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So as per usual every couple of weeks, [personal profile] tiferet and I went on a shopping run. We arrived at the final leg of the tour all caffeinated and ready for entertainment, so we naturally stopped through the Halloween section. The first part we looked at was the part with the colored hairspray, and I grabbed a bottle of the blue and silver glitter, because, hello, blue hair + Azz = yes.

We made a double circuit of the section, first chattering about the lovely Spider Girl outfit that was totally age-appropriate and cute and neither "sexy" nor OMG PINK (though there was also a pink Spider Girl outfit, but together with the red and blue one that meant, you know, CHOICES) and then looking at the other costumes, trying to figure out where the cutoff was where the women's costumes were all SEXY VERSION WHERE MAN'S COSTUME IS NOT SEXY. Pirate, sexy pirate. Ninja, sexy ninja. Doctor, sexy nurse. I saw a "vampiress" (sexy) costume and pointed it out to Tif, who was righteously disgusted. "You know what, if I dress as a vampire this year, I'm going in FLANNEL," she said. "Flannel and GLITTER." We agreed that Halloween in the Castro is no time to be wearing one's good clothes. "And if someone asks you where Edward is, you can say 'I divorced his ass twenty years ago and went to college'," I added.

We swung back for a third look at the shelves, this time with intent, looking for vampire teeth. Flannel is relatively easy to come by, Tif has sensible shoes she can wear, she already has plenty of glitter, she just needed teeth, and maybe -- maybe -- some fake blood. I spotted the party favor kids' teeth, $2~ for a 10-pack, but those wouldn't work. "I saw the makeup over this way," I said, and we examined the shelves. I eventually did spot one pair, in a package with some grease paint, but those were not satisfactory. I stared at the shelves while Tif poked around in more detail, and suddenly my eye caught on the colored hairspray display.

I did a double-take. I stared. I could not believe my eyes at first. I was struck by the absurdity of it all first, and then horror as I imagined the inevitable end result.

"Tif, can you spot what's problematic about this display?" I asked, pointing.

She looked. "Wait, is this the [social justice] kind of problematic, or the LOL FAIL kind of problematic?" she asked.

"The latter."

"There's ... pink paint on the shelf?" she hazarded.

So there was, and some was blobbed on one of the cans, but that wasn't it.

I will now share the pictures that I took, so everyone at home can play along. (I shared this in #dreamwidth and on Twitter earlier.) For those without images, there are six images; the first five are incompletely described, and the sixth is a repeat of the first image, with annotations drawn on the picture and also described fully.

Full Shelf
Full Shelf
A shelf of Halloween products showing, among other things, many spray cans in low orange boxes. (Stay tuned, readers without images, and those who have yet to spot the problem. There will be a summary at the end of the chapter.)

Medium close

Medium close
A closer view of the spray cans. One of the sets of boxes holds two cans across and has light-colored cans with light-greenish caps. The other set of boxes holds six cans across and holds greenish, black, blue, green, glittery, pink, and purple cans. Some of the cans are tipped over. A few are mixed between boxes.

Close-up: blue

Close-up: blue
Close-up of one of the six-across boxes of spray cans. The price is shown in black printing on the left-hand corner of the display box.


Close-up of another two boxes of spray cans; each shallow box holds two cans across. These are all light-greenish cans. The front of the box shows the brand name of this spray can inside a white oval.

Close-up: Side-by-side

Close-up: Side-by-side
A close-up of the two sets (two across and six across) display boxes next to each other. The boxes are of a uniform bright orange color, despite the cans being of different manufacturers. One set has a price on the front corner in black. The other set has the brand name on the center set into a white oval.

Full shelf: annotated with explanation

Full shelf: annotated with explanation
Areas of the display are outlined, with blue outlines around the OK areas, and a yellow outline around the problematic area. There are 3 display columns visible in the photo, with part of the first column going off the left margin of the picture.

Top shelf: plastic pumpkins all the way across
2nd shelf down: units 1 and 2: Fake eyelashes; unit 3: red, white, and silver glitter? hairsprays.
3rd shelf down: units 1 and 2: Misc. crafts; unit 3: orange hairspay, gold? hairspray
4th shelf down: unit 1: misc. makeup (fake eyelashes, nails, etc.); unit 2: glow-in-the-dark Krylon; unit 3: black? silver? blue, orange, green, purple hairspray
5th shelf down: unit 1: misc. makeup; 1st half of unit 2: glow-in-the-dark Krylon; 2nd half of unit 2 & all of unit 3: black, blue, green, glow-in-the-dark, and purple hairspray
6th shelf down: unit 1: misc. makeup; 1st half of unit 2: glow-in-the-dark Krylon; 2nd half of unit 2 and all of unit 3: black, pink, purple, green hairspray
7th shelf down (bottom shelf): Unit 1: misc. makeup; unit 2: blacklight bulbs; unit 3: fake blood

The Krylon is outline in yellow, captioned "FUCKING SPRAY PAINT".


MSDS for this paint:

Tif did not actually register the real problem until I pointed it out, at which point she joined me in alternating between horror and snickering.

I figured that since we'd noticed it, we needed to do something, so I flagged down a nearby employee and pointed out that there was spray paint sitting right adjacent to the hairspray, and that someone could very easily mistake the one for the other.

The employee stared at the shelf in this sort of stunned awe, and then told us, "I don't know who put that there, but I am going to go find out." She also carefully turned the bottles of Krylon so the Krylon logo was facing out, to reduce the likelihood that someone would grab one without thinking.

Our duty discharged, we headed off to finish the shopping trip. We did swing by the section right before we were ready to check out, and it hadn't been re-arranged yet, but it was also well past one in the morning by that time. I may call later today to follow up and see if the morning people can confirm that it's been put to rights.


[8:40am local time: I did call, and the customer service person I got went and checked it out, and then flipped her shit on account of not only was it right there and it would be so easy to make that mistake, but also in California apparently you have to be 18+ to buy spray paint on account of misusing it can be lethal (and probably also graffiti), so all the spray paint is kept locked up under normal circumstances. Her managers were all in a meeting but she's going to go right the fuck now and pull it from the shelf, and someone will call me back after everything's resolved.]

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Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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