Your local Chicago-area collectors must be so happy that you swap out cars with the stuff you don’t want. Obviously its easy to do, but for you to game the system and be proud of your dishonesty is a testament to your character. You’re a scum bag, please do not visit this site anymore.

    • LOL. Aren’t you that dude that keeps on getting blocked from literally EVERY HW Facebook group?

    • It pisses me off everytime I see someone does something bad like stealing, no matter how trivial is it. Even more so when their argument is it doesn’t hurt anybody. Doubly more so when they emphasize on the “NOBODY” part..

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