Walmart pulls children's toy that swears and sings in Polish about doing cocaine

228 points126 comments12 days
by tyingq12 days ago

"These items are sold by a third-party seller on our marketplace website"

That's really the essence of the story here. Walmart, Amazon, and others sell almost anything via their 3rd party seller functionality. With little oversight on product safety, counterfeits, issues like this one, etc. And not really enough visual cues and explanation to the buyer about what a 3rd party marketplace is. People seem to understand, for example, that their eBay purchase is something of a crapshoot. They don't always get that idea on Amazon and WalMart.

by jrootabega12 days ago

Not enough cues? Hell, more like actively pushing and misleading you to buy from third-party sellers even when you explicitly filter by first-party only. Why would they leave potential sales on the table?

by lotsofpulp12 days ago

Amazon was bad when they removed the option to filter shipped and sold by Amazon many years ago. I thought Walmart was better, and it is because they let you filter for retailer as Walmart only, but recently they made it so it resets the filter every time you search.

I cannot blame them, since retail profit margins are so low. But as a buyer, I try to direct my purchases to the retailers that make it easy for me to not deal with resellers. So I try to use Home Depot/Lowes/staples/Best Buy more often. Target is decent, but they also have more and more third party sellers now and do the same thing as Walmart.

by danudey11 days ago

I solved this problem by filtering for "Prime" shipping, until one day I noticed that I was getting free Prime shipping on a third-party sale that shipped from China and would arrive in 30-45 days.

If it's gonna take over a month to deliver and it's not a car, it better damn well be free shipping.

Now I solve the problem by only ordering from more local companies; Best Buy is surely not local, but the local best buy is a lot more local than Chinese third-party sellers of counterfeit goods.

Oh, and let's not forget that Amazon allows you to ship counterfeits and claim they're real, and then Amazon will mix them all together and sell your counterfeits to their customers and their legitimate products to your customers.

by headmelted12 days ago

I wonder about exactly this though. What if some counterfeit device/toy is so toxic/dangerous as to kill someone?

Who’s liable? I’m sure the store’s lawyers have pretty strong opinions but how would a jury view that if the brand of the store is plastered all over the checkout page?

(Has this ever happened/been tested in court?)

by pvaldes12 days ago

If China Export logo cloning the European Community logo go with it unscathed, the perspectives of doing somebody about that aren't bright. People buy at their own risk in such big companies.

by swader99912 days ago

Yeah it's great to keep it local. /s

by lotsofpulp12 days ago

How this is related to my comment? The purpose of buying something sold by the big box stores is to have a higher probability of them having vetted it or their source and it not being counterfeit, since they have to deal with the costs of the returns.

by jrootabega12 days ago

It is sad sometimes that we have to choose between alien and predator

by Spooky2312 days ago

I’m actually surprised that nobody has been caught using Amazon or Walmart to sell drugs. Package up some sort of expensive “soap flakes” or overpriced oregano.

by mysterydip12 days ago

"mark this item as a gift" plus "include a note for the recipient?" with the right passphrase would allow a shady seller to filter requests for their illicit goods vs packing up an actual bottle of oregano.

by dylan60412 days ago

It would be really impressive if they were able to manage this while Fulfilled by Amazon.

by ravenstine12 days ago

With same-day delivery to boot!

by notahacker12 days ago

Could be interesting if Amazon mix up inventory...

by rex_lupi12 days ago

thanks for the idea.

by yareally12 days ago

Actually, someone was caught a few days ago:

by User2312 days ago

Check out the "frequently bought together" for iron oxide[1]. It's entirely legal, but I wonder if it comes with a free ATF visit.


by jerkstate12 days ago

It doesn't. There are plenty of legit uses for thermite, and manufacturing explosives for personal use is perfectly legal. It's a lot of fun to make too (as long as you are careful!)

by hutzlibu12 days ago

"and manufacturing explosives for personal use is perfectly legal. "

But you probably should check your local legislation, as there are a lot of (most?) places where messing with explosives is indeed very illegal.

by blueflow12 days ago

Legitimate use: welding

by jws12 days ago

Back when Amazon sold West Systems powdered aluminum (for making epoxy wear resistant) the “bought with” was always powdered iron oxide. I wonder if that’s why they don’t carry it any more?

by walrus0112 days ago

One very common use for thermite is bonding grounding connectors together underground for telecom tower construction, before a foundation excavation is filled in. Most any serious tower erection crew will have a set of molds and thermite kit.

by jasonhansel12 days ago

You mean like the people using both Amazon and Walmart to sell a form of GHB?

by chefkoch12 days ago

Amazon takes a too big cut.

by drewzero111 days ago

Walmart's website is trying to be Amazon in the worst ways. Usually when I go to the website of a brick-and-mortar business I'm trying to get an idea of what they might have in stock, and about how much I should expect to pay for it. Other stores (Target, Home Depot, etc.) manage this very well with clear indications of whether an item is sold in stores or will need to be ordered. Walmart's site is useless for this.

They seem to be more concerned with selling the third-party stuff online than getting me into their store to pick something up today. My guess is, they've calculated that they can make more money off of third-party stuff online than impulse extras from in-store pickup. I'm certainly no ecommerce expert though.

by ornornor12 days ago

I keep hearing people saying “yes there are third party sellers but if you buy ‘shipped and sold by amazon’ then you’re good”

These people don’t realize that commingling is a thing and that shipped and sold by amazon just means that the same random third party seller simply paid amazon a bit more and sent their items to an amazon warehouse to use their logistics. It doesn’t guarantee anything. And except amazon basics items, amazon doesn’t sell or source any of the items directly. Nor do they feel like they’re responsible for them in any way.

by tester3412 days ago


There are kinda popular video(s) called "Polish Cow" which's basically animated cow dancing with this "hard song" in the background that people are not familiar with.

I bet it has something to do with this.

Probably those chinese manufacturers weren't aware or didn't care what does this song actually mean, but they just wanted to use something popular (maybe at that time)

even top comment on youtube says

>guy: puts his heart into a song about addiction and depression

>the internet: hehe funny cow go brrr


by st4lz12 days ago

DISCLAIMER: I'm living in Poland.

That song went viral during lockdowns, as it was a part of the deepfake video with the Minister of Health of that time, who had eyes with dark rings around them at the tv conferences (probably makeup), indicating he is working day and night to fight the pandemic. The healthcare quality decreased and the successes were only visible in state-controlled media, while multiple accusations of corruption in buying the medical equipment. Before he resigned, he complained that he can't stop himself reading multiple jokes and memes about him appearing online every day.

The lyrics translation: "It's the only thing in my mind, 5g of cocaine..."

Link to the video:

by randycupertino12 days ago

It is a pretty good song, and I like the juxtaposition of the lyrics being about fighting depression vs the upbeat catchy tune.

Does Poland still have state-controlled media? I'm Polish (living in the US, though have visited 2x) but wasn't aware that still existed there.

by ajuc12 days ago

The problem isn't that they are state controlled. They were pretty good for a while (between 1989 and 2015). Maybe biased, but the rules about equal time for each party etc. were respected and journalists from both sides of the political spectrum had their programs there no matter who was in power at the time (for example very anti-PO Ziemkiewicz and Wildstein during PO terms).

The problem is that the current government took over prosecutors, judges, media oversight institutions, constitutional court, basically all institutions that were supposed to protect media neutrality and rule of law - and openly ignores the rules. Since 2015 it goes worse and worse and by now it's basically North Korea level.

I'm not joking, this was in the state media before presidential elections:

Whenever they show Donald Tusk (one of leaders of opposition) in TVP they put his voice through distortion so he sounds like Darth Vader. And they cut to him saying stuff in German every few minutes as it has bad associations in Polish :)

by shameless_plug12 days ago

It would be good to hear somebody from the other side of the spectrum so the reader who does not live in Poland can develop unbiased opinion.

From my observations supporters of current government was saying exactly the same thing before this government was elected.

by atraac12 days ago

TVP is practically owned by a leading party, it’s a propaganda tube by now. And it’s not even subtle, it’s North Korea level now.

by KptMarchewa12 days ago

Yes, and they spew north korea-level propaganda.

by shameless_plug12 days ago

Pretty much every mainstream media in Poland are "North Korea style propaganda" (as another commenter named it), just depending on which political camp people are they will call the other part of mainstream propaganda. People who voted for this government would call TVN propaganda, people who hate this government call TVP propaganda. This extends to radio and press. And people who don't vote because there is no political option with sensible program in many cases don't watch TV or listen to the radio..

by garaetjjte12 days ago

There's no comparison between PiS and any other government that was before. They are on wholly different level. Trying to muddle things by saying the other side it also bad is just disingenuous.

>And people who don't vote because there is no political option with sensible program

You say that as if not voting was some virtue, it's not, and one of the reasons for the situation we are currently in.

by hawski12 days ago

I don't believe, that TVN is an objective TV station, but they are on a different level, than TVP. Even if we would say for the sake of argument, that they are about similar level of propaganda the state run television is financed by taxes [1] and TVN is a private station, that lately had to put up with more obstacles. Also it is a well known fact how time allocation by party in the state TV got severely skewed under the current rule towards the ruling party.

[1] and they increase the amount of money put there -

by pixl9712 days ago

I dont know anything about the stations, but it's always possible that both stations are propaganda.

by archibaldJ12 days ago

a search for cactus toy on taobao returns many sellers of the same product (for as cheap as 5USD). Looks like it's quite popular in China.

One seller from beijing even uses the same Polish song in its ads:

And in the cactus playlist there goes a song titled "Dancing Polish Cow" =)

by yorwba12 days ago

The first entry of the song list is 生日快乐恶搞版 (happy birthday prank version) and the fifth is 尼玛情歌 (Nima love song, where Nima is a homophone of 你妈, your mother). I suspect whoever selected the songs for that cactus was well aware of what they were doing when including the Polish song, and they were having great fun.

by robjan12 days ago

If anyone really wants it, it's available on AliExpress for around 5-7 USD including shipping to pretty much anywhere in the world

by aaron69511 days ago

> If anyone really wants it

Why else would I be in the comments?

I know experiences are what matter. Not things.

But I think this has enough to talk about over the next 10 years to make it an experience being on my shelf. Maybe not but I've wasted more money on a bad round of expensive drinks.

Thank you for the link.

by hdjjhhvvhga12 days ago

Oh I remember it was popular during the lockdown, people were doing "remixes" with different celebrities, politicians etc.:

They used this platform:

Edit: This one is my favorite:

- they got all popular (=hated) Polish politicians and even the late Polish pope.

by dylan60412 days ago

Wow, the deep fake is so weird. It's like being on acid* with the weird distortion on the faces. Very trippy.

*According to a "friend"

by userbinator12 days ago

Probably those chinese manufacturers weren't aware or didn't care what does this song actually mean, but they just wanted to use something popular (maybe at that time)

Definitely. It's a catchy song for sure. That's how Gangnam Style ended up in quite a few toys too (e.g. ). Before that, it seems various EDM was popular.

by SyzygistSix12 days ago

Ebay sells out of popular toy that swears and sings in Polish about doing cocaine

"This year's hit toy was late in coming, and the few remaining are going fast, some for incredible prices."

I've never heard of Cypis, and now I absolutely want this toy. Learning to swear in Polish is a form of education. The happy accidents coming from Asian production can be really awesome. There are lots of negatives from this kind of production; we should be happy for the few positive ones. This is almost as great as getting a Barbie Liberation Army GI Joe or Barbie.

by randycupertino12 days ago

> Learning to swear in Polish is a form of education.

Highly recommend Furious Pete's educational video about Kurwa! (nsfw):

His entire Polish language lessons series is pretty fun and tongue-in-cheek yet educational.

by thih912 days ago

Seems similar to "fuck", "fuck off", "fuck up", etc; but admittedly taken to a next level. This seems a general property of the Polish language, I recall an image with showing similar behaviour with another Polish swearword:

by randycupertino11 days ago

It's basically c*nt in Polish but is adaptable to any situation.

by 1cvmask12 days ago

This is the weirdest Easter egg I have come across in a toy ever. Something tells me that this will become a collectors item like the upside down stamp Inverted Jenny.

From the article:

The cactus was sold on Walmart’s website as an educational toy for about $26 and sings songs in English, Spanish and Polish.

But Tanner, who is Polish, said when she listened to the Polish lyrics, the cactus was singing about doing cocaine, drug abuse, suicide, depression and used profanities.

"It just so happens that I am Polish and when I started to listen to the songs and I heard the words," she said. "I was in shock. I thought what is this some kind of joke?"

The song is by Polish Rapper Cypis, who is reportedly unaware his song was used by the Chinese manufacturer of the children's toy.

by tyingq12 days ago

The "Troll" dolls with the under-the-skirt giggle button was somewhat memorable.

by Freak_NL12 days ago

Kind of silly how that article doesn't show the actual button.

by tyingq12 days ago

Ahh. One that does:

And it's definitely curious placement for a button that makes the doll giggle and gasp.

by ffhhj12 days ago

Actually seems like a good idea executed wrong. The placing of the button will make the doll giggle when it sits, probably that was the intention.

by DocTomoe12 days ago

Remember the Harry Potter vibrating Nimbus 2000 flying broom toys which became a tiny bit too popular with the girls for all the wrong reasons [1], thus ironically mimicking the original reason witches were depicted riding brooms[2]?




by saagarjha12 days ago

All the right reasons, you mean. Girls want to enjoy their lives, too.

by Freak_NL12 days ago

Which parts are NSFW? (As long as you don't play the text of the first one through some text-to-speech algorithm.)

by wpietri12 days ago

If you search for these things on Amazon, you will find about a zillion sellers. Seems like somebody could use this to map out a whole set of dubious marketing companies.

But my favorite bit is the product Q&A here:

It's full of would be scam accomplices who bought the product on the promise of getting the money refunded if they gave a 5-star review. E.g.:

Q: Is this product easy to use?

A: No, the seller is a liar and deceived me. Let me buy it and give it a five-star review and give me a refund. Then the fact is that I did not receive a refund from the seller.

Delicious. More scamming of scammers, please!

by rvnx12 days ago

I don't know, I kinda like the product to be fair:

It has pretty good entertainment value.

by wpietri12 days ago

Oh, I'm definitely tempted to order one. I love dodgy electronic knick-knacks. But that's not going to keep me from some schadenfreuede around people getting upset that the fraudster they signed up to help also scammed them.

by AlbertoGP12 days ago

This was noticed by a Polish mother in Taiwan and reported last July:

Here is the cactus playing the song in question:

by baybal212 days ago

This is hilarious

Though, i think it all boils down to fee Chinese being proficient in Polish, or any foreign languages to begin with

by akudha12 days ago

A Chinese company stole a Polish song, put it into kids toys and is selling them in the U.S, without the marketplace realizing it (though the last part is hard to believe)

All serious issues aside, that is true globalization, lol. Copyright issues, quality control issues, ignorance (willful?) ...

by swader99912 days ago

They should have waited a month or two. I would have actually bought one. Probably a hot item on the eBay.

by beardyw12 days ago

I always feel weird listening to songs in a language I don't understand. I feel I should find out what it means so I know whether to approve of it or not!

by dusted12 days ago

I prefer listening to songs in a language I don't understand, it makes me able to appreciate the sound of the voice, the rhythm and musical quality, without being biased by the content of the lyrics, which are often unimpressive to say the least.

by scns12 days ago

Well, i'd suggest listen to songs written by musicians with great lyrical talent ;) Listening to Nas (i call him the black shakespeare) at the moment, start with the first album Illmatic [0]. The other luminary would be Chuck Shuldiner for me, IMO the most complete musician after Bach. Damn, 4_412_591 views! [1]. Whole album [2]. Or Anthony Rother, who needs only one sentence [3]


[1] [2]


by Izkata12 days ago

For anyone who hasn't seen it before, here's a song by an Italian composer made to sound like American English, but since it only uses nonsense even English speakers can get a bit of a feel for what we sound like to others:

by janto12 days ago

"Anything too stupid to be said is sung." - Voltaire (supposedly)

by Kye12 days ago

Even people who understand the words of a song frequently miss the meaning of the song, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

by sanqui12 days ago

"Which machine did you think they have been raging against? The washing machine?"

by lotsofpulp12 days ago

Words mean whatever meaning the person listening to them ascribes. If you do not ascribe anything, then they mean nothing.

by Someone123412 days ago

Still available from Amazon.

While there is a reference to the Polish language problem, most of the negative reviews are about the low quality, lack of volume control, and general failures.

by huitzitziltzin12 days ago

Do you have a link to the one that definitely sings the song in Polish? There are hundreds of dancing cactuses.

I know a Polish language learner who would really “benefit” from this item but I’d like the right one.

by toomuchtodo12 days ago

Link? Would love to pick a handful up as gag gifts.

by tyingq12 days ago

The one listed as a "best seller":

Though searching for "dancing cactus toy" shows lots of other sellers.

by SyzygistSix12 days ago

From the ad: "Even if there is something in your heart you dare not say, I'll help you say it."

I'm dying here. And to think I was worried that things like Google Translate would kill all the good Engrish.

by tyingq12 days ago

From my (pretty good quality, fwiw) LeeHoo Coffee Maker box:

"On a comfortable weekend afternoon, sinking into the red-and white check chair to watch others pass by, you can relish on the leisure time, relaxing with freshly brewed coffee by using the commercial coffee maker and the gentle humming of a girl singer."

by toomuchtodo12 days ago

Thank you!

by A4ET8a8uTh012 days ago

This may be regarded as a low value comment so I apologize in advance.

While reviewing the story ( and listening to the song ) my first thought was of Krusty from the Simpsons and how little he cared about the stuff he records on dolls bearing his likeness. In an odd way, it sounds exactly what happened here.

'This is how pros do it' - prolly Krusty

edit: I know that the actual rapper may actually go legally after the company using his song.

by dls201612 days ago

"My spidey sense is tingling."

by Overtonwindow12 days ago

No! As an adult I really want that! seriously though, doesn’t belong in the kids section, can they move it to novelties?

by bellyfullofbac12 days ago

It's all over Tiktok and IG, a Polish person I follow posted an IG story saying "For once I'm proud of my country".

I'm guessing the news story will make this toy the must-buy item for Polish (and others) meme followers this Christmas.

by Overtonwindow12 days ago

I’m already looking for it. Just the hilarity of it and the storytelling that can be done with it.

by renewiltord12 days ago

Walmart and friends only advantage is that I can go to the store and buy things. But they make searching for items I have to go to the store for really hard.

Many times I just want to know if this is in stock 30 mins from me. Any longer and I will just have it shipped on Amazon.

But instead Walmart is a shitty Amazon and I never use it.

by gambiting12 days ago


In fact, thinking about it - we have a signing toy for our kid, it has several songs in English, Polish and Chinese. The songs in Chinese definitely sound nice, they have a good rhythm to them, but they could be about literally anything. The Polish songs are good though(I speak Polish).

by lmilcin12 days ago

I am Polish.

I have seen the toy many months ago, if not the previous year. It has been internet sensation for a long time.

I fail to understand how this is any news.

My younger son (4 1/2) has learned this by accident (yeah, a moment of unrestricted youtube access) and now I am trying to get him to unlearn the song.

by cosmodisk12 days ago

I used to work in translation industry, so I think I've got a pretty good idea why this could have happened. The toy manufacturer or local distributor hired some audio company to do polish recording. They then outsourced to someone and probably screwed up with payments,so ended up getting 'alternative' recordings. The company was cheap,so no QA was done either. Boom, the cactus is now on the shelves. Our company picked up some major airlines in Asia to translate their inflight film catalog,as the last provider did it in a way that 'Titanic' became 'Drowning dicks' and etc.. The languages involved were quite exotic but still spoken by millions.

by delroth12 days ago

Maybe you should have read the article, which mentions that the Chinese company producing the toy just shipped a song from a Polish rapper without permission and is probably going to get sued for copyright infringement.

by cosmodisk12 days ago

My reasoning remains the same: someone in the whole chain got screwed and did it on purpose.

by ramtatatam12 days ago

I googled for this toy and listened to the song (around 1 minute long), there is not a single swear word sung by this toy. The song itself is definitely not for children, but the title is a bit misleading in my opinion..

by weystrom12 days ago

I wonder if somewhere there's one bored Polish electrical engineer who's laughing his ass off right now.

by aitchnyu12 days ago

I'm Indian and my 4 year old niece is very fond of Barbie Girl, which is a popular kids song for generations. Very few notice its about a woman's submission fantasy.

by __alias12 days ago

I'm not sure how the Indian part is relevant, but I do think the Barbie girl song is a little different. I was very young when this song came out and so it was popular when I was a kid. Barbie girl is just an innocent innuendo in a way, because any one young just interprets it completely differently to an adult.

by aitchnyu11 days ago

I believe thats why the English lyrics didnt raise eyebrows here, its just catchy music.

by ffhhj12 days ago

Wonder if they will also pull all the cheap laser/UV safety goggles that actually offer no protection at all.

by c1yd3i12 days ago