Consumerism Reports: The $17.99 Claw Game for My Little Pills

Taking psychiatric meds doesn’t have to be a chore

prescriptive authority
Consumerism Reports

When I started getting ads on Instagram and TikTok for a handheld claw game that teens were stocking with their anti-psychotic meds and stimulants to transform the ritual of pill-taking into an infuriating little arcade game, I knew it was only a matter of time before I owned one. I buy much dumber stuff for a lot more money off Instagram all the time.

As far as I can tell, a few different companies sell the miniature anti-psychotic claw game under different brand names, but the product itself is like a drop-shipped item: manufactured abroad and marked up for American consumers. I bought VitaArcade’s version for $17, because I thought the copy on the website was compelling.

Turn everyday mundane tasks into extrodinary [sic] arcade games 🕹✨ Sick of taking your daily suppliments [sic again] the same boring way 🥱 Be bored no more with our wide range of fun, luxury & innovative dispensers 🎉,” VitaArcade beckoned. Sold!

When my “extrodinary” arcade game came three weeks later, I stuffed it with generic 100 mg Sertraline tablets roughly the size of Pez pieces.

Immediately, I encountered an issue with gameplay: it is not fun. Equipped with three discrete rudimentary control levers, my pointer fingers and thumbs could theoretically raise and lower the arm, swivel it side to side, and clench the claw. None of them worked well for me at all. After ten minutes, I was able to affix the claw to one pill. That’s as far as I got.

What was I missing? Why were all the automated voice overs on TikTok having so much fun and combating so much mental illness via the claw toy? I watched so many of these videos, looking for a cure.

I made one on my own in the style of the above video, hoping that recording it on TikTok was the missing compound of my prescription. I felt a lot of anxiety about it, but hoped it would be the thing that would make me happier than ever.

It wasn’t.