Toys R Us Advertising Date Rape Drug Laced Aquadots As A "Door Buster"

We’ve been getting several complaints today about Toys R Us’ “Door Buster” newspaper ad. They’re still advertising the GHB-laced Aquadots, despite the recall. (Right next to some ominous-looking Thomas & Friends toys, we might add.)

Marc says:

I just picked up the morning edition of the Louisville, KY newspaper – The Courier Journal to read while eating breakfast at a local Waffle House. In it was the following circular ad for a Toys-R-US sale. I almost choked to death when I opened the circular to see on the inside right hand page, just below the fold, a 25% off advertisement for the Aqua Dots starter pack.

Bill says:

I haven’t been paying too close attention so I don’t know if the whole aquadots/GHB thing has been resolved. But in today’s edition of the Ventura County Star, the daily in our Southern California county, an insert from Toy’s R Us advertising its “Doorbusters” sale included a 25% off ad for Aquadots. I don’t know the situation on the actual store shelves, but I’m curious if instead of recalling the toy they’ve just decided that date rape at three-quarters the price will make sure their doors get busted down?

GHB seeking perverts and ravers will be disappointed, Toys R Us replaced the Aquadots with $10 off some Duplo blocks on the version of the ad posted to their website. Guess they figured it wasn’t worth the money to reprint the newspaper circulars.

Toys R Us

Comments

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  1. mexifelio says:

    *googles nearest Toys-R-Us

  2. Bassdrop says:

    Hopefully Toys R Us is better able to remove recalled products from their shelves than Wal-Mart (ie. tainted pet food, nazi t-shirts). The Aqua Dots were one of Wal-Mart’s top 12 toy picks for the holiday season too… hopefully they can do a better job themselves on this one.

  3. chaintothread says:

    Intriguing. What kind of drugs come with the Duplo blocks?

  4. DigitalMariner says:

    Quite a non-story. These ads are often printed so early that replacing them may be difficult or impossible for such a situation. Aquadots are also listed on several “leaked” Black Friday ads, such as Target.

    Unless they’re still selling them (like Walmart’s Nazi shirt) what’s the big deal? Slow news day indeed…

  5. coss3n says:

    Totally an unfair criticism. Those circulars are printed months in advance, before the recall. The *real* question is whether the GHB-Dots will be on the store shelves.

  6. Finder says:

    Can we can the sensationalist “date rape drug” headlines please? Get a grip.

  7. SkyeBlue says:

    So………..let me see…..if I were to go into say a store and deliberately lace a product with poison I would go to jail for years and years, but a store can have a recalled item still on the shelves AND advertise them for sale and no one is arrested?

  8. lotides says:

    Ravers = good memories. I still have my turntables. Pity it lost it’s “cool.”

  9. stjoehawk says:

    @SkyeBlue: Good point. Which store still has them on the shelves?

  10. invaderzim says:

    Consumerist – keep going in the diredtion you are going and this site is going to be as bad as TMZ.

    You know (and we all know) that adds are printed weeks in advance. TRU does not have these in store and most papers that ran this add had a small add in the mail section of the paper that said these were not available.

  11. Beerad says:

    Yeah, I’m with TRU on this one — what were they supposed to do, pull all of their planned advertising on a week’s notice? I agree with the above posters that as long as they’re off the shelves, that’s the important thing.

  12. vanilla-fro says:

    I would hope these are way off the shelf, like possibly collected by one agency or another and disposed of properly.

  13. tadowguy says:

    TFB that they are printed “months in advance”, time to re-print them. How can you send out a reassuring letter and have these ads go out on the same day? Even if you don’t sell the toys anymore, this really highlights your commitment to toy safety. The “poor poor Toys-R-Us can’t possibly pull advertising” argument is BS. Toys-R-Us sold a toxic defective product and if they lose some sales or have to reprint circulars, that’s part of their just desserts.

  14. drjayphd says:

    (INSERT “BACK DOOR BUSTER” JOKE HERE)

  15. rlue says:

    @Finder:

    I completely agree–Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) is a much more common date rape drug, as it induces anterograde amnesia at high enough doses, whereas GHB merely induces a coma (or death, if you’re into that).

    Let’s get our psychoactives straight.

  16. target_veteran says:

    @tadowguy:
    Reprinting circulars is not an option. Any decent quality mass-production piece like that was probably on the printing press a month ago and shipped a week or two later. Pulling the circulars is an option, but may not be possible due to contracts with various newspapers. Consider that readers will purchase a paper specifically for this advertisement. There’s probably a time limit on when the company can recall the ads and provisions on replacing it. Since the story only broke but recently (two weeks), there was exactly no time to redesign, proof, submit, run, and ship literally tonnes of ads. Especially not when a simple correction on the website and conspicuous signage in store do the job just as well.

    Now, if the stuff is still on the shelves, boo on those stores for not following internal communications. But to blame them for not completing a month-long process in a week or two… that’s just ignorance.

    What part of “can’t pull the ads” argument is BS? Contracts probably state that they can’t. The company is demonstrating a commitment to safety: admitting wrong, posting signage in store, and publicly stating that they’re correcting the situation. Corporations suck, but at least acknowledge that logistics and contracts exist.

  17. rjlewis74 says:

    i saw this in the sale paper this morning. Oddly enough i had already had planned on going to Toys R Us this evening to do some early holiday shopping. I will give you guys an update later to see if they are actually in the store.

  18. Beerad says:

    @tadowguy: Wow, hope you never run a business and have to deal with such unforgiving patrons. Not sure why Toys R Us needs to lose a lot of business simply because they ran an ad for a dangerous product that they’ve pulled off the shelves.

    What’s the upsetting part for you here? That people are lured into trying to buy the recalled items based on the ad but can’t get them? That people think TRU is still selling them (which is TRU’s biggest problem)?

    Do you honestly think that having a “committment to toy safety” requires dumping thousands of dollars of a national ad campaign prior to the biggest shopping period of the year (if even possible) just because a recalled toy (which, remember, you’re pulling off your shelves) is incorrectly listed in the ad?

  19. Finder says:

    @rlue: I’m holding out for such headlines as, Popular Date Rape Drug Alcohol Fuels Record Teen Pregnancies.

  20. Xkeeper says:

    @invaderzim: Ad. Ad. Ad. Ad. Ad.

    Your mistakes are adding up and it’s getting irritating.

    But yes, this would be less newsworthy if there was information on if it was a) actually buyable or b) not mentioned somewhere in the actual store that it was recalled.

  21. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    Come on. You used to be able to buy GHB at any health food stoee around… even GNC. It was a party drug predominantly, while Rohypnol was the “date rape” drug (hence the phrase “slipped a roofie”).

    From what I was led to believe, these toys contained GBL, which is a precurser to GHB, and is a chemical that is used in A LOT of different applications. I think this is a sensationalistic shock story and is just the medias latest attempt to keep the “unsafe toys” storyline going.

    My largest concern is that the Consumerist has begun to publish more and more of these stories and seems to be heading in the direction of the supermarket tabbloids instead of toward consumer advocacy/consumer rights.

  22. Freedomboy says:

    Just sad that TRU couldn’t be the greatest friend of children ever and have a huge poster at the front door of every store explaining the error and why is happened and assuring the whole world that none of it’s products is allowed in the store if it doesn’t meet safety standards.

    Be a headline, not just here, but everywhere.

    Oh, have any of these made it into any Toys for Tots barrels? Hmmmmmm?

  23. drjayphd says:

    @drjayphd: …upon further review, I’ll be deleting that comment, once we can do that…

    @Finder: Only when the biggest stories of the year get wrapped up in one big Chinese Porn-Stealing Door-To-Door Date-Rape Poison Train Extravaganza.

  24. SkyeBlue says:

    If we can get the Toys R US people to send Britney Spears, OJ Simpson and (“Brangelina” or add your own favorite) directly to China I can forgive and forget and call “LeadPaintGate” a draw.

  25. Protector says:

    I work at TRU and can assure you these are nowhere near shelves and are stacked high in our back room ready to be sent back to the manufacturer.

    And yes, that ad was printed weeks in advance before the recall occurred.

  26. Mr. Gunn says:

    For the last goddamn time, GHB is not and never has been a date rape drug!

    Several people have corrected y’all about this in the previous 3 posts, so I’d really like to know why you persist with this unfounded sensationalism.

    /soylent solvent is made of date rapists!!!1!!one!!

  27. Joedel263 says:

    @Freedomboy:

    TRU does have a big sign at it’s front door that no products are allowed in the store that don’t meet safety standards. It looks like this..

    [www3.toysrus.com]

    and just out of curiosity, why was it ok for Walmart to have Aquadots featured on one of the first few pages of their christmas catalog (released this past sunday) but Toys gets criticized because it’s in their weekly ad? They aren’t selling the toys, they will gladly take them back even if you didn’t purchase them there, and they cared enough to send out an email to everyone who purchased them at their stores..

    all ads are printed weeks in advance, I would not be surprised if Aquadots are featured in some black friday ads (some of which have been posted on the web for weeks)

    Don’t people have more important things to whine about??

  28. Bix says:

    @Mr. Gunn:
    Since when is it not a date rape drug/

  29. rbb says:

    I’ll bet that if Marc and Bill read their local paper from cover to cover, they probably would have found a small ad from Toys ‘R Us stating the error in their flyer and that the item was not available.

  30. Arsenal6 says:

    lol shit that sad…goo product testing!

  31. Electroqueen says:

    Bah! I don’t think TRU will be that good at recalling its products.
    I was in their video game section in Times Square, and some of the merchandise was supposed to be recalled months ago. When I went to make the purchase, they were very anal about selling penny merchandise. It’s their fault for not pulling those old strategy guides off the shelves.
    For this toy… Hmm.. I see a slight chance.

  32. floofy says:

    Good Lord I’m sick of all these recalls. I survived lawn darts, blacktop playgrounds, and years of helmetless bike riding. Some kid’s gonna swallow a refrigerator magnet and before you know it those will be recalled too.

  33. DanGarion says:

    This site was really cool for about a month, but these types of articles with no real news are getting out of control. Anyone with common sense realize you can’t just pull an ad and reprint it, without major cost implications. It’s easier and more cost effective (to the company and the consumer) to just let the ad run and then in the store to notify the consumer that the item is recalled.

  34. Mr. Gunn says:

    Bix: Since forever. There was a story in Wired years back, when it was still legal, and he described it as tasting like salty burnt rubber or paint. How are you going to slip that in someone’s drink?

    /not the first thing the media’s lied to you about
    //won’t be the last