Going shopping at the local mall may have gotten a little more interesting. That is for people living in North Texas where motorized stuffed animals are taking over.
They are the brainchild of a company called Those Animals. It operates in several malls in North Texas where it rents big motorized stuffed animals to kids and adults to ride around the mall. You can use them to transport yourself and your shopping around the mall or simply to give your child something fun to do while you shop.
Those Animals kiosks or stores can be found at Grapevine Mills Mall, Irving Mall, Ridgmar Mall in Fort Worth, Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville and Collin Creek Mall, Dallas News reports. If there is enough interest, with time there could be motorized stuffed animals in other malls, too.
The prices? $6 for 10 minutes and $20 for a full hour. You can go all round the mall (but outside of the stores) with the motorized stuffed animal, but you can’t leave the building with it. You can choose from zebras, pandas, rhinos, dinosaurs, donkeys, dragons, koalas. There are more motorized stuffed animals to choose from and there will be even more coming.
They aren’t fast. They move at about normal walking speed. The goal is not to be racing in the malls, but simply to have a safe, fun experience for children.
“This is something that parents will use as a reward for their children,” says Steve Wathen, regional mall manager for Those Animals. Usually Those Animals does not require a certain age, height or weight to ride one of their stuffies. Animals can hold up to 500 pounds; so parents can ride with their younger children if they deem it safer.
“A lot of people will actually rent them rather than use a wheelchair because they’re more fun to ride around,” Cheryl Walsh, president of SiriusCEO, says and notes that people with disabilities also are interested in the toys. The company is helping Those Animals expand in the entire country.
The company is listening to customer feedback and will be adding new improvements to the stuffies. “Customers have talked about arm bands. If they get more than 5 feet away, the animal shuts off so they can go into the store” Wathen says.
This is the second attempt of a company at the business. The first was in 2013 where it was using Chinese-made animals. It turned they weren’t safe or reliable, so they were dropped. Those Animals is using improved motorized stuffed animals which are really gaining traction. On weekends there can even be waiting lines for a chance to rent one. Maybe malls would have to think of traffic signs to regulate the traffic of motorized stuffies roaming around? That would be fun, actually.