For Leonard Berkeley, the term “potty mouth” now has a whole new meaning.
The 54-year-old Woodmere man was disgusted at the sight of candy-filled plastic toilets at the counter of a Hewlett convenience store three weeks ago.
He had wandered into the In N Out, located at 300 Mill Rd., just as he has for the past 20 years. As he handed money to the clerk he noticed the store had a box of “Sour Flush,” a novelty candy by California-based Kidsmania, on display at the register. The product features two plunger-shaped lollipops and a toilet bowl filled with sour sugar. Consumers are supposed to lick the plunger, stick it into the toilet to collect some of the sugar, pull out the plunger and lick it again. Berkeley, who is not a parent, said he finds the concept offensive.
“If I were a parent of a young child I would be outraged by someone trying to sell that to my kid,” he said. “That’s the kind of contempt they have for the children of this community? Go eat out of a toilet?”
Berkeley, an investigator for the state Department of Labor, said he told the store’s clerk that they shouldn’t be selling that type of candy, but it was still for sale at the counter as of last week.
Store employees had no comment when newsday.com visited, and repeated attempts to contact the proprietor were unsuccessful.
“We really haven’t had a lot of complaints about it,” said Bill Kenney, vice president of sales for Kidsmania, adding that Sour Flush has been on the market for 10 years and he couldn’t recall a complaint. “It’s not for adults, it’s for kids, and some kids like that stuff.”
Circle A, a nearby convenience store at 305 Rockaway Tpke. in Lawrence, does not carry the item, and manager Harry Batel said it never will.
“It’s no good, a toilet bowl and a plunger,” he said. “We don’t get a lot of kids, but if we did we wouldn’t sell that anyway.”
Hewlett Elementary School PTA member Suzie Hagen, whose son is 10, doesn’t think Sour Flush is the worst thing in the world.
“I wouldn’t necessarily buy something like that for him, but there’s lots of candy out on the market that is really distasteful,” she said.
Kenney said the company is not looking to offend anybody and that sometimes kids, often little boys, like “gross” items such as Sour Flush.
“One of the biggest selling items out there is gummy worms, and to some people the idea of eating a worm is disgusting,” he said. “The best selling item at Easter time is Marshmallow Peeps, and some people don’t like the idea of eating a chicken raw.”
Berkeley wasn’t impressed with the comparison.
“A toilet is part of the human experience, and eating a worm is something a bird does,” he said. “I think a toilet hits home more resonantly when you’re saying, ‘Eat out of a toilet.’”
Berkeley said the continued sale of the candy will not prevent him from shopping at In ‘N Out in the future.