Man Arrested For Smashing "Dangerous" "Toy Lamp" Outside Walmart

Based on an advocacy group’s “10 Most Dangerous Toys” list, an Arkansas man became convinced that a Dora the Explorer lamp sold at Walmart posed an imminent electrical shock threat to any children for whom which it was bought, so he conducted his own personal recall

Though sold in the toy section, the lamp comes with the warning, “THIS IS AN ELECTRIC LAMP – NOT A TOY! TO AVOID RISK OF FIRE, BURNS, PERSONAL INJURY AND ELECTRIC SHOCK, IT SHOULD NOT BE PLAYED WITH OR PLACED WHERE SMALL CHILDREN CAN REACH IT.”

First he warned shoppers away from buying it. Then he confronted the manager and urged him to take it off the shelves. Failing that, he bought the floor model, then the next one when they brought out another from the back. Seeing they were just going to keep bringing them out, he took the next lamp outside and smashed it. He was arrested for shoplifting. Welcome to the zeitgeist. People are so fed up with unsafe products for kids that they’re being driven to acts of man-on-toy violence.

“>A Wal-Mart Christmas Toy Story: Shopper Jailed For Removing Dangerous Baby Toy [Huffington Post] (Thanks to Mike!)

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  1. laserjobs says:

    THIS IS SPARTA!!!

  2. Xkeeper says:

    The guy should’ve just informed the local media and news outlets instead of taking it upon himself to destroy shit.

    I think he got what he deserved, even if I think Wal-Mart was stupid for leaving them there.

  3. DanglinModifiers says:

    First a 75 year old lady smashes up Comcast with a hammer, now we have a 72 year old breaking stolen lamps in a parking lot. These two need their own reality show!

  4. ARP says:

    I have mixed opinions on this.

    1)The “law and order” in me says it was stupid of him to do it.

    2) The liberal in me says that since the current government fails to provide any meaningful oversight of products, it was somewhat justified. Yes, there’s a warning, but tell that to a 3 year old who can’t read.

    3) The libertarian in me says that the package clearly says that its not a toy, people should exhibit some personal responsibility and decide whether its too dangerous to own or not.

  5. coan_net says:

    Don’t anyone tell him that Hot Dogs can be dangerous for kids also – yet parents still give them to children – would hate to see what he does with all the unsold hot dogs…

  6. Half Beast says:

    I can understand. Soothsaying isn’t really an effective medium unless you are smashing the hell out of something in the process.

  7. headon says:

    Man o Man when will people learn. No good deed goes unpunished.
    Kids, let em fend for themselves. We keep this up and the parents will have nothing to do.
    Enough coddling already.

  8. If he was that pissed and didn’t care about the consequences, it would of been more effective to threaten then break the arms of the person continuing the restocking of the shelf.

  9. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Back in my day we would tape lamps like this onto broomsticks and electrocute each other. A little shock won’t hurt the lil’ ones but it will make them think twice about playing with a lamp.

  10. PinkBox says:

    If anything, his stunt bought more media exposure to the issue.

  11. catcherintheeye says:

    @SaveMeJeebus: Just like the parent who lets their kid put pennies in electric sockets.

    “He won’t do that again!” I miss the ways of old.

  12. Trai_Dep says:

    This is related to the “FDA lacks funding to do their job” story above.

    This is something societies learned long ago: either let society protect its own, or the people will do so on an “entrepreneurial” basis. The same way we band together and let police and the courts deal with criminals, rather than a Hanging Party, one thing the Paultards and other Republicans fail to understand is, make stuff fair and safe, or chaos will result. So even if YOU like being sodomized by Big Business then like to blow them kisses afterwards, hoping for a reach-around, do you really want yahoos running around taking matters into their own hands?

  13. elislider says:

    i would keep any lamp that seems to depict a small child caught in the act of masturbation away from any children i have or know. of course, this is walmart we’re talking about

  14. kris in seattle says:

    @laserjobs: Nice.

  15. Half Beast says:

    @elislider: Dora, please STOP exploring.

  16. Froggmann says:

    Gee, without guys like this protecting my young self I don’t know how I survived childhood! Oh yea, that’s right common sense!

  17. swalve says:

    You’re making this guy out to be a hero?? He’s a nut!

    It says right on the package that it’s not a toy. If he can read it, why can’t everyone else? No, he’s a nut. He thinks he is so much smarter than everyone in the store for “discovering” that a lamp has electricity flowing through it.

    What do you want the government to do about this?

  18. BigNutty says:

    No one wants to listen to a wacko. There are much better ways to handle this.

  19. @swalve: A lamp that goes in a child’s room shouldn’t shock / burn the child… That is sorta common sense in itself. That’s like saying we shouldn’t take glass-shard encrusted lead marbles off the toy shelf because they have a warning on them not to ingest/play with/etc.

    I guess on the flip side, smoking cigarettes has been shown to cause cancer, we label them as such… but what’s the difference.. HMMM lets see. You have to be an adult to buy/use a product known to kill you.

  20. Buran says:

    He got arrested because he didn’t pay for it before he took it outside. If he’d bought it and THEN smashed it he wouldn’t have a criminal record.

    That said, why was Wal-Mart threatening to sue him for exposing unsafe practices? Surely, it’d be cheaper and better for your image to do the right thing than to hire a lawyer to sue over someone who just is trying to keep someone from getting hurt.

  21. sonichghog says:

    @AngrySicilian: Hey, the adults have to buy this product as well. I do not personally know of any sub 3 year olds going out buying lamps. Its the parents buying them.

  22. sonichghog says:

    @Buran: The product is not unsafe when used the way it was supposed to. You can probably take nearly every toy and find a way to make it unsafe.

  23. matt1978 says:

    @Buran: Here you go again. It’s called PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. I don’t see any unsafe practices, unless commerce is unsafe to you.

  24. @sonichghog: The show is partially marketed in Spanish, is the warning in espanol tambien? Probably not. There’s exceptions to every exception. As sonichghog said, it is unsafe in its intended use, by children.

    I’d hate to see some kid using the birthday money their grandmother gave them to buy this thing then getting hurt.

    (Ok, Actually I might find that humorous because I’m sick like that… but saying so doesn’t help my position in the argument. ha)

  25. woops he didn’t agree with me… i think it IS unsafe in its intended use..

  26. Buran says:

    @matt1978: “Here I go again” because you shouldn’t have to unplug a lamp at night or when you leave the house. A lamp that’s that unsafe that it has to be supervised all the time shouldn’t be approved as safe to sell.

  27. Buran says:

    @sonichghog: It’s a lamp. You turn it on. You turn it off. You need light or you don’t. I don’t have a single lamp in my house that has to be unplugged when I’m not using it or not home.

    Expectation of lamp is “plug it in and forget about it”.

  28. Andy S. says:

    Good for this guy.

    Having cured cancer, Alzheimer’s, and AIDS, and having eliminated bigotry, war, and hunger, protecting children from minor burns from a stupid lamp was clearly the most beneficial use of his time.

  29. Bay State Darren says:

    Is Dora not wearing any pants on this lamp or is that just my imagination? If there’s anything that dangerous or at least wrong with this gizmo, I’d say that it’s this.

  30. Half Beast says:

    @Andy S.: Well, If I could walk into a Wal-Mart, buy Cancer, and walk outside and smash it so no one else could get it, I would.
    Not everyone is a biomedical engineer or an international politician.

    Not making an escuse for the guy, since this could have been handled many ways and not be illegal, but all these stories about hazardous toys, and recalls, and the like can build up more than a fair share of frustration.

  31. jackhandey says:

    Can the Consumerist get a “Dumbass” tag like they have on Fark?

  32. parad0x360 says:

    People are just insane. I read that top 10 list and it made me laugh.

    They say toy swords could hurt people..well no kidding!

    They best however was this lamp. Ok its a lamp not a toy. If you cant teach your child not to play with a lamp then you have already lost and might as well let them play with toy swords.

    My son is 7, from the start i taught him things not to touch and guess what..he never touched them. He never tried to drink chemicals, never sticks things in wall sockets, its amazing what happens when you teach kids things AMAZING!

  33. cashmerewhore says:

    @laserjobs:

    Best first comment for an article ever. I laughed at my desk.

  34. sonichghog says:

    @Buran: Many lamps have this warning. It is more CYA than anything else though. Like if a cat knocks it over and something happens, someone will sue the lamp maker over it, so they will put “lamp must be turned off…..”

  35. Buran says:

    @sonichghog: Really. I don’t have a single lamp that says this. Nor would I buy one that does, because if the manufacturer thinks its product is unfit for normal use, why should I trust it at all?

  36. UpsetPanda says:

    @cashmerewhore: Agreed, laserjobs wins for best opening comment and most appropriate response. I almost spit out my coffee.

  37. kalmakazee says:

    This guy is my hero! Most people are self-centered. Good for you for caring about other people and doing what you felt was right in order to protect others. :-)

  38. sonichghog says:

    @Buran: So you have no hologen lamps in your home then. You also do not have any desk lamps with heat warnings?

    I will say that most will not come with a warning that it is not a toy.

  39. Youthier says:

    @parad0x360: Hee! You mean a toy sword and spinning dagger could be dangerous?

    The Dora lamp and a few other things make sense on the list because it’s something parents would not think would be dangerous but that Hip Hoppa thing? If a parent can’t not figure out that allowing your child to perch themselves on a rubber ball with a plastic disk around it and jumping up and down on cement without a helmet could be somewhat dangerous, I find that very sad.

  40. Rusted says:

    @kalmakazee: Who ever knew that the Shoveler would be joined by the Shoplifter? (Movie…Mystery Men.)

  41. LordKDp says:

    So… Dora The Explorer explores the Wal-Mart parking lot. I’ll buy that.

  42. missspiritualtrampof1948 says:

    toxic chinese toys hooray! check it http://www.notinmycart.org

  43. busydoingnothing says:

    This man’s mission went sour the moment he took the lamp from the shelf which he did not purchase and smashed it outside. If you remove any social or political motivation from the story, you have a clear cut case of shoplifting. Now, add back in the motivation behind is act and question it: is that really the best way to make such a statement? As Bignutty (fittingly) stated, no one listens to a wacko.

    Take the label into consideration. Nearly every product you buy today has some sort of warning. This is pretty much a necessity for a business to utilize these CYA tactics in our litigious society. Yes, we’ve come to the point where we need to explain to grown adults that a lamp is not a toy and that it should be kept away from children. A child sees Dora and a child wants to hold Dora, but that child doesn’t realize that Dora holds 120V of delicious electricity.

    Look at it yet from *another* angle: should the store keep the lamp in the toy department or the household department? Where do you think it would sell more? It makes much more sense in the toy department with the rest of the Dora items.

    I can only applaud this man for actually standing up and expressing something he believes in, as ridiculous as I think it may be. Beyond that, he’s clearly guilty.

  44. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Is it me, or does a baby “toy” that contains a hot, breakable bulb and an AC cord sticking out of it just seem like a bad idea.

    Might as well start selling Mainway Toys’ Bag ‘O Broken Glass or Johnny Invisible Pedestrian costumes again.

    I’m not sure I agree with the guy’s extreme actions, although Wal-Mart doesn’t seem to give a crap, so I suppose maybe the two cancel each out out.

    Oh, the Dora lamps? They’re in aisle 666 next to the poisoned pet food…

  45. kalmakazee says:

    @ RUSTED

    I gotta see that video. :-)

  46. cerbie says:

    @ARP: #3.

    When a product can rip through organs, or just choke, if swallowed by a kid, get rid of it. Off the market for you! When a product can poison a kid, get it off the market. Neither offer a real gray area. Lead and roofies and formaldehyde are bad, M’kay?

    But, come on, it’s burn and shock. Minor acute risk, that will teach them good lessons. I didn’t have a cartoon figure lamp as a kid, but I had lamps that could burn, and I had some that would gladly shock. The guy severely overreacted.

  47. Buran says:

    @sonichghog: I do. And they don’t have that warning on them. Please explain how you handle it when you get home to a dark house and then have to fumble around in the dark to plug all of your lamps back in before you can get any light. And then please explain why you bought such unreliable pieces of junk, and why you haven’t gotten rid of them and replaced them with something which the manufacturer actually has faith in.

  48. rabiddachshund says:

    So… Let me get this straight; we condemn the people that sell brake pads out of kitty litter, but when a store sells a possibly dangerous item in the toy isle that is clearly marked “NOT A TOY,” we say “well they should have read the warning on the box.”

    However, I believe that children these days are being over-protected and need to learn for themselves why they shouldn’t stick a fork in the electrical outlet.