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Cookie Monster: The Hot Wheels Red Line Club Fiasco

Published on Sat, Jun 20, 2020

By: Glenn Oyoung

The exclusive Hot Wheels Red Line Club's first sale on the Shopify platform paralyzed by cookie problem.

Some people play with Hot Wheels. Others collect them, research them, and write about them as part of a Hot Wheels culture. Mattel created the Red Line Club (RLC) to cater to the second group. If you're lucky enough to be able to join the club (membership sells out almost instantly), you get a snazzy welcome kit and access to buy exclusive items that you can't find at your local retailer.

I was able to join the RLC this year and am awaiting my midnight purple GT-R and welcome kit. In the interim, two "flash sales" have taken place - one a couple of months back featuring an RWB Porsche and one that took place earlier this month featuring a custom Datsun 510. My experience thus far has been one of the technical difficulties, which is not uncommon. On the RWB sale, the site seemed to hang, and eventually, the car sold out.

For the 510 sale, Mattel transitioned to the Shopify platform to address member concerns over the years. Unfortunately, the new check-out systems was not ready for prime time. RLC members were greeted with a perplexing comment to enable cookies. CookieGate was born.

Some users were able to get through with a workaround link, but after 45 minutes, Mattel pulled the plug on the sale. They are rescheduling, with no date announced. The Hot Wheels experts and RLC moderators at Orange Track Diecast did a thorough job of covering this story from the initial suspicions that bots were to blame to a software developer’s theory that the Buy Button programming was flawed. Either way, RLC members were left holding the bag…which was devoid of any limited-edition cars. 

Let's hope that Mattel and Shopify figure out how to rectify the situation and do plenty of beta testing before the next flash sale so that the customer experience is fixed once and for all. Otherwise, a fundamental value proposition of RLC membership is undermined.

The official statement from Hot Wheels suggests that they are on the case: “We are updating the system and running additional rounds of validation to ensure the next sale is a better, more seamless experience.”

For more information on the Hot Wheels Red Line Club, visit the Hot Wheels Collectors website.

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