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Mario Kart has invaded Target, and it’s stressing me out

This promo gets a little too realistic


Target’s prepping for next week’s launch of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch with a nationwide, in-store promotion. Most of what the retailer’s doing is cute and on-brand; shopping carts have been Mario Kart-ified, for example. But the campaign gets interactive, sending our Mario Kart-related anxiety goes through the roof.

When walking into participating Target stores this week, Mario Kart players will be greeted by a familiar noise: the beeping of the countdown timer that goes off before every race.

We all have some deeply held associations with that sound, both positive and negative. Maybe it takes you back to the good old days, when you could nail that starting line speed boost trick every time. Or maybe your response is Pavlovian, as your palms get sweaty and you psych yourself out revving up the engine at just the right moment, lest you start the race in dead last.

I 100 percent fall into the latter camp these days. (If someone wants to re-explain that speed boost trick to me, I’d appreciate it.) As such, I might have to avoid Target until this promo is over, as much as I love Mario Kart.

Even Target points to how stressful the Mario Kart starting bell can be in its press release about the promo:

“Walking through Target doors always brings a little rush, but this time you’re crossing a starting line! As you walk through, motion sensors fire up flashing lights and play Mario’s catchy theme song.”

Sure, Target ... “a little rush” is one way to describe it. We’d expect it to be way more than a little rush, when shoppers start running instinctively as soon as that final bell goes off.

At least the entrance bell doesn’t freak us out in quite the same way as these Mario- and Luigi-decorated balls, which sit outside certain Target locations:

These are called bollards and we hate them.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Switch arrives on April 28. Target hasn’t said how long this promo will last.

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