A Pitt Meadows family was shocked when their six-year-old son discovered a syringe with a needle still attached to it in a board game they had purchased from a Value Village in Coquitlam.
On Sunday, Paula Selman took her son Angus, 6, to a birthday party in Coquitlam. She popped in Value Village, dropping off items for donation, when she saw the game, Mouse Trap, which brought up childhood memories, so she bought it.
When she returned home to their Pitt Meadows cul de sac at around 1:30 p.m., a couple of neighbourhood children ran over to the house before she could even get in the door.
As Paula unloaded, Angus and his friends, including a five- and an eight-year-olds, grabbed the board game and ran upstairs.
Within a few minutes, Angus came down the stairs, holding the needle, and said: “Mommy, what is this?”
Angus had pulled off the cap, but realizing it was a needle, put it back on.
Paula is in nursing school and has had talks with her sons about needles.
None of the children were hurt.
Also in the box were two partly empty tubes of glue.
Mitch Selman, Angus’ father, said it was obvious to him that the needle and glue had been somebody’s drug paraphernalia stashed in the game box.
“It was just three little kids up there with a who knows how much it had been used or if it had been used at all. It was a hypodermic needle, pure and simple,” he added.
Paula called Value Village right away and phoned her husband to tell him what happened.
Mitch also called the store and demanded to talk to a store manager and was told somebody would call him back right away.
“She slammed the phone down,” said Mitch.
“OK, that’s a great way to handle a situation like this,” he thought.
About an hour later, somebody from Value Village called Paula and left a message with an apology, as well as information about upcoming sales.
“That was a real kicker. My kid just opened up a game from your store and you are trying to sell me used socks. Give me a break,” said Mitch.
Value Village did get in contact with them again at around 3 p.m. on Monday with a stronger apology, but only after they had posted their story to Facebook.
“We’re not looking for compensation or anything,” Mitch said.
“But pull up your socks.”
Mitch said a representative from Value Village suggested somebody in the store may have put the needle in the game box, but he doesn’t believe that.
He plans to follow up with Value Village to see if any changes will take place to avoid similar incidents.
“As a consumer, we have an inalienable right to know that what we take home is going to be safe for ourselves and for our children.”
Mitch has kept the needle for now.
“When I think about what could have happened, it could have been one hundred times worse. One thousand times worse. And they’re lucky it wasn’t.”