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Sainsbury’s ‘lateral thinking’ children’s game upsets customers with ‘sick’ and inappropriate riddles

Published 23/12/2015

The 'Lateral Thinking Puzzles for Kids' game has sparked outrage from some customers
The 'Lateral Thinking Puzzles for Kids' game has sparked outrage from some customers

Sainsbury’s customers have expressed their shock after buying a puzzle game “for kids” which included riddles deemed inappropriate for young children.

The Christmas stocking-filler was marketed as suitable for ages “3+” – yet included morbid riddles about children being “handed one at a time to a man and shot” and “bound to a chair”.

Images of the playing cards from “Lateral Thinking Puzzles for Kids” were posted to Twitter and met a mixed response, with some users suggesting people were being “a bit over sensitive”.

But one customer said it was “sick” a game marketed at such young children should contain the kinds of riddles shown.

Among those highlighted was a scenario reading: “Adults are holding children, waiting their turn. The children are handed (one at a time) to a man, who holds them while a woman shoots them. If the child is crying, the man tries to stop the crying before the child is shot.”

The answer appears to be “Pictures with Santa” – and while it is innocuous in itself, one customer who played the game with her six-year-old god-children told The Independent she was horrified to hear her read out the card.

“I was just really shocked to hear those words come out of a six-year-old’s mouth,” she said.

“I know it's meant to be lateral thinking but I wasn't expecting that.”

The customer, who wished to remain anonymous, called on Sainsbury’s to take the game off the shelves and said she expected “better quality checking” from the major retailer.

Another card, which even defenders of the game described as deploying “dubious” wording, read: “A black man dressed all in black, wearing a black mask, stands at a crossroads in a totally black-painted town. All of the streetlights in town are broken. There is no moon.

“A black-painted car without headlights drives straight towards him, but turns in time and doesn’t hit him. Why?” The answer, again innocent enough, is that it was daytime.

Other cards featured a child whose “dearest loved ones bind him to a chair, but he doesn’t mind” – referring to having a seatbelt put on in a car. And yet another read: “A man marries 20 women in his village but isn’t charged with polygamy. Why not?” It’s because he is the priest.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury's said: "We haven’t sold this item for some time and we are as disappointed as the customer.

"We always aim to get it right but the questions are clearly unsuitable. We can reassure customers that we now have further checks in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again."


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