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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Explicit Toys

Executive director David W. Almasi finds some poor choices being made by one of America's largest toy retailers:
The Tom Cruise movie "The Last Samurai" received an R-rating largely because of its violent content. It's now on sale at Toys "R" Us. In a Sunday newspaper insert covering May 16-22, "The Last Samurai" was grouped with family-targeted movies like "The Haunted Mansion" and "Peter Pan" among the "hundreds of titles" to be found in Toys "R" Us stores at "Geoffrey's Box Office."

Online, Toys "R" Us is teamed up with Amazon. While the site is geared toward selling kid-friendly fare, it's still linked directly to Amazon's main site. As pointed out in an October 2003 National Policy Analysis, Amazon and other media and electronics stores routinely offer adult-themed videos for sale on-line without safeguards to keep them out of the hands of young people. Selecting the "all products" search field and typing in "Girls Gone Wild" (the infamous collections of girls exposing themselves on camera) on what was toysrus.com linked me to an Amazon catalog providing a selection of 78 DVDs and 44 video titles including "Dormroom Fantasies" and "College Co-Eds Mardi Gras." That's a problem.

Toys "R" Us is the largest toy retailer in the world, but it is losing out to Wal-Mart here in the United States. Wal-Mart refuses to stock some of Hollywood's racier titles like the Girls Gone Wild collection and even prevents people from purchasing R-rated DVDs at new self-serve check-outs without verification of age. That attracts family-oriented shoppers.

Any questions as to why some people prefer to shop Wal-Mart?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:36 AM

Copyright The National Center for Public Policy Research