Say what you will about Cyber Monday and the surge of online consumerism in the days that follow — it does tend to remove an element of risk from the holiday shopping experience. For example, there's an almost zero percent chance that you'll accidentally stab yourself with a hypodermic needle while browsing brassieres at Wal-Mart if you buy those brassieres with a computer.
Shoppers at the Wal-Mart in Cartersville, Georgia, weren't quite so lucky. At least two people this week have been pricked by syringes at that particular store. One, a 14-year-old named Courtney Worthington, was trying on pajamas when, she told WXIA, "I felt something stick me in the finger and I was like, 'what is that'?" Then another woman, Patricia Headrick, was stabbed when she reached into a bra's box to check for size. (If ever you needed an incentive to heed those posted signs asking you not to open underwear packages, now you have it.)
"Everything started going through my mind," [Headrick said.] "Whose arm was this in; whose body — was this a used needle; am I going to die based on this being in someone's body? I've been on a rollercoaster all weekend."
Two more needles were discovered by store employees before they could stick anyone, including one tucked inside a pair of Hello Kitty socks. Yes, the needle-planting bandit is specifically targeting children.
Seeing as there is no guarantee that this sickly diabolical behavior is limited to that specific store, we've compiled a short checklist to help you avoid getting stabbed with a needle during your holiday shopping.
1. Handle the product with extreme caution as you pull it off the shelf. Dangling the packaging with two outstretched fingers is ideal.
2. Immediately hand the package to a store employee and demand that they remove the contents. If the product is wearable, have them try it on for you. (If no employee is available, a younger sibling will suffice.)
3. Observe the employee carefully for signs of wincing or the presence of fresh blood.
4. None? Congratulations! Your Hello Kitty socks are hypodermic needle-free.