Ohio AG Gets Urban Outfitters To Pull Satirical Prescription Coffee Mugs From Stores, Citing His Own Lack Of Humor

from the free-speech-doesn't-work-like-that dept

If you take a hard line in your belief in free speech, you need to double that staunch stance when it comes to humor and satire, because they almost universally require an edge or offense of some kind. Quadruple your stance if that humor or satire is aimed at anything having to do with the government, since they're not allowed to be offended by our speech. Sorry, government, but that's the deal we made two-hundred-plus years ago: you get to pretend like you represent us and we get to make fun of you for it.

But apparently there are a significant number of attorneys general out there who are working hard to show you they don't have a sense of humor at all and they'll be damned if you get to laugh at a joke they don't find funny. At least, that's the conclusion I'm coming to after 23 AGs pressured Urban Outfitters, Inc. to pull their Prescription Line of products, which included a coffee mug dressed up to look like a prescription bottle.
Ohio AG Mike DeWine appears to have led this conga line of stupid:
"People die from accidental drug overdoses in this state every day, and these products make light of the problem," DeWine said in a May press release.   "We don't find these products funny at all."
Unfortunately, Urban Outfitters caved and pulled the products, but think of all the things you could nix with this line of thinking: Many people are seriously concerned that they've been abducted by aliens, so we can't allow The X-Files on television. Hitler's Germany killed a buttload of people, so The Producers is not allowed. A certain percentage of the followers of Islam are offended by depictions of the Prophet Muhammed, so we can't show a satirical cartoon in...oh, wait.

And that's really the point: once we begin giving away our right for humor or satire in speech in favor of the comfort of the offended, we're lost. You might as well just outlaw humor altogether. This case shows that wonderfully, considering that nothing about a prescription coffee mug is directly poking fun at anyone overdosing or dying. Making that leap requires legs for which my mental faculties won't allow. Besides, I have to imagine there are better things twenty-three attorneys general could be doing than writing letters about coffee mugs.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    rw (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 8:42am

    "Making that leap requires legs for which my mental faculties won't allow."

    Well, obviously to be an AG you HAVE to be dumber than the average rock.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 10:35am

    And someone will sell it online and make a fortune, especially since the AG's decided to "ban" it.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Jason, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 10:37am

    Missing it.

    I'm sorry, but I think I'm missing something.

    What the hell does that mug have to do with drug abuse?

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Lord Binky, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:31am

      Re: Missing it.

      You use the mug as a measuring cup for your dose?
      O_O

       

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    •  
      icon
      Shaun Wilson (profile), Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 7:30am

      Re: Missing it.

      Well it could have something to do with the fact that caffeine is more addictive than about half the illegal drugs out there, maybe they just want to be consistent and add it to the list - just say no to "drug paraphernalia"!

       

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    Jessie (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 10:47am

    The AG's set their sights on their next target:

    "An apple a day keeps the Dr away."

    This phrase makes light of the millions of uninsured in america.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 10:53am

    Obviously they need a new warning on the coffee mug: "This product not available in any state where the Attorney General has been diagnosed as humor-deficient."

     

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    Matt (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 10:56am

    Their next target is probably the "Life's a Beach" coffee mugs.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 10:57am

    Yet another Assault on our Freedom by the Bagger Party ! To Dewine or Not............I say Dewine is not but Wine is a Yes.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Glen, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:42am

      Re:

      If you are referring to the Bagger Party as republicans, what about the other 22 AGs that signed on? I noticed some Democrats. Both parties are the fucking same!!!

       

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  •  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:07am

    Dear Mike De Whiner...

    How about a nice cup of shut the hell up?

    You are not a businessman. You are a representative of the public. Your lack of a funny bone is not the reason you have free reign over artistic expression.

    Sincerely,

    Dis guy on da innernets

     

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    •  
      icon
      Dirkmaster (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 12:12pm

      Re:

      Maybe we should raise some money and send each one of these asshat AG's a nice STFU mug.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 2:13pm

      Re:

      You've never seen the prescription overdose rate in Ohio have you....and you've never seen a family member for from it like he had.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 2:17pm

        Re: Re:

        Why does that matter? The objection to the drinkware is ridiculous in the extreme. If his personal experience has caused the Ohio AG to make this claim, then I think his grief is interfering with his judgement a bit too much.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 7:52am

        Re: Re:

        Holy fuck you want to make a mug with an umbrella on it? Have you see the death by hurricane propelled umbrella in Florida? No, of course you haven't because you're a monster.

         

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    RyanNerd (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:11am

    I have an Idea

    We should make our own coffee mugs in the shape of prescription bottles and sell them.
    Of course we would then face a copyright or trademark or patent court battles even though the products have been "pulled". Never mind. Not such a great idea after all.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:13am

    Mike DeWine is a dumb fuck.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:14am

    It really isn't too far a logical leap. Someone drinking from a giant perscription bottle someone swallowing a full perscription bottle to commit suicide or whatnot. I see the angle they are coming from.

    Disclaimer: I think those mugs are funny as hell and these guys are WAY too uptight!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:15am

    Contact your AG and complain

    Please contact your AG and remind them that this type of behavior is a waste of taxpayer funds - in the name of stifling free speech and commerce.

    I contacted mine.

     

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      AdamBv1 (profile), Jul 4th, 2013 @ 10:44pm

      Re: Contact your AG and complain

      Good idea. I just let mine know that I do not at all agree with these shenanigans.

      Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, welcome to the wall of shame.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:18am

    DAMN IT!!!

    This mug is AWESOME!!! Why am I now just finding out about this?

    Must find mug... must buy mug...

     

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    identicon
    Lord Binky, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:21am

    Sorry...(not really)

    There is no right(nor should their be) or realistic way to a life without being offended. I am highly offended by such a concept, and anyone believeing in such should keep silent about it or else they do not truly believe in not being offensive.

     

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    identicon
    Michael, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:25am

    Making fun of drug abuse

    So what I am getting out of this is that objects of this shape and color with clear labels about how they should be used are making light of prescription drug abuse.

    That actually explains a lot.

    The containers that the drugs are in are actually making fun of their abuse. Holy crap! What a revelation! We clearly have to put a stop to that. Perhaps prescription drug containers should be shaped like coffee mugs and not have labels with instructions on them.

    I am so glad they have helped point out that these containers and labels are taking such a serious problem lightheartedly.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:25am

    How this should have gone down:

    AG's: We find your product offensive, and would like to ask you to pull it.
    UO: Are we breaking any laws?
    AG's: Well... not as such, no.
    UO: In that case we'll take your offense in consideration, and continue to sell our mugs anyway. Have a nice day.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Michael, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:51am

      Re: How this should have gone down:

      AG's: We find your product offensive, and would like to ask you to pull it.
      UO: Are we breaking any laws?
      AG's: Well... not as such, no, but we will attack you in the press, drag you into costly litigation, and make sure we do find any other, unrelated offenses that we can pin on you if you don't do what we want.
      UO: hmm...would it help you if we sold a bunch of these on CraigsList so you can attack them again?

       

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    identicon
    FM Hilton, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:25am

    Aw, I wanted one!

    Damnit, this is why we can't have nice things! Stupid, paranoid, dumb people who see evil in everything.

    I work in the goddamned pharmacy industry, and I thought it was funny. I would have liked a mug for myself..along with a few others.

    Yeah, there are overdoses of prescription drugs..but that doesn't mean funny should be outlawed.

    Also the fact that most OD's come from drugs that are illegally obtained doesn't seem to come into play, does it?

    Nah, would make too much sense!

     

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      Baldaur Regis (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:31am

      Re: Aw, I wanted one!

      They're not uncommon on ebay.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 1:50pm

        Re: Re: Aw, I wanted one!

        Heck, they are not uncommon at all. A quick Google search finds multiple distributors. Including Amazon.

         

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 3:01pm

      Re: Aw, I wanted one!

      The thing is about Ohio is that the rates are really that high. Illegal trafficking of prescription Meds has caused local buy back progerams in rural areas like Mount Vernon, Centerburg, and even big cities like Columbus. The rate of overdose deaths from recreational use of prescription Meds is almost as high as the same count as those who take controlled substances legally. Every 3 or 4 months my local pharmacy runs out of medication I need to function in society...Concerta....and it's very popular to pass it around to those who don't need it for cramming exams. I mean it is almost as bad as the Crystal Meth problem in Oregon.

       

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        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 3:42pm

        Re: Re: Aw, I wanted one!

        And people from Ohio can't drive worth a damn ether. Should we ban all cars?

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 8:03am

        Re: Re: Aw, I wanted one!

        The thing is about Florida is that the rates are really that high. Illegal trafficking of umbrellas has caused local buy back programs in rural areas like Perry, Middleburg, and even big cities like Tampa. The rate of hurricane propelled umbrella deaths from recreational use of umbrellas is almost as high as the same count as those who use umbrellas legally. Every 3 or 4 months my local Walmart runs out of parasols I need to function in society...Lace....and it's very popular to pass it around to those who don't need it for cramming exams. I mean it is almost as bad as the Crystal Meth problem in Oregon.

         

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    Zos (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:37am

    most of the "better" things they could be doing involve enslaving more americans in for profit prisons, so on the whole i'd just as soon they stuck to fapping over stupid shit like this.

     

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    iambinarymind (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:39am

    Attorney Genitals

    So tired of these Attorney Genitals and their freedom crushing ways.

    If one find the mug offensive, here's an idea, DON'T SHOP THERE!

    I look forward to the day the state disintegrates and said attorney genitals become obsolete...the day where a majority of individuals understand that complex social issues cannot be solved through state force/violence/aggression (or threat thereof).

    I prefer consensual relationships and voluntary exchange.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:48am

    Amazon is still listing them as available.

     

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      identicon
      Bumed, Jul 4th, 2013 @ 9:26am

      Re:

      Well that sucks.
      Amazon canceled my order :(

      ------------- Begin message -------------

      We're sorry, but due to the restrictions of CA Prop. 65, we are not allowed to ship this item to the State of California. Unfortunately, this means your item/order will be need to be canceled.

      ------------- End message -------------

       

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    identicon
    Altaree, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    They will really hate this.

     

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    identicon
    Altaree, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 12:36pm

    Also, cheaper here:

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 12:46pm

    I suspect it's actually the syringes and the text on the shot glass that prompted this.

    http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/OhioAttorneyGeneral/files/3f/3f2b4a45-c87a-4a9d-82f3-946 a7de1cfce.jpg

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 1:16pm

      Re:

      So what?
      They're also LEGAL.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 2:08pm

        Re: Re:

        So what?
        "We invite you to pull these products from your shelves and join with us to fight prescription drug abuse."
        If the products were not legal, this request would not be in the form of an invitation.

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 7:56am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So the fucking AG of the god damn state should find something better to do with their time then to imply these legal products are somehow pro-prescription drug abuse.

           

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    DSchneider (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    New Advertising Slogan

    23 out of 50 Attorney Generals Agree, this product is not funny at all. Really no humor to be seen here.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 2:16pm

      Re: New Advertising Slogan

      When you see a family member die from it like I have, it's not one bit funny.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 2:20pm

        Re: Re: New Advertising Slogan

        ...and that's fine. Humor is highly subjective.

        However, it's a ridiculous stretch to think that these things are making fun of drug abuse, or supportive of drug abuse. So the objection is nonsensical.

         

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 2:46pm

        Re: Re: New Advertising Slogan

        You have a family member that died from drinking coffee from a "prescription coffee mug"?

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 3:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: New Advertising Slogan

          Oh yes a prescription coffee mug is definitely what I'm talking about...you missed the subtext that a family member died from recreational use. I always knew he was sneaking my medications away and regret it every day that I let it slide.

           

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 7:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: New Advertising Slogan

            So what you're saying is your tragic auntecdote has nothing to do with the subject at hand. Glad we're all on the same page then.

             

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        DSchneider (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 3:06pm

        Re: Re: New Advertising Slogan

        Then don't buy it. If humor had to steer clear of anything that might have possibly hurt/damaged/offended someone in the past, then all we'd have left if knock-knock jokes. I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in that world.

        There are plenty of things in this world that I find offensive, weird, or in bad taste, etc. My solution is to simply not buy/watch/support those things. It's not to try an magically make those things disappear and deprive them from those who enjoy them, as I'm sure there are many things that I and yes, you enjoy, that others don't like.

         

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        Zos (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 4:08pm

        Re: Re: New Advertising Slogan

        you don't make me laugh, gtfo my internet.

         

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 7:57am

        Re: Re: New Advertising Slogan

        My mom died with a hurricane propelled umbrella pierced her aorta. Why are you such a heartless dick to not do exactly as I say!

         

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 12:54pm

    Extortion?

    It may be paranoia speaking but I wouldn't be surprised if the Attorney Gangsters are shaking down Urban Outfitters for "contributions". Give them the dough and they won't harass them using whatever abuses of logic and the letter of the law their twisted attorney minds are trained for.

     

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    Votre (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 2:33pm

    First rule of an AG: When you don't have anything of substance to deal with, try picking a stupid fight so inconsequential that you can "win" it without going to court.

     

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    btr1701 (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 2:39pm

    Jokes

    Iím trying to figure out when it became the proper role of government to police bad jokes. Or when it became incumbent upon the citizenry to worry about what the government does and does not find funny.

     

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      icon
      Wally (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 3:16pm

      Re: Jokes

      The issue is that the state of Ohio has the highest reported amount of recreational prescription medication use related deaths in the nation. You would not believe the amount of potential clients I had who thought I had an MD thinking that psychiatry = psychology and faking their disorders during Ohio State's final exams. It was unbelievable!

      I grew up in Mount Vernon and two close friends of mine died due to recreational use of prescription medications.

      Furthermore, Mike DeWine has a huge sense of humor and judging by his usually jovial disposition, this coffee mug was not questioned without sufficient reason. The problem has hit my state hard.

       

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        icon
        Wally (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 3:18pm

        Re: Re: Jokes

        Oh and I'm ordering that coffee mug now for myself and my brother :-3 I wonder if it can be personalized :-3

         

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 3:45pm

        Re: Re: Jokes

        The issue is that the state of Ohio has the highest reported amount of recreational prescription medication use related deaths in the nation


        So? What does that have to do with these products?

        Furthermore, Mike DeWine has a huge sense of humor and judging by his usually jovial disposition, this coffee mug was not questioned without sufficient reason.


        If this is true, he should share the sufficient reason with us, because the reason he gave is bogus.

        In the end, though, I don't really blame the AGs. Being a humorless prick seems to come with the job. I blame Urban Outfitters for caving to their request.

         

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          icon
          Zos (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 4:10pm

          Re: Re: Re: Jokes

          seems like a win/win for urban outfitters, outrage drives sales, they burn through remaining stock, while getting to say they cooperate ith prosecutor requests, and care about this scourge of the community, they get cred from both sides.


          rinse and repeat, come up with a new line, maybe something in cocaine this time.

           

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        btr1701 (profile), Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 12:02pm

        Re: Re: Jokes

        > The issue is that the state of Ohio
        > has the highest reported amount of
        > recreational prescription medication use
        > related deaths in the nation.

        That's *an* issue, but it's not *the* issue here. The issue here is that government using its weight and authority in an attempt to chill free speech merely because one of its officials (in his own words) doesn't find it funny.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:11pm

      Re: Jokes

      That is the problem - they're not doing their job policing themselves - the ultimate bad joke.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 4:47pm

    How much did DeWine spend on a coffee cup?

    Time, expense, paperwork, staff?

     

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    Anonymous Cowshit (profile), Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 3:05am

    Just plain daft

    People blow their brains out with guns, but you can still buy The Gun Mug.

    Sometimes elevators fall and kill the occupants, but the Falling Elevator Death t-shirt is still available.

    Some people should go get a life. Or a TV. Or a yo-yo. Anything to distract them from such pettiness.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    WickedCats, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 10:40am

    Geez, have they ever had a cup of coffee in their lives?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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