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Tide Pod Challenge

The Latest Internet Meme is Nearly Killing People

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Miles Goldman

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It seems as if the popular internet trends keep getting weirder by the day. First, there was the cinnamon challenge, and now there is the deadly “Tide Pod Challenge.” This new challenge involves individuals posting a video of themselves online, where they are seen popping the small laundry detergent pacs and ultimately gagging on the fatal product. Some people even cook the pods prior to eating them.

A pack of 55 Tide Pods (vox.com)

A Tide Pod is laundry detergent heavily concentrated into a single packet, meant to dissolve in water and clean a load of laundry.  A Tide Pod looks like a little rounded packet, white with two separate swirls of blue and orange liquid. The swirls were a design choice– indicating that the pod brings together three ingredients (cleaning, stain-fighting and brightening.) The pod is transparent because customers have told Tide they like to know what they’re putting into the wash with their clothes.

Part of the bizarre phenomenon is the commentary by people who find humor in the appetizing look of the Tide Pods. Lately, some chefs and bakers have started replicating the design with frosting or food coloring on donuts, pizza and other food items.

The challenge, mainly performed by teenagers, has been all over the news following many near-death instances. According to a report from the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 86 people have called poison control so far this year to report someone who has ingested a Tide Pod.  Poison control centers reported that 220 teens had ingested a Tide Pod last year, and 25 percent of them did so intentionally.

An image from a since deleted YouTube clip of three teenagers ingesting tide pods (pennlive.com)

The consumption of a singular Tide Pod can lead to seizure, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death. Celebrities have started to speak out about this absurd challenge, including the New England Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski, who stated “What the heck is going on, people? Use Tide Pods for washing. Not eating.”

Youtube’s guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm, so they have been working quickly to remove flagged videos that violate their policies. As a result, almost all videos involving the Tide Pod Challenge have been removed from the video watching platform.

A closer look at what these Tide Pods look like (bostonmagazine.com)

Anne Marie Buerkle from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission went on Good Morning America and stated, “Teens trying to be funny are now putting themselves in danger by ingesting this poisonous substance. This is what started out as a joke on the internet and now it’s just gone too far.”

Senior Griffin Basso said “I was hesitant to try a pod after watching some Youtube videos but I decided not to. I realized it is idiotic.”

Senior Finn McSweeney stated, “My brother dared me to eat a Tide Pod. He said he would pay me $50 but I declined. It was definitely tempting because of how tasty they look, but I am happy with my decision.”

The delicious ‘Pied Pods’ from Vinnie’s Pizzeria (amny.com)

At Vinnie’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn, New York, co-owner Sean Berthiaume decided to cook up a way to offer teenagers an alternative to ingesting poisonous balls of detergent.

Berthiaume has created PIEd Pods, which are mini calzones with the hypnotic colors of Tide Pods. The mini calzones are filled with mozzarella, ricotta, and pepperoni. It has since brought the Pizzeria much more business and fame.

Cranky Al’s “Tide Pod Doughnuts” (gannett-cdn.com)

Cranky Al’s in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, is also offering a delicious alternative to the toxic challenge. The bakery now offers “Tide Pod doughnuts”– raspberry-filled doughnuts with vanilla frosting, and the characteristic crescent swirls on top. For the past two weeks, these doughnuts have been selling out, and they will be available until February 14th.

It is a good sign that people who crave Tide Pods now have other alternatives, such as “Tide Pod Doughnuts” or “Pied Pods.” Let’s hope this challenge will turn into a thing of the past, and just a passing internet meme.

 

1 Comment

One Response to “Tide Pod Challenge”

  1. adviser on February 5th, 2018 8:33 am

    Yum. Donuts. Excellent article about the bizarre and ridiculous. Excellent quotes from students.

    [Reply]

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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