DURHAM, N.C. - Some parents in Durhan, N.C., are waging a campaign to shield children from what they say are sexually-oriented gifts available at local mall stores, specifically the chain stores Spencer's Gifts, ABC News reported.
Spencer's Gifts, says ABC News, is known for selling sexually provocative items along with gag gifts and goofy presents. The report cited one store that was adjacent to a Build-a-Bear workshop and another located next to a carousel.
According to the ABC report, concerned mother Carol Shepard was upset. She told ABC News, "I went in to see for myself and it was disgusting." Shepard confronted a store clerk. She told ABC News, "I said, 'Would you sell these to young kids?' And he said, 'Oh yeah, the only thing we can't sell them is lighter fluid.'"
Another parent, Laura Hall, told ABC News about her visit to Spencer Gifts. "My 11-year-old walked up with a sex toy and asked what it was," Hall said.
ABC News has reported that some parents have taken video cameras into stores to document how graphic some of the items actually are. When the parents attempted to post the video on YouTube, the site flagged it as inappropriate and restricted it to people 18 years old and older.
Another parent was confused. She told ABC News, "The question to me is how are the YouTube standards, why pornographic there, but in our town of Durham, N.C., is it OK," said Virginia Dirschl.
In an official response to the ABC report, Spencer's Gifts said, "Spencer's understands our obligation to maintain an environment of trust appropriate for the guests who patronize our stores. In every location, we inform our guests, before entering, that a small portion of adult-themed merchandise is on display in the rear of the store. It is also our policy to discourage the sale of items with an adult theme to guests under the age of majority. Spencer's has a 60-year tradition as the authentic destination for fun, humor and unique merchandise targeted to our core 18- to 24-year-old guests, but we also respect the choices of all individuals who visit our stores."