Coles’ toys outrageous $500 price tag
COLES' latest collectables craze has already sparked controversy after an entire set of Stikeez was spotted on eBay with a $500 price tag just hours after launching.
Stikeez made their debut in stores yesterday, with 24 mini fruit and veggies to collect.
Stikeez - and the associated Coles Fresh Rainbow Challenge - is designed to make healthy eating fun, and customers can receive one free collectable for every $30 they spend in store.
But according to an "annoyed" news.com.au reader, by 2pm on the day of release there were already people "trying to make a quick buck" from them on eBay, with complete sets being posted for $500 plus postage as well as collector cases for $78.
"Most of the sellers have multiple items for sale," the reader said.
"You hope these are not Coles staff trying to cash in."
A Coles spokeswoman told news.com.au the Stikeez could not be sold on eBay by employees.
"We did send a very small number of samples to people involved in (the) campaign," the spokeswoman said.
"Whilst we certainly don't encourage the merchandise to be resold we're unable to prevent it."
Individual Stikeez are being offered on the site for between $9 and $15 each, while news.com.au saw a set of four rare limited edition "special effect" toys for $150.
The campaign - and the toys' subsequent sale on eBay - is making waves on collectables Facebook groups such as the 22,852 member Coles Little Shop - Minis Swap Group Australia.
"OMG already. Man people are so f*#%en greedy. What a joke," one member posted in response to news of Stikeez's hefty eBay price tag, while others said it was "sad" to see them being sold for such high prices.
It's not the first time a Coles collectables craze has sparked a frenzy.
Stikeez comes hot on the heels of the insanely popular Little Shop campaign that kicked off last July and had Aussie families scrambling to get their hands on 30 mini toy versions of popular grocery staples including Weet Bix, Vegemite and Nutella.
It was followed up by a special Christmas edition in December and in both campaigns, shoppers scored one free toy with every $30 spent in-store.
Before long, it had become a wildly popular trend, with some items similarly being sold online for astronomical prices as parents attempted to amass the entire collection for their kids.
It was so popular Facebook groups dedicated to swapping the toys began popping up on social media and swap days were held in some Coles stores - but there was widespread fury when Little Shop cases sold out across the country.
The only option left to disappointed kids and parents was online marketplaces such as eBay, where several of the coveted items were being sold for up to $35 a pop, with a complete Christmas collection including the case and all five collectables on sale for an eye-watering $100.
The Stikeez campaign is supported by the Rainbow Challenge, which encourages families to track their fruit and vegetable intake by crossing off all the fruit and vegetable colours of the rainbow each day.
Families can also pick up free posters to help keep track of the fresh produce in their diet, and Coles Fresh Ambassador and celebrity chef Curtis Stone has also helped create the challenge by developing easy recipes for kids to make with their parents.
Stikeez collector cases will be available for $4 and a range of drink bottles, plush toys, snack boxes and pouches will also be available in stores and online.
"Customers should be reassured that there's still plenty of Stikeez to collect free with every $30 they spend at Coles supermarkets, Coles Online and Coles Express and collecting them is all part of the fun," the Coles spokeswoman said.
"We are delighted (with the) customer response to Coles Fresh Stikeez and the Rainbow Challenge which encourages kids and their parents to eat more fresh fruit and veggies," she said.
"Our customers are already enjoying collecting, sharing and playing with the fruit and veg characters with their family and friends."