Lock up Your Children - They're Selling Vibrators at Wal-Mart
I just happened upon a story from Tempe, Arizona from this past Friday. It was a 'news' story letting Tempe residents know that Target and Wal-Mart are selling - gasp - vibrators! I don't know much about what goes on in Arizona, or anywhere in the USA for that matter, but I do know that the vibrators they showed, which are made by Trojan, have been on the market for several years now. Trojan and Durex both came out with small vibrator lines around the same time with the same objectives, to diversify their product lines and break into the toy market and to market that new product line directly in mainstream stores. If you look around a little, at least in Canada, you'll find that most drugstores carry at least one of the Trojan and/or Durex vibrators and you'll also find that most sex toy shops don't. These are simple, in my opinion inferior, sex toys, that were made to be sold on drugstore shelves. One look at the packaging will tell you that. Most of them don't have pictures of the toys on the packaging, the toys have very non-descript names, and they are called 'massager' or 'personal device'. So no, this is not news. I don't know how long they've been around in Arizona, but in Canada you can find them in almost any drugstore and, surprisingly, our kids haven't all become sex crazed maniacs. Two of the 'people on the street' interviewees on this piece were irate that these products were in a 'family' store because if their kid sees them, they would have to explain what it is. Oh no! I have to talk about sex with my kids! That is so inappropriate! But the things is, they won't have to talk about it because these toys are in the condom aisle along with the condoms and lube, not the kids toy aisle. Your kid is probably never in that aisle. If she is, she's just as likely to ask about the condoms as she is the toys. Nobody had a problem with those being there. What about tampons? Should they not be in the store because we don't want our children asking questions about that? What about ovulation kits? Breast pumps? Lingerie for that matter? Why are people singling out vibrators as a problem? Anyway, the kid is not going to even notice the toy because it's in such a wimpy, non-descript box. So relax, you won't have to tell your kid what a vibrator is. I'm ambivalent about this whole thing. I don't think it's a problem to have vibes in drugstores. They are open later and more easily accessible than most sex shops so if you really need a vibe, you can get one. And maybe this will open up the world of sex toys to someone who feels nervous or embarrassed about going into a sex shop. But the problem is that the selection of toys at a drugstore is very small so you have to take what you can get. You don't have a lot of options to choose exactly the kind of thing that will be right for you. I worry that a hasty choice will lead to a disappointing experience which will then lead that person to conclude that toys are not for him. The other problem is that I would doubt very much that your average wal-mart checkout person knows anything about toys. If you need some assistance in understanding how to pick out, use, or take care of the thing, I don't think you're going to get it there. Will they know that there are a lot of toys that shouldn't go up your butt? Will they even be willing to broach that subject? Will they know to warn you not to put silicone lube on your silicone toy? And will they take the toy back or give you warranty information if it breaks? I don't think so. I think it's always better to buy your products from places that know what they're doing. Buy your fruit in a local produce store or farmer's market. Go to a computer store to get your computer equipment. Buy your guitar from a local music shop. And get your toys from an independent toy seller. You'll almost always get better products, better product information and better service. However, since Wal-Mart and Target are not going anywhere soon, I don't see why it's a problem to have a couple of vibes there on the shelf next to the lube and condoms (which I also think you should get from a sex shop, but if you're in a hurry.......). If you want to get everything in one place, why should toys be any different?