The viral Tide Pod Challenge is likely the reason behind some Walmart stores locking up the product behind glass to prevent people from stealing them.
The Tide Laundry Pods kept behind a thick wall of glass, under lock and key, according to KTLA sister station KTXL.
“I don't know what people are thinking, man, that’s kind of crazy, you know. It’s like comparing it to alcohol,” said University of the Pacific student John Kim.
The extra security is to ward off would-be thieves, according to a Walmart spokesperson.
“It’s kind of ridiculous that they have to lock it up,” said UOP student Sang Vo.
In Modesto and Stockton laundry pods that used to be easily accessible are no more.
Walmart spokesperson Charles Crowson gave KTXL this statement:
No retailer is immune to the challenge of crime and Walmart is no exception. The decision about which items are subject to additional in-store security is made on data gathered at the store level and often at the discretion of the store manager.
While Walmart would not say if the Tide Pod Challenge affected the decision, UOP students KTXL spoke to believe the viral trend may have had an impact.
“I mean, I mostly thought it was just a joke, so it’d be like Tide Pods in a pan and then someone would say ‘dinnertime,’” Isabel Mangaong said.
The challenge dares people to bite into the soap on camera.
The nation's poison control center reports in this month alone, more than 130 teenagers have purposefully bitten into the pods compared with just 53 people last year.
“It’s like you want to follow everybody else, nobody else does their own thing or follow what they think is right?” Celena Walker said.
“I think it’s very dangerous,” said Dr. Mai Le with Dignity Health Medical Group in Stockton.
Le says the trend has dire consequences.
“Not have enough oxygen, you can have pulmonary edema and end up with stop breathing ,and you can die from that part,” Le said.
So while it might seem funny, even entertaining, students say keep the pods in your laundry and away from your dinner plate.
“No, not Tide pods, no. You put them in your wash, every time you wash," Celena Walker said.
Poison control says if you accidentally or intentionally ingest the pods, please call their hotline number right away at 1-800-222-1222 or text POISON to 79797