And now for something completely different…

While waiting for my wife to finish an errand today, I found myself staring at a claw machine. You know the ones: brightly-lit cabinets filled with stuffed animals and a dangling claw to grab them. Though I’ve never used one, I began to wonder how you’d go about beating it.

The internet has an answer for everything.


photo by spookyamd

Here’s an actual guide to winning something from a claw machine. Apparently there are two types of claws:


[A four-pronged] claw usually handles large stuffed animals. It is great for grabbing around the chest area of a stuffed animal. When you use this type of claw on a stuffed animal, try and maneuver the claw so that the four prongs are positioned above and below both arms and the central port of the claw close to the neck, or high chest area.

On the other hand:

[A three-pronged claw] usually handles small stuffed animals and small collectable basketballs. [...] Have the claw at an angle so that it covers the whole chest area of a stuffed animal; this is the best way to get things out of three pronged machines. To get a small collectible basketball, try and make sure a ball is not being surrounded by any other basketballs. [...] For best results, aim the center of the prongs in the radius center of the basketball. This technique draws a 60 to 70 percent chance of grabbing a basketball…

Did you know that there’s “no such thing as grease on a claw to make a toy slide off”? Now you do. And I love this warning:

CAUTION: Many of the managers who operate a claw machine usually pack the animals tightly such as tucking in a bear’s leg under other toys thus weighing it down so that if a perfect claw drop achieves a good grip point on the bear, it will easily slide off. DO NOT BE DECEIVED BY EASY LOOKING BEARS IN A CORNER ON A MOUNTAIN OF OTHER TOYS.

The author notes that it’s best to pick out your target toy before putting your money in the machine so that you don’t waste time deciding while the clock is running. But best of all, the entire guide wraps up with a sensible personal finance tip:

Do not overspend. Budget your money. It sometimes may be tempting to spend more than you want to play.

See? Sound money habits come in handy everywhere, even with claw machines. Just don’t get too carried away by all the neat toys you could win.

[via Open Reading Frame]