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McDonald’s X Cactus Plant Flea Market’s Latest ‘Adult Happy Meal’ Proves to be Success

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Numerous McDonald’s locations across the country have launched a collaborative effort with esteemed clothing brand Cactus Plant Flea Market. The two have joined forces to bring forth a reinvention of their “Adult Happy Meal” which was earlier released Oct. 3. 

Being served in a classic — yet redesigned — box comes a choice of 10 chicken-nuggets or a Big Mac, fries and a soft drink. Each meal comes with one-of-four randomized figurines, which take a twist on original McDonald’s characters. These characters include Grimace, the Hamburglar, Birdie and Cactus Buddy. Every character has a twist on it: they all have four eyes to match the brand’s happy face logo. 

This is not the first time McDonald’s has released a special meal as a limited release. Previously, the restaurant has collaborated with names such as BTS, Travis Scott and Saweetie. With these temporary releases, fans lined up to get their hands on these meals and exclusive sauces in their orders. 

Fashion enthusiasts have been the recent target audience for these hyped collaborations, especially with the additions of congruent clothing. The prices for the pieces are steeper than the actual meal, destined to go higher once they’re sold out online.

That being said, the fashion market is known for buying and reselling items at a hefty price — up to three times more than the original cost. Brands like Supreme and Stüssy have its buyers lining up and grabbing their products within seconds of a release. Cactus Plant Flea Market, in the same sense, is highly sought after and runs through their inventory in the blink of an eye. Moreso, when these releases are quickly fleeting, fans want to get their hands on such collectibles — McDonald’s plastic toys become prized collectibles for those who caught the drop in time. 

Resellers are already hiking up prices for toys just days after the “Adult Happy Meal” release. Still in stock at some locations, sellers are listing the paper boxes — separately — on high-end resale sites like Grailed and Ebay. McDonald’s noted in a statement to Axios that, “the hype for the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box was so real that some of our restaurants have sold out of the limited-edition experience.” 

Customers are becoming upset at the impossibility of purchasing these meals. The frustration mirrors that of Popeye’s customers in 2019 when the famous chicken sandwich sold out, resulting in someone’s death. Though it does not seem these meals will reach this extremity and devastation, it is still straining employees with a dense amount of orders to handle. One McDonald’s employee wrote through a Reddit post, “we were swamped with Big Mac meals. Now with this we have to literally stockpile them to survive a rush. I hate it.” 

“We ran out of boxes the first day we had them… ran out of toys the second… and on the third day we had to say the truck doesn’t come till tomorrow,” another worker said.

With the success of this collaboration, it won’t be long before another hype wave hits their store again. 

Back in 2017, McDonald’s dealt with a surplus of customers rushing to buy “Rick and Morty” Szechuan sauce. One location called for law enforcement after a group of people stood outside the restaurant chanting, “We want sauce!” Drops like CPFM x McDonald’s adds to the canon of overloaded fast food workers fulfilling an unreasonable amount of orders.

McDonald’s “Adult Happy Meal” will only remain while supplies last. So far, its scarcity makes it a hot commodity for many and will continue to leave customers scrambling until they can purchase what’s left. It is in high hopes that customers will be understanding with the employees serving them — lacking promo meals wasn’t their fault back then and it isn’t their fault now.

Lexis Pham is an Arts & Entertainment Intern for the fall 2022 quarter. She can be reached at lexisp@uci.edu