A ‘Stikeez’ situation

David Priilaid, Hout Bay

Stikeez are small rubber toys given out at Pick n Pay when you spend more than R150.

Our three-year-old Siamese cat was recently hospitalised when she ate one of these toys.

Their fish-like smell is extremely attractive to cats. I don’t wish to dwell too much on the details of her treatment, except to say that it took a stressful week out of our lives and cost me R10 485.85. As proof, I have the Stikeez pellets found in the abdomen of our nearly dead cat.

The senior partner at the Hout Bay Veterinary Hospital said that prior to the introduction of these Stikeez, he had not seen any cases of bowel obstruction, but that subsequently, he’s seen three. This is probably the case in any number of such veterinary hospitals where cats and Stikeez are involved, suggesting that Pick n Pay has created an environmental problem causing animals severe physical distress, if not death, because of their promotional schemes.

Children, especially toddlers, are no doubt equally at risk, though it seems Pick n Pay doesn’t care, despite their green “promises”.

* Pick n Pay responds:

We’re sorry that your reader’s cat has been unwell and we hope she is well on the road to recovery.

Our second Stikeez promotion ran some months ago. Customers were offered Stikeez at the till, but were not obliged to take them, and the packaging was clearly marked that they were not suitable for children under the age of three.

The small characters do not have any scent. In running promotions such as these, we do consider carefully whether the campaign risks genuinely increase the problem of plastic pollution in any meaningful way. Measured in terms of the plastic generated, the Stikeez campaign would have a negligible impact, even if we assumed that people were throwing their Stikeez away instead of keeping them, which they tend to do. We would have to run the campaign non-stop for 150 years – with every customer throwing their Stikeez away – to make up just 1 percent of the plastic currently sent to landfill each year.

Stikeez were a fun collectible that proved popular with our customers.