He’s Totally Madmium

, , , , , | Right | March 8, 2020

(I work in an arts and craft store that sells spray paint. Around Halloween, an older man comes in, stops to look at our sale items — at the moment face and body paint — and then heads straight to the spray paint aisle. He then purchases quite a few cans of the cadmium spray paint we have, all of which have clear labeling on the sides about the toxicity of them and how you should wear a mask when using them. With each can, we offer a free face mask for convenience. As I’m ringing him up, the conversation goes like this:)

Me: “Would you like a few free face masks with your spray paint today? Or do you already have enough at home?”

Customer: “What? Why would I need a mask?”

Me: “This particular brand of spray paint isn’t very safe. Cadmium colours and spray paint in general are toxic to humans. If you breathe it in, it may make you very ill.”

Customer: “I won’t be breathing it in; it’s going straight onto my face! It’ll be fine!”

Me: “What do you mean, sir?”

Customer: “I use it as body paint!”

Me: “Our face paints are just there if you’d like to check those out, instead. I really wouldn’t recommend using these on your skin. Spray paint can cause irritation on your skin and cadmium, the colour, is similar to lead. It can really damage your body if you accidentally ingest it.”

Customer: “I’m not eating it, and I’ve done this since I was a child! It’s much easier than using those little pots of paint to cover a whole body! I’ll be fine.”

Me: “…”

(I still think about this man to this day. How he hasn’t gotten lead poisoning still baffles me.)

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