Did you know that most small neighborhood shops no longer sell pipe cleaners? I almost ran out this week and tried to find some while on my way home from work. At two drug stores that I visited, I went into lengthy descriptions of pipe cleaners until I realized that the clerks I was speaking with had never seen one. At the local convenience store the clerk told me that he didn't have pipe cleaners but he did stock pipe tobacco. I asked him how anyone buying pipe tobacco might be expected to clean a pipe. His response was "We just stock pipe tobacco. I've never actually sold any." At my last stop, the cashier said that she thought that pipe cleaners were no longer manufactured; at least their distributor stopped delivering them. I asked her how could they do such a thing when school kids need them to construct little furry animals in their crafts classes. She told me point blank that pipe cleaners had been banned because one of these little school kids put out an eye while constructing a furry little animal.
So there you have it. To summarize:
Obviously, as this has all the hallmarks of an internet hoax, I'm emailing this message to as many people as possible, and I urge you to do the same. And sticking with the correct format for this type of message, here's the plea to write to your congressman about reversing this injustice. Remember, this message will probably circulate around the internet for many years, so be sure to remove the quote indicators from the left column before sending it along. Please do your part.
15 June 2001