Black Friday is past and Small Business Saturday is in the books.
Now holiday shoppers set their sights on Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest shopping day of the season for those who shop online.
Some of those purchases will be local. Some will be from around the world. Many will be just the right gift. Others will be the wrong size, wrong item or just plain wrong. I shop online, but I still say shopping in brick and mortar stores makes me much more comfortable with my purchases.
Hopefully, no one will be buying recalled or dangerous toys from internet retailers who are trying to skirt the rules.
Forty years ago, Saturday Night Live had a great segment featuring Candice Bergen as a news reporter interviewing Irwin Mainway (Dan Aykroyd) who defended his dangerous line of toys.
Mainway Inc. sold wonderful items like:
• Pretty Peggy Ear Piercing Set.
• Mr. Skin Grafter.
• General Tron Secret Police Confession Kit
• Doggy Dentist and
• Johnny Switchblade – a Ken doll that has two sharp knives pop out of his arms when his head is pushed down.
Of course the most popular gift that came out of the skit was the $1.98 (it was only 1976) Bag of Glass – “simply a bag of jagged dangerous glass bits” that Akroyd’s character assured the reporter sells very well. “Kids pick up glass anywhere, the beach, the street, garbage cans, parking lots, all over the place in a big city. We’re just packaging what the kids want. We put a warning on every bag. Kid, be careful, broken glass.”
The reporter calls it “a sad situation, one of the precious joys of Christmas warped by a ruthless profiteer like yourself.”
But when you are shopping online or in stores, remember that it isn’t just comedic villains that profit off of dangerous toys.
The U.S. PIRG Education Fund puts out an annual toy safety report. They focus on toys that have been deemed dangerous enough to be recalled yet they are still available for purchase online.
There are no bags of glass or Johnny Switchblades, but they do have a dozen toys coated with lead paint, multiple choking hazards and hoverboards and mobile devices whose batteries overheat and present fire hazards that were recalled from stores but can still be found for sale on websites.
NBC News also listed a group of ten toys that are dangerous if used improperly or by children who are too young to play with them safely.
There are pillows for babies under one year old who are not supposed to use pillows at all, slimeball slingers and NERF projectiles that are fired fast enough that they can be dangerous without protective eyewear, and a Warcraft Doomhammer – an actual toy hammer that could bring actual doom if a child decided to hit a friend with it.
Many Americans say they hate government regulations, but those same people shop for their kids knowing they are safe from things like lead painted playthings, tainted toys or dangerous devices.
But in the internet age, even those toys that have been caught in the net of government regulations can still be found online.
Keep your kids safe and make sure bags of glass and chainsaw teddy bears aren’t on your child’s wish list this year.
Trust me, the neighbors will thank you.