Reaper's gonna love this . . .not

Posted By: seashell

Reaper's gonna love this . . .not - 05/23/08 06:57 PM

Elmo lighters ignite disgust in Canadian city
Fri May 23, 2008 12:56pm EDT Print This Article | Single Page[-] Text [+] WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Kathleen Flockton couldn't believe her eyes when she saw cigarette lighters decorated with Sesame Street's Elmo and other children's characters by the check-out at her local drug store.

"I couldn't really understand why an adult would want a Cookie Monster lighter," said Flockton, a mother of three.

So she bought some to show a firefighter friend who teaches kids about the dangers of fire, and told a local television station, unleashing a firestorm of disgust in a city where fires started by children are a common problem.

"You combine the natural curiosity of children, and you throw that design at them, sitting on a coffee table, you know that it's going to be an attraction, said Sgt. Derrick Todoruk of the Winnipeg police department's arson strike force.

"It's like putting a picture of Big Bird on a shotgun," Todoruk said. "It makes no sense."

Firefighters in the city's poorest neighborhoods are called each night to fires in garbage bins or garages said Alex Forrest, president of the firefighters' union.

"On a weekend, it can almost be on a hourly basis," said Forrest, adding that kids as young as six have been caught.

Firebugs too young for the court system are sent, with their families, to an education program run by the fire department to encourage parental supervision.

"We're being overwhelmed by sheer numbers," Forrest said, noting there are currently more than 120 kids in the program.

The firefighters want governments to ban lighters that appeal to kids, and ensure all lighters are placed behind store counters to make them harder for children to steal, he said.

Officials were not available for comment on Friday from Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada's largest pharmacy chain, where the lighters were found, nor from Sesame Workshop, which licenses products with the popular Muppets.

Sesame Workshop told CanWest television news that the use of its characters on the lighters was not authorized, and that its legal department was investigating.

Shoppers Drug Mart said the lighters came from a Winnipeg supplier and were being removed from shelves, CanWest said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; editing by Rob Wilson)

Posted By: Otteralum

Re: Reaper's gonna love this . . .not - 05/23/08 07:55 PM

lovely. If you're going to steal intellectual property, be smart about it at least -- geeze.
Posted By: Leah-Ann

Re: Reaper's gonna love this . . .not - 05/24/08 12:35 AM

I agree this is an incredibly irresponsible marketing ploy. But in a slightly different vein, what's the libertarian position on having the government regulate what a company can put on a product they manufacture and/or sell?
Posted By: Otteralum

Re: Reaper's gonna love this . . .not - 05/24/08 12:54 AM

can't regulate stupidity. you can boycott it into submission though.
Posted By: reaper

Re: Reaper's gonna love this . . .not - 05/24/08 03:42 AM

Lighters/matches should be out of the little one's reach in the home, regardless of what is on them.
I was on the Arson Squad for 2 years a long time ago.
I had a 2 year old burn his apartment up. He was unhurt, but turned out he was being abused by the mom's boyfriend.
In another case a 6 year old burned down his house, killing himself, his mom and 2 siblings. He lit the Christmas tree on fire Dec. 30th. The lighter was still in his pocket.
I found a little girl in a fire once, she was dead because her brother was 4 and found a lighter. The brother and dad died also.
Kids start fires for a variety of reasons. Abuse, curiosity, etc. Juvenile firesetters are responsible for a huge percentage of fatal fires. The lighter manufacturers could care less.
So now I will use this thread for a public service announcement.

Check your smoke alarm.
Have a fire drill plan for your home.

Posted By: Mikeywaz

Re: Reaper's gonna love this . . .not - 05/25/08 01:41 AM

Thanks, Reaper. Sobering news indeed.
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