A Pitt Meadows mother and father have been left shaken after their six-year-old son walked up to them in their home holding a syringe, with the needle still attached and exposed, asking, “Mom, what’s this?”
The first-grader had found the hypodermic needle in a Mouse Trap board game that his mom had just bought for him at a Coquitlam Value Village.
Mitch and Paula Selman are concerned that the big corporate thrift store chain allowed something so potentially life-altering and dangerous to be sold in a toy.
The syringe had been capped with an orange plastic cap, but their son had pulled it off to expose the needle.
“The last thing any parent wants is for her kid to come to her with a needle in his hand,” said Mitch Selman.
HIs wife immediately determined neither their son nor his two friends, aged eight and five, had been pricked.
“For us, obviously, if one of the kids had been hurt…” said Selman. He said he and his wife were worried that the needle could have been contaminated by an infectious disease.
Also found in the game box were two partially used tubes of toxic “huffing” glue.
The parents immediately called Value Village and were troubled to discover staff didn’t share their concern.
An employee eventually called back and left a message on Paula’s cellphone, with “a 10-second, half-hearted apology followed by a 30-second message about the sales they were having that week for 30 per cent off kids’ clothes,” said Selman.
“You can’t be letting hypodermic needles go out in kids’ toys, you can’t be doing that,” he said. “As a consumer, I should feel safe to shop for items in your store, period. And especially toys.”
He said despite being a thrift store, Value Village is a large, profitable corporation.
“Hire another person to double-check the merchandise,” he said.
Selman said he was still waiting on Monday for a promised callback from the store manager.
“I’m hopeful (the manager) and our customers will have an opportunity to connect today,” said Value Village spokeswoman Sara Gaugl in an email on Monday.
“The safety of our customers and team members is of utmost importance to us. All of our stores have strict evaluation policies in place and are committed to evaluating all items for quality assurance before they go to the sales floor.”
“This is dropping the ball in so many ways,” said retired SFU marketing professor Lindsay Meredith. “If this is your screen and large chunks are getting through, it’s not a very good screen.”
He said the company’s reaction “to ignore the customer until they get tired and go away” is the way companies used to deal with complaints before social media.
Now, he said, a company refuses to deal with a legitimate complaint at its own peril because the refusal can become bigger than the problem.
He said Value Village’s emailed response runs counter to what a progressive, transparent company should do in response to a crisis in 2018.
“Come clean and come clean quickly,” he said. The company should acknowledge the shortcoming and promise to figure out what went wrong and make changes so that it doesn’t happen again.
Selman said Value Village has to be held accountable and state what it is doing to fix this “and not just (pay it) lip service.”
CLICK HERE to report a typo.
Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note from WSOE.Org : This content has been auto-generated from a syndicated feed.