Rob Braddick was recently struck with inspiration after noticing that the toilet paper was in short supply at his local grocery store, and stocked up on the household essential. Then, the owner of Devon’s Ho Barts Amusement Arcade mostly swapped out the toys that filled the claw machines with TP, as well as in-demand hand sanitizer and soap.
"We also have a large machine that used to have a Spider-Man doll, but now there is a large Curex soap in there — that's the Rolls-Royce of hand sanitizer,” Braddick told news agency South West News Service (SWNS) of the new prizes.
"We test it, it's possible to win them but it is hard. We've had people coming in to have a go but I don't think anyone has won yet,” he said of the stunt. "It's been a bit quiet so far but I think people will start coming in to have a look.”
“There are still some toilet rolls on the shelves around here so I guess people aren't that desperate yet,” Braddick added.
As for his own business, the 48-year-old said that the arcade employees are following a strict hand-washing schedule in hopes of keeping COVID-19 at bay.
“We've put in measures where people have to wash their hands every half hour,” Braddick revealed. “So far the effect of the outbreak is unclear… but its early days and things could get worse."
As coronavirus-wary consumers stockpile emergency and household supplies, both local and national communities are reporting dire shortages.
In Australia, newspapers have been printing extra pages because of an ongoing toilet paper shortage
In New York, state officials are combatting price gouging with a germ-killing hand sanitizer produced by maximum-security prison inmates. The new sanitizer will be provided to New Yorkers free of charge, as well as those in high-risk areas that need it most.
Fox News’ Robert Gearty and Lucia I. Suarez-Sang contributed to this report.