Products gone bad will happen, that is life. Between simple mistakes from the best engineers, and Chinese fraud artists who couldn't care less about endangering others - bad products happen. But they usually started with a great idea. What about when they don't?
On Saturday, my cousin and I got our ears pierced. We did it at Claire's in the mall. It was kinda pricey, but the only other choice is (I thought) Wal-Mart. My cousin told me that Wal-Mart doesn't even pierce ears anymore. They sell you the piercing gun and you do it yourself. I thought this was kinda odd (oh, and for what it's worth, as a sideline I already regret my choice of piercing earrings I should have got the ones my cousin did, I liked them more but they cost $10 more than the ones I got - 6 weeks till I'm allowed to put something else in and 4 days later I'm wondering if it would *really* hurt anything to change them in a couple more weeks...). But it was one of those too crazy to believe, my cousin had already had hers done (she did it earlier in the day and had me meet her to see hers, then I decided to do it too with a tiny bit of pressure from her), and we were right there at Claire's.
But I was still curious about this mystery of Wal-Mart selling you the piercing gun. Sure enough, Wal-Mart really doesn't pierce ears any more. I went to Wal-Mart to check this out, and searched online. The lady at Wal-Mart was more than willing to talk about it. It's made by Inverness and as best as I can tell is their "Personal Ear Piercer" - though I couldn't see the actual packaging. The lady at Wal-Mart acknowledged you really do need a friend and that it would be hard in a mirror. She explained the procedure - clean the ear, mark it, aim the gun, squeeze it. Exactly like they do in Claire's or anywhere else. Except you do it yourself. Everything you need is included.
To me this seems more like an answer to lawsuits and complaints. If they pierce it you blame them for anything gone wrong (my first set of earrings - also at Claire's - weren't pierced exactly where I wanted them - they were a bit too high). If you do it yourself a lot of blame, and liability, goes onto yourself. I can see why this product appeals to them.
But it is a *bad idea.* Even the minimally trained piercers at Claire's and Wal-Mart have done it a bunch of times, have practiced before trying an ear, have a good idea what will happen. You're much more likely, no matter how smart you are, to get one crooked or not positioned perfectly if you've NEVER DONE IT BEFORE. Would you want a brain surgeon (very intelligent) fixing a broken bone in your foot if he'd never done that kind of surgery? No, you'd want someone with experience. Shouldn't it be the same way with your ears - or worse, your kids ears? (Though to be honest, if my aunt hadn't been there to reassure me and the lady at Claire's that her marks were crooked, my ears would've been off a tiny bit this time, one mark was like 1/2 a millimeter too high)
Second problem, and another concern, is that people will use this inappropriately. I don't mean people buying it for under-18's. My internet research revealed that concern (older sibling, friend, etc, buying it without the parent's okay). To me that's a non-concern - people need personal responsibility. I mean people using it for inappropriate piercings.
Piercing "guns" should *only* be used on the ears. Even at that, they really are best only on the ear lobes. Claire's, etc does use them on the cartilage but with practice and some skill. And many people say even that's not a great idea. Why? Piercing studs are not that sharp. They're sharpened earrings forced through. Earlobes are squishy, dangly, and easy to push something through. Cartilage isn't. Newer piercing studs are sharper and better than old ones for the cartilage, but things are still more likely to go wrong than with a needle.
Anywhere else on the body though it gets much worse, piercing studs have a backing that would collect bacteria and yucky stuff in the nose. They're too short for the belly button, they'd destroy your teeth on the lip, etc. Overall, just *really* bad ideas. But how many people are going to buy this kit and try it anyways, no matter how inappropriate it is? I suppose personal responsibility comes in there too. But it just feels like a bad idea to be encouraging it like this.
What do all of y'all think. Is Wal-Mart selling piercing guns instead of piercing ears anymore a good idea or a bad idea?