Guys, you won’t believe this, but someone’s done something stupid on the internet. Strange, considering we’ve always considered the online world to be a realm of reasoned debated and refined sensibilities, but an ugly stain has been cast upon this pristine locale.
That stain is called… ‘The Tide Pod Challenge’.
WTF is a Tide pod? Well, Tide is an American brand of detergent – so far, so sensible and mundane. WTF, then, is a “Tide Pod Challenge?’ Here’s where it all gets a bit Darwinian. It’s a viral video meme that’s taken off in recent weeks, and involves YouTubers uploading videos of themselves eating those detergent pods you stick in the washing machine with your clothes.
Even a small amount can make you puke, shit yourself or have difficulty breathing . You might even die if the detergent enters your lungs. But, like Eve warned against eating that apple, hungry YouTubers simply can’t get enough of those tasty, tasty pods.
There’s been an outcry from parents, Tide and anyone with half a brain. As a result, most Tide Pod Challenge videos have been stripped down from YouTube, though some have been archived in the form of Instagram videos. It appears that the meme may have begun life as a 2015 article by parody news site The Onion. A follow-up published at the end of last year, headlined ‘Tide Debuts New Sour Apple Detergent Pods’, riffs on real-life scare stories about children accidentally eating detergent pods, comically claiming that the brand has unveiled a new flavour to keep the kids entertained.
Ho ho – fun joke, eh? Earlier this year, though, vloggers began to stick ’em in their mouths for real, proving you should never overestimate the intelligence of the average YouTuber. The Tide brand has responded in kind, tweeting a video that features American football player Rob Gronkowski telling the kids to just say no to pods.
What should Tide PODs be used for? DOING LAUNDRY. Nothing else.
— Tide (@tide) January 12, 2018
Tide also uploaded a more sincere YouTube video about keeping children safe from detergent, along with guidelines on its website. Nothing there about not indulging dumbo vloggers who’ll debase themselves in varying ways in exchange for views, but how much can one detergent brand really do? Even more ridiculously, the US Federal Agency joined in the backlash, tweeting: “HUMAN PEOPLE UNITED AGAINST EATING LAUNDRY PODS.”
— US Consumer Product Safety Commission (@USCPSC) January 13, 2018
Are we entering end times? Model and all-round Twitter don Chrissy Teigen has drawn a chilling link with regards to all this, and she’s not the only one having fun with the phenomenon.
trump became president the same year people started eating tide pods
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 15, 2018
1998: In 20 years we'll have flying cars
2018: we literally have to tell people not to eat Tide Pods
— Greg Baroth (@gbaroth) January 15, 2018
A simple fix for the problem of people eating tide pods pic.twitter.com/VGo2OaBPI9
— dril nye the reply guy (@steve_jorbz) January 14, 2018
But are they free range Tide Pods?
— Schültzie (@muffnbear) January 15, 2018
If I'm not supposed to eat the Tide pods then why are they citrus flavored?
— Apathetic activist (@coketruck76) January 15, 2018
The fact that we need public service announcements to warn people not to eat Tide pods says a lot about where we're at as a species
— Im All Write? (@imallwritecom) January 15, 2018
What have we learned here? That detergent pods ain’t food, people ain’t smart and YouTube is not exactly a Mensa convention. No, you’re right, we’ve learned nothing and the end may well be nigh. Still – kids, stay off the Tide Pods, yeah?