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‘Horrendous’ bomb-defusing game for kids sold at Walmart offends some shoppers

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A kids’ bomb-defusing game sold in Canada at Walmart has offended some shoppers who find it inappropriate, particularly in an era of terrorism threats.

“It’s horrendous, especially in a day and age like this,” said Sharon Butler, a parent who discovered the item recently at a Walmart store in London, Ont.

Called “Cut The Wire,” the game is recommended for children ages six and up. Players race to defuse a brightly coloured ticking toy bomb connected to numerous wires before it pretend-explodes. “Defuse or lose!” says the product’s packaging. 

In the U.S., Cut The Wire was sold exclusively at Target stores until it recently disappeared from shelves following complaints from shoppers.

Cut The Wire is selling for $19.93 at a Walmart in Toronto. The packaging for the bomb-defusing game says it’s suitable for ages six and up. (CBC)

Gabrielle Miller, in Surrey, B.C., believes Walmart Canada should also stop selling the product. She was taken aback when she discovered the game last week, prominently displayed at one of its stores in Langley.

“It says age six-plus, and that just seems shocking to me,” she said. “It was really inappropriate that in this day and age, with everything we have going on — with terrorism and violence, in general — that a store thought it was OK to have a [game] about dismantling a bomb, for kids.”

Sharon Butler, of London, Ont., wants Walmart Canada to stop selling Cut The Wire in its stores. (Jacqueline Hansen/CBC)

Butler also wants the game removed. “You’re desensitizing our children to dangerous items,” she said. “I don’t care if you put plastic on it or put pretty colours on it, it’s not a toy.”

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida had the same reaction. Earlier this week, it received a box containing a note that simply read “Boom,” along with a Cut The Wire toy bomb — mailed by a patrol deputy as a joke.

The sheriff’s office took it seriously, evacuating parts of the building and calling the bomb squad to investigate. The patrol deputy resigned following the incident and now faces a charge of planting a hoax bomb.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Florida received this package on Tuesday, containing a Cut The Wire toy bomb and a note containing only the word ‘Boom.’ (Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office)

Retailers respond

In response to shoppers’ complaints, Walmart Canada said it has no plans to reorder Cut The Wire when its stock runs out.

“We appreciate the concerns that have been raised regarding this item,” spokesperson Anika Malik said in an email. “Our intent was not to offend anyone.”

When Target started fielding criticism in late October, the U.S. company pledged to remove the product. One month later, Ben Aguirre discovered the game selling for half price on clearance at a location in Sunnyvale, Calif.

“I was kind of shocked to see that in the toy aisle, let alone in Target at all,” said Aguirre, who was shopping with his eight-year-old son at the time. “It’s kind of appalling.”

Target told CBC News this week that the game is now completely gone from its stores.

“We appreciate the feedback and have worked to remove this item from our assortment,” a spokesperson said in an email. “We do listen to customers and we take the feedback seriously.”

The game is still sold online in both Canada and the U.S on Amazon. Amazon declined to comment on the product.

 

Cut the Wire’s manufacturer, Yulu Toys, didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.

On its website, it promotes the product as “a fun game of luck!”

Yulu appears to have revised the recommended age for the game, stating online that it’s suitable for children aged eight and up — two years older than the recommendation on the game’s current in-store packaging.

Positive reviews

While it has faced some consumer criticism, Cut the Wire has also received many positive reviews from industry bloggers in the U.S.

“This game is very clever and we had a great time playing it,” wrote Julie Wright, who has two young children and runs the review site Emmys Deals.

In October, The Toy Insider declared non-traditional boardless games, such as Cut The Wire, one of the top toy trends for the holiday season.

“Cut the Wire will put your spy skills to the test,” said the toy review site. “It’s the ultimate race to see who can defuse or lose, before it’s too late!”

But Butler believes defusing bombs is something children shouldn’t be thinking about.

“Get out and play hopscotch,” she said.

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Real Estate

Do you know what kind of condo you’re buying?

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(NC) Condominiums can come in all shapes and sizes. But it’s important to know that not all condos are created equal when it comes to warranty coverage.

Whether you’re buying a condominium townhouse, loft-style two-bedroom or a high-rise studio, they are all classified as condominiums if you own your unit while at the same time share access (and the associated fees) for facilities ranging from pools and parking garages to elevators and driveways, otherwise known as common elements.

The most common types of condos are standard condominiums and common elements condominiums. The determination of how a condominium project is designated happens during the planning stage when the builder proposes the project and the municipality approves it.

When you’re in the market to buy, you need to know how your chosen condo is classified because it affects the warranty coverage under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Standard condominiums have warranty coverage for units and common elements, but common elements condominiums only have unit coverage.

How could this affect you as the owner? If your condo complex has underground parking and, for example, there are problems with leaks or a faulty door, the condo designation will determine whether there’s warranty coverage.

If your unit is a standard condominium development, then the common elements warranty may cover the repairs. If it’s a common element condominium development, then repairs might have to be covered by the condo corporation’s insurance, which could impact your condo fees or require a special assessment on all the owners.

To avoid surprises, you should have a real estate lawyer review the Declaration and Description attached to your purchase agreement to be sure that you know the designation and boundaries of the unit you’re looking to purchase. Find more information on the types of condos and their coverage at tarion.com.

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5 savvy renovations to make your kitchen look like new

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(NC) The kitchen is the heart and focal point of any home. But if yours is looking a little tired, a few simple renovations can change the feel of the entire space.

Whether you’ve just moved in, have been meaning to update for years or are experiencing life changes, remember that a kitchen uplift doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. These small-scale projects could be the change your kitchen needs:

  1. Brighten it up.Adding LED lights below your cabinets will brighten your backsplash and counter and provide a warm glow. Place your favourite containers below to act as focal points – those copper canisters that are hiding under the island and the marble coasters you couldn’t resist can now all be on display.
  2. Swap the old with the new.The backsplash is the first thing you see, so replacing it can be enough to give the space a whole new look. Try a unique shape or colour to change things up, like turquoise or patterned tiles, hexagon-shaped tiles or even a full slab of stainless steel.
  3. Rework what you have.People often think new cabinets are necessary for a kitchen reno, but a lot can be done with what you’ve got. Repainting the cabinets and switching out the knobs to chic new handles will do wonders for a makeover.
  4. Don’t hide away.Try adding some open shelving in an unused spot, such as above the sink or window, or next to the cabinets. Display your most beautiful dishes and add some decorative pieces to give the space a modern, airy feel.
  5. Add new materials into the mix.Changing the island to a butcher-block counter adds warmth and practicality.

Taking on a renovation can often feel overwhelming. But if you talk to your contractor about budgeting and spreading out payments through services like The Home Depot Project Loan, it can be easier than you think. The service allows you to finance any home projects, big or small and is available at locations across Canada.

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How to afford a home renovation that fits your life

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(NC) Changing seasons always bring about the desire to update our living spaces. But your life stage and budget can influence what kind of upgrades you can make. Here are some tips to get you started.

Assess the investment. The first step is to gauge how much value your investment will bring, whether you’re looking to sell or grow into a family home. A common misconception among home owners is that all renovations will increase a home’s value; unfortunately, this is not always the case. It’s always a good idea to strategically renovate the space to fit your life plan and goals.

Plan for both long- and short-term value. As a homeowner, it is important to assess what kind of value items can contribute to your life plan. Searching for products that are energy efficient, like an eco-friendly washing machine or water filtration system, can help you save on your monthly bills. A long-term investment, such as hardwood floors or bathroom tiles, can spruce up a living space for years to come. While sometimes this require a larger budget, the project can be both appealing to future buyers and stand the test of time in a family home.

Create a renovation budget. Once you have a clear plan, you’ll need to create a budget to align with your financial goals. Always ensure your budget includes any interest you’ll be paying. Ask multiple sources for competitive quotes.

Use a payment plan. For those high-ticket investment items, consider using a payment plan. Payment solutions such as The Home Depot Project Loan can help with bigger renovations. This allows you to stick to your budgeting goals while using a flexible payment plan to make larger purchases more accessible.

Use DIY to offset costs. In addition to using a payment plan, taking on a few safe and simple renovation projects yourself is an easy way to offset renovation costs. Your local hardware store can help source materials and provide helpful tips to make those do-it-yourself projects, such as refinishing cabinets or sanding old hardwood floors, a breeze.

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