Big Lots Fire Truck Comes With Free (Used) Crack Pipe

Reader Patricia says she bought a fire truck for her son for Easter, and while she was unwrapping the toy — out fell a used crack pipe. She contacted the store and they brushed her off, promising that someone would get back to her… but no one ever did. Now she’s come to us for a little recognition that crack pipes aren’t supposed to be included with children’s toys.

Here’s her story:

I purchased a toy fire truck for my 2 year old son at Big Lots in Mattydale, NY, the Sunday before Easter. The night before Easter, I am preparing my son’s basket by unwrapping the toy. As I was unraveling the many wire ties on the bottom of the toy, a used crack pipe fell out. (I know this was a crack pipe as I am in law enforcement and am very familiar with drug paraphernalia.) The screen was still in the tip and there was crack residue in the pipe. After my initial horror, my husband and I decided that we would call the store first thing in the morning to make them aware of the situation.
On Sunday morning, we called the store and my husband informed the manager, Wayne, what we had found. First he did not believe it and immediately stated that it could not have come from someone in his store. My husband told Wayne that we simply wanted to report the incident and let them deal with it. First he did not believe us, then laughed when my husband told him that I would no longer shop in his store. As his was not the reaction we were hoping for, my husband then called the corporate headquarters. Again the response we received was anything but acceptable. The woman that my husband spoke to assured us that the district manager for the store would be calling us the next day. We did not hear from anyone from corporate as promised and my husband called again. We have still heard nothing. It appears that no one in this company cares that my son’s toy came with a free used crack pipe.
Thank you so much for your time. I am just looking for a little recognition that this type of thing is not acceptable from any parent or company.


So recognized, Patricia. This is one of those situations where a little sympathy from some store employees would have gone a long way. Even if they didn’t throw their crack pipes into your son’s toy, they could have been a little nicer to you.


Edit Your Comment

  1. AMetamorphosis says:

    She must have missed the ” Free crackpipe with purchase ” advertisement.

    Seriously, I would call the police since it is an illegal substance & report the store.

  2. jimv2000 says:

    If I was in charge of a store, I probably wouldn’t believe someone who called in with such a story either. Just sayin’.

  3. B says:

    @AMetamorphosis: But would the police believe them? “I found it in my son’s firetruck” is the oldest excuse in the book.

  4. Doesn’t this teach kids that, if you light the crack pipe on fire, the nice men in the fire truck will come put it out? No?

  5. APFPilot says:

    So thats where I left it

  6. AMetamorphosis says:


    LOL :-)

  7. Traveshamockery says:

    Maybe this is like the “paperweights” they sell in that ninja shop in Gatlinburg, TN that look surprisingly identical to “brass knuckles”

  8. Charybdis says:

    This is one of those ‘partially open’ packages that entice kids (and me) so. It seems more likely the pipe was dropped into the open part of the package by another shopper and not sealed in at the factory.

  9. Aphex242 says:

    At least she’s not suing. That would be silly. The store DOES need to get it’s act together though, it’s response was atrocious.

  10. Toof_75_75 says:

    I’m going to Gatlinburg in a month, where is this Ninja Shop you speak of? :-)

  11. AMetamorphosis says:

    Hey, It IS ” Bog Lots ” so I hope you got that crackpipe for @ least 40% off …

  12. MaelstromRider says:

    Being that she is in law enforcement, she probably should have known that the best course of action would have been to let the police deal with the store.

  13. Pro-Pain says:

    Push it and hit it.

  14. Megatenist says:

    Smoke ’em if you got them…

    Seriously,this needs to be reported to the police.She should know that.

  15. unklegwar says:

    The store loads the item off the dock and puts it on the shelf. I’m willing to bet they don’t have an intermediate step of “insert crackpipe into package”.

  16. forgottenpassword says:

    its big lots…. they arent going to give a crap even if it was a human finger that fell out of the firetruck’s package.

  17. EBone says:

    There’s not much to be done here. Looks like one of the other “customers” ditched the pipe in the toy for some reason. It’s not like there’s going to be a pipe in every fire truck at the store. Once the inventory hits the shelves, it’s pretty hard for the store to watch every item. Just ask Tylenol.

    This is one of those, “Well, people suck” events. You write it off and move on. There really isn’t anything for the store to do, and if the store starts saying “oh, we’re really sorry” over the phone, they open themselves up to potential liability. If the customer was that offended, she should have taken the item back to the store and requested a refund or an exchange.

  18. thirdbase says:

    What brand firetruck did she buy I need a new crackpipe.

  19. maevro says:

    Well, technically it is just a broken stem, not actually a pipe.

  20. Traveshamockery says:

    @Toof_75_75: It’s called “The China Bazaar”, and I don’t remember exactly where it is. I found the website, though!


  21. forgottenpassword says:


    man I love those types of shops. There’s a martial arts supply & knives supply shop up in Independence, Missouri that sells switchblade “kits” basically a switchblad without the springs…. they sell the springs!

    Reminds me of the perfectly legal parts kits you can buy to make/convert regular civilian assault rifles fully automatic!

    Isnt america great!!!!

  22. So either an employee, or a factory worker put it there…maybe even another customer? What the hell can big lots do about it?

  23. forgottenpassword says:


    here it is….


    I havnt been there in years.

  24. snoop-blog says:

    yeah i fail to see how this is big lots fault. i have physically seen crack heads ditch crack pipes in public places. it really blew my mind, i guess maybe they were just that paranoid.

  25. dragonfire81 says:

    “I was going to go put out a fire but I was high…”

  26. lmbrownmail says:

    If the box the toy came in was still taped/sealed shut when you bought it, contact the toy manufacturer.

    It’s not the fault of the store if the package was sealed. What, exactly, did you expect the store to do?

  27. Toof_75_75 says:

    Awesome, thanks…I know one place I’m going while I’m down there! HAHA

  28. stephenjames716 says:

    big lots!

  29. temporaryscars says:

    East Syracuse here. I’ve been to that Big Lots plenty of times, and i’m not surprised that you found a crack pipe in there.

  30. What, no lighter?

  31. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Current law, regulations, and case law is not too hot on the parts. Sure, you can have the parts. But if you also happen to have a weapon that can use them, you are considered to be in the possession of an unregistered machine gun.

    Unfortunately if you want a machine gun now, it had to be registered before 1986 (creating artificial scarcity and causing an M-16 to be about $15k), and pay a $300 transfer tax.

  32. Damn, thats where it went. Gimme it back… I’m broke and it still has some resin in it.

  33. that’s Bling Bling’s!

  34. womynist says:

    I grew up in Central NY, right around the corner from Mattydale. Actually, everyone called it “Mattyhole” because the town is just one big shithole. I’ve also been into that Big Lots and I’m not surprised about this at all. Not saying the store had anything to do with it; just saying there’s lots of crackheads around there. Go Syracuse!

  35. Vanvi says:

    I feel like this complaint is more about the store’s response. There might be/have been very little they could do to prevent crack pipes from being dropped in boxes, but once one is discovered, a little sympathy would have made this a non-issue.

  36. EBone says:

    @Vanvi: The only thing that sympathy is going to do is give someone a foothold for a lawsuit. Sorry, America is too sue-happy.

  37. kyle4 says:

    She should call the police like another commenter suggested and report it. Hopefully the police don’t turn it around on them. If she works in law enforcement than they’ll side with her. Either that or a lawsuit. I usually don’t suggest that but the store is being negligent.

  38. EBone says:

    @kylo4: Explain how the store is being negligent, please? It’s not like every single package in the store has a crack pipe and they are refusing to remove them from the shelves. This is an odd, one-off occurrence.

    Let’s try this scenario: a 7-11 gets robbed at knifepoint. Driving away from the scene of the crime, the robber tosses the knife into your front yard. You neighbor comes over to borrow a cup of sugar and sees a knife laying on your lawn. Neither your neighbor or you know how the knife got there, or that it was used in a robbery. But your neighbor demands you do SOMETHING about that knife. Is it your fault it was on your lawn? Do you call the police because you found a knife on your lawn? No. You pick it up, throw it out, and say “people suck.”

  39. witeowl says:

    @EBone: I agree completely. There’s nothing for the store to do. Was it a bone-head response from Wayne? Sure, but anything else would have been mental masturbation. No matter how much the store might have promised to take the incident seriously, what should be done? Perhaps, like the grocer always checks to make sure that my eggs are whole, they should check every sold package for used paraphernalia?

  40. GamblesAC2 says:

    “You know, Not alot of people notice, but you can hide your (Insert Name of illegal substance)in there”

  41. Priam says:

    @InfiniTrent: Wow, I live in Knoxville, and I have never heard about this place. I guess I need to check it out. You know you have hit paydirt if your ninja store quotes the bible on its website.

  42. What do you want?? The package was not the sealed type, we can see that from the photo. Obviously some junkie customer dropped it in there, either to ditch it or as some lame prank (you’ll have to excuse their humor, they were high at the time).

    I’m afraid that if I was the store manager I would have given you no more sympathy than he did, and said, look lady, I’m not responsible for every yahoo who comes in the store and especially as a DISCOUNT retailer, we can’t afford a security guard in every aisle to avoid you being offended. If you want to return the fire truck and get your money back, be my guest. If you want to exchange it, sure But if you just want to bitch and complain because *gasp* somebody did DRUGS! and DRUGS ARE BAD! I say stop wasting everyone’s time.

    Ditto to all you “call the cops” people above, too. I’m pretty sure they have actual crime to solve, they’re not gonna get all CSI on a piece of a crack pipe you found in Big Lots. The only point of involving the cops, however, would be an attempt to get back at the store. Which is, I’ll repeat again, asinine because there’s really very little they can do about this kind of random uncommon occurrence.

  43. blackrockbrig says:

    i’m not surprised she’s law enforcement. the fact that she requires recognition from others that a crack pipe should not be sold along with a child’s firetruck is proof that she’s a bobble-headed kook.