Ebola Plush Toys Sell Out Because That's What Everyone Wants On Their Christmas List
What's the best way to react to a potential global health crisis? Whatever it is, I feel like it isn't buying up a bunch of Ebola plush toys. But maybe that's just me being a downer. After all, it's not like Ebola's killed 4,500 people or anything. Oh, wait.
The Ebola plush toy in question is produced by Giant Microbes, a company that makes toys in the shape of all sorts of viruses and bacteria. It's apparently had an Ebola toy in stock for years — here's a mention of the product from 2009 (Ebola was first discovered in 1976, though this is the most severe outbreak of the virus to date). Now that Ebola is making headlines every day, however, the company reports that it is completely out of stock of its stuffed replica of the virus.
Now, on the one hand, it's not like this toy was produced specifically by some random toy company looking to cash in on the epidemic. Giant Microbes has been around for years, and has been producing the Ebola plush toy for a long time. It's also an educational company, and all of its toys come with an informational packet. So that's good. After all, with all the panic and misinformation accompanying any potentially terrifying health threat, accurate information is always a positive.
Still, it's a little disturbing to think that the toy has sold out due to what can only be the "publicity" provided by the recent health crisis. Given how many people have already died — not to mention how many more most likely will die before the epidemic gets under control — it seems a little unsavory that one of the effects of this horrible crisis would be to make a toy extra popular.
Plus, some of the reactions people have been having to the toy can definitely leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Now, I'm not here to tell people they can't enjoy toys shaped like viruses — I think I even have a few Giant Microbe products lying around from birthdays past. They're a strangely fascinating combination of cute and morbid, and I've always kind of liked the idea that they're also a STEM-related product that you can also give to young girls without explaining that no, this isn't just for boys.
Still, the fact that the company's website describes the toy as a "uniquely contagious gag gift" and encourages people to "learn all about this fearsome front page disease" is probably crossing a line, given the global circumstances. And the fact that so many people are eagerly buying up the toys while making "I've got Ebola!" jokes is just tasteless.
Ebola is a real disease, one that's killed thousands of people and is still killing people as we speak. So fun and educational products are great, but let's not lose sight of the human lives involved, okay people?
That goes for the Ebola TV show, too.
Image: Giant Microbes/Amazon