Reader’s Scoop: Tznius Police Going Overboard

Readers' Scoop LogoHi TLS, I don’t really have time right now to write to a scoop blog, but I feel that this just needs to be said.  I am an employee at a local store. During purim season we get large shipments of small items needed for purim. Very often items arrive with packaging that has an issue, whether a picture of santa clause or some pop stars endorsement. We don’t like it, but if Coca Cola decides to put a new movie on its bottle that is just the way it is. This time an item arrived. It had a photo of a popular teen pop star. My boss felt it was not tznius. We got thousands. We all sat down and started marking the pop stars with markers. It was a packaged item that can be thrown away immediately so we gave it a quick markup and proceeded with business.

One rebbe purchased a bunch for a siyum, and asked if we had a marker to erase the image more. He explained it would not be proper to give to his students with that image not fully erased. We gladly obliged. Other than that small exchange, none of our hundreds of customers complained about the packaging.

A few weeks go by. A woman comes into the store brings up one of those packages and says “how can you sell such a thing in your store?” I told her we tried to erase them all, looks like we missed one, I can erase it for you. She then proceeded to show it to each person in the line and ask them if a frum store should sell this “they have a responsibility to the community”. The other customers either nodded politely or just ignored her. I repeated that they were erased and I will erase that one too. “What if a boy bought this and took it to another level” she screamed. It was getting really uncomfortable. I decided to ignore her at that point.

The next day my boss comes in and goes to check the packages. He says he got a call from a local posek. The posek called and said he should stop selling that item. He respectfully explained the situation. Told the rabbi he will check the rest and make sure that they are well covered. The posek understood and said fine.

There are so many problems. But no. A picture of a teen pop star was more important to wast the posek’s precious time. We have people dealing drugs to our kids, and this woman convinced the posek that our disposable package with a smiling girl will destroy our kids. I work in a store. I hear all. I know what is going on in this town. There are so many crazy problems. I never once heard someone say their child went off because of a fruit snacks package with a cd offer from M.C. It is so crazy already I bet this site will not even want to print the singer’s name.

It is time to take a deep breath and realize when to just keep quiet. If this woman really cared she could have offered to mark the unmarked ones for us. We would have been thrilled to let her. And she could have been mekayim a mitzva of chessed instead of just plain loshon hora.


A tired hard worker.


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There are 67 Comments to "Reader’s Scoop: Tznius Police Going Overboard"

  • Mosey says:

    Shmiras einayim, Baby!!

  • use a brit of seichel says:

    nee? vots so terrible mit a shmeichel? but seriously, whats this “another level”? These frumak women are scary. she has “levels” of fardurbinkeit? she should go home and bake. the women as mashgichim is driving boys off the D

  • crazy says:

    You are 100% correct! Kids nowadays are going off the derech because of the sheltering! The more you hide from a kid, the more he is going to want to see what it is! Im not c”v saying we should’nt shelter at all, but there needs to be a line of what and how its done! Obviously, children/teenagers should never be exposed to certain things – and we all do our best in that regard, but with a little seichal!
    This is not only the problem with children, its with adults as well! How many have been nichshal in certain things because they were never allowed to..and now have the opportunity. Marriages are being broken because of the sheltering!
    Nowadays, walking down the street is a problem – should we all wear blindfolds? maybe! but i dont think we are on that level!

  • i have a story says:

    I had a man tell me our store needs to be careeful about the ceral boxes we sell. It was wilma flintstone on the box. My boss made us put a sticker over wilma and betty flintstone. So now it was just fred and barney I asked him what about pebbles. He said she is just a baby. Yabba dabba dooo!

  • Maintaing the kedusha of Klal Yisroel!! says:

    What does one have to do with another. It is ASSUR to look at improper images. Drugs is something else entirely.

    Are you saying that since there are other problems out there, we should just leave all other issues to simmer on the table as well???

    A negative ruchniyus issue is nothing to play around with.

    This woman DOES REALLY CARE!! she cares about the kedusha of klal yisroel.


  • Issur says:

    I’m always curious with all these chumros and taakonos, what happens when that boy walks on the street in the summer and sees an image that’s not tznius? Does he immediately go off the derech? Does he eat trait first or mechalel shabbos first? Maybe do drugs or take a swig of bourbon?
    Point is it’s not about never seeing something inappropiate, it’s about not taking a second look. If we don’t teach that we’re doomed. Kids who are locked in and not exposed to anything will not know how to deal with it when their shackles are removed.

  • hashem should have rachmanus!!! says:

    #2 and #3 you know you are absolutely WRONG. your way of thinking is ‘krum’ . Deep down you kow that you are wrong and she is right.

    Better to be too careful than not carefully enough.

  • hashem should have rachmanus!!! says:

    TLS, you really shouldnt post such comments. you don’t want to be resposible for getting pple to think the wrong way.

  • Anonymous says:

    some people have too much extra time on their hands, simply put.
    i think that’s what makes tls such a success 🙂

  • Maintaining balance says:

    Comment deleted.

  • tick tock says:

    some people have too much extra time on their hands, simply put.
    i think that’s what makes tls such a success 🙂

  • Vlo susipi achrei levavcham vachrei EINICHEM! says:

    Alot of parents don’t shop in the big chain stores even they are alot cheaper than the local store because they want to avoid photos like that! So the local store is obligated not to sell items with its picture not fully erased, in brooklyn they won’t be able to sell even with a pic of jewish women fully dressed!

    The gemura says u are not alot to look even at the “small finger” of a women for enjoyment!

    Don’t forget that u are married and have less nisyones of a child!

  • Vlo susiri achrei levavcham vachrei EINICHEM! says:

    Sorry mistake it should say vlo “susiri”

  • hey #6 says:

    Anyone that thinks like you should not be on the internet. If your parnossah requires it get a new one. The lady sounds like she has serious issues. I have seen these people before. They need help. One should teach their kids what is proper and that we are an am kadosh, but they need to know how to live in this world. There are proper ways to show you are upset about something. Yes her going and asking to cover them herself would have been ok. Making a scene which in and of itself is not tznius is not ok. These hard workers don’t need your crazy chumras to make their lives more difficult. And to those defending her get off your broadband, you hypocrites.

  • Kosher? says:

    If you are so worried you should only be eating the “kosher” brands and you wont have such an issue ever!

  • to #4 and #6 says:

    totally closed minded!wake up its 2010.the more you shelter them and make an issue,the more curious they get.take it from experience:)

  • Issues says:

    If you do have a problem like this women, why is there the need to make a big fuss in front of everyone in the store???
    Do you really think the person working by the register did that? By going in and screaming at him, and embarrassing him in public will cause your kids to go off a lot quicker then a look at this stupid picture!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    i thimk its kdai do shelter and protect our diamonds as much as possible. if you treat ur kids like future gedolim then they will grow up to be gedolim iy”h

  • Vlo susiri achrei levavcham vachrei EINICHEM! says:

    Ei eka darka achrina rusha he! That what the gemura says! U should rather walk behind a lion than behined of a women (even when tzinusedik)

    as for coca cola, alot of people only buy kosher brands because of that

  • ?? says:

    i also agree with the writer…some people in this town are waaay too close minded

  • Born in Lakewoof says:

    To #18
    That is not true, I was brought up in Lakewood with this kind of up bringing, any catalog that had anything that was slightly not “tzneuis” was cut out, never had a non jewish newpaper in the house… etc… and I am not religous. On the other hand I have friends from the town that were brought up with more “relax” frumkeit and are very frum and living the lifstyle my parents had hoped I would


    who ever wrote this artical did a great job, even my boss is reading it, if u would put on such good articals every day i would quit my job!!!

  • lubavitcher says:

    I was in a store. I saw frum looking people buying toy animals that are treif for their children to play with. Treif lions and bears. Stuffed dogs. It was disgusting. A treif animal is the same as seeing not tznius pictures. The Rebbe said one should not expose a child to treif images. And I saw very frum looking people letting their children hug monkeys and elephants. I was shocked. I won’t even walk into a store that has those things with my children. What does the yeshiva posek hold on that problem? I think we should make lakewood aware of this halachah that is sadly overlooked. Treif is treif. There is no such thing as a cute hippo or giraffe.

  • HULLO #4!!!! says:

    dear #4,

    What you stated:
    “Are you saying that since there are other problems out there, we should just leave all other issues to simmer on the table as well???”

    Of course not!! However, did you see the part in the article where the writer wrote that the not tzniusdig pop star was colored up???!

    The store was careful enough not to sell the item without covering it up.

    This lady was ‘oiver’ more than 1 issur. She may care about the kidushah of her children but she should learn how to go about that. She was ‘oiver’ the issur of lashon hara, embarrassing someone in public, and hurting another yid’s feelings (thats besides for making a fool out of herself). So much for her wanting to protect the kidushah here. She pushed the kedushah further away from herself and her children. It is no mitzvah to do 3 aveirahs inorder to protect the kedushah.

    There will always be those people that don’t know certain halachas and will therefore, go to one extreme or another. This is one example.

    All the best,

    A Rock *

  • To # 22 says:

    FYI a Giraffe is a kosher animal

  • to # 23 says:

    Contrary to your belief there are those that hold that a Giraffe is treif . It is a question about their hoofs being split.
    The reason we dont eat it , is not because we dont know where to shecit as it can be done any where on the neck.

  • yogi the bear says:

    #22 this is exactly why i wont buy my children animal crackers. imagine all those treif animals in their stomachs.

  • WolfishMusings says:

    “A treif animal is the same as seeing not tznius pictures.” and “I think we should make lakewood aware of this halachah that is sadly overlooked”

    Dear Lubavitch,

    Please point out where this “halacha” is mentioned. Yes, it is the *custom* within Chabad to avoid the images of non-kosher animals — but perhaps the people you saw were not members of Chabad.

    I’ll make it easy for you — there is no such halacha. If you’re not a member of Chabad (or some other group who has this minhag) then there isn’t a problem.

    The Wolf (yes, I’m well aware of the irony of the name)

  • WolfishMusings says:

    “those that hold that a Giraffe is treif”


    From my understanding, the reason we don’t eat giraffe is the same reason we don’t eat yak — it’s more expensive and trouble than it’s worth.

    The Wolf

  • Mom to My Kids says:

    Lubavitcher–you are not a true Chabadnik.
    If you are trying to make fun of Chabad, give it up. A Lubavitcher would never knock people the way you did in your post. Chabad holds that seeing non-Kosher animals is perfectly okay, so saying you won’t walk into a strore that has non-Kosher animals proves that you are not a true Chabadnik, but a person who is trying to mock Chabad minhagim.

  • WolfishMusings says:

    I find it interesting that the woman who entered the store has problems with her kids seeing a teen pop-star, but has no compunctions about forcing the store clerk to view it in the process of blacking out the image.

    The Wolf

  • Mom to My Kids says:

    Yogi the bear–Are you Kosher yourself?

  • bmg hqs says:


  • My Opinion says:

    I think that those shopping for a family should be mature enough to know that when they come home from shopping anything they feel is inappropiate for their families level of frumkeit… should be repackaged. I myself have plastic cereal containers where I can easily put the cereal contents into if I so wish for whatever reason. In addition to tznius issues todays cereal boxes and other packaging have extremely scary images in some cases that are simply not for sensitive children who have nightmares…
    So I say repackage whatever you feel like… Although you can try and distance yourself from goyishe stores and feel jewish stores should cater to you… unless you have your own store you can never be on the exact same level as the store owner. And believe me if a child of yours is what your afraid of seeing these pictures – there are many ways he can get to the goyishe stores without you… If you want to go to a posek regarding stores that sell inappropiate material – I’d say start with all the clothing stores… But of course in my opinion I say mind your own business – everyone is on his own level… and you just have to know where you stand…

  • ELI MANNING says:

    If this town would spend half the time the spend on Tznais on Bain Odam Lachavro we would not have people like #20 It is sad but I think this fight for Tznais, Tznais, Tznais is to blame for a lot of the problems in town. The more you try to shelter the more they will want to know.

  • Laguna says:

    The the lady shopper in the store

    Again we see this the stupidity of people.
    – Seriously a teenager taking this to the next level-
    Lady I think you took you took craziness to the next level and set a sick example of what a fool would do.
    I seriously doubt your parenting skills
    I implore you to seek professional help

  • LkwdGuy says:

    True story:

    I used to daven at a Friday night minyan that was held in a girls school. One week hanging on the wall was a cutout poster drawing of a little girl sitting and davening. Next to that was another poster cutout of a word bubble showing the words of teffilah that the little cutout girl was singing. Someone (maybe the husband of the woman in this story) walked in for davening and promptly removed the cutout of the little girl. I assumed that he was concerned that this drawing my be b’geder of dvarim hameyviim lday hirhur and as such would be assur to daven there. Attempting to avoid a serious michshol, I approached him and pointed out that although he removed the picture of the girl, he left the kol isha still hanging…..

  • Wow says:

    Glad you told me about this major issue, I think I’m going to go to Shop Rite and buy a coke now!

  • nebech says:

    her point was right, the reaction wrong .

  • kano es kinosii says:

    It would be interesting to find out if all the posts urging everyone to chill out about ‘normal’ exposure of our children,are the same ones who are urging that same attitude on avi solomons post about tapping car bumpers!

  • VoiceofReason says:

    I think that the problem might be just a bit different. Yes, there are people who are sensitive to even the slightest breach in Tznius. More power to them. However, when we make ourselves crazy with things that are relatively trivial, we don’t have the strength to do things about the actual problems. I was recently in a store in Lakewood that I have frequented each Friday for a couple years. New people are running it now. I was shocked at the lack of tznius that the proprietors of the store demonstrated toward customers. I am no fanatic, yet, that really bothered me. Yet, no one will say anything about this because we are busy with soda cans and Wilma Flintstone.

  • CLIFTON AVE says:

    to #8 from # 3 you totaly missed the boat a lady walks into a store has an issue with an item you can go over to the store owner and make your suggestion respectfully and that would be the end of it this lady goes and takes the “TREIF”and feeds it to everybody and then embaresses the worker and owner she has no chailek in olam habah on behalf of religon she acted like an idiot>>>

  • poet says:

    The store should cover it up or not sell it and the lady should not act like a meshugane. This is 2 seperate things. Just because the store sells it doesn’t mean the lady should act that way.BUT just because the lady acted like a lunatic doesn’t mean that there is nothing wrong with selling it not covered properly.

  • Kim says:

    Let’s not take this to the next level please. Let’s not make a big deal out of every יחיד who does something wrong, crazy or taps somones bumper. There are a couple o meshugaim in Lakewood, let’s just move on and not take it to the next level.

  • CLIFTON AVE says:

    #5 VERY FUNNY it reminds me back in the day there was a guy in yeshiva who would cut out from the old tropicana containers had a person in a hula skirt and he would peel the container…but when you grabed the container with your thumb you can punch rite thru it aand the juice would get all over the rosh yeshiva made him stop because he had no proof it was a girl

  • poet says:

    The store should cover it up or not sell it and the lady should not act like a meshugane. This is 2 seperate things. Just because the store sells it doesn’t mean the lady should act that way.BUT just because the lady acted like a lunatic doesn’t mean that there is nothing wrong with selling it not covered properly. The inyan of tznius is on a coke bottle too! Its not closed minded to not sell products with pritzus on it. The people that say that are probably the ones that think covering your hair or knees or elbows properly is waaaay toooo cloooosed miiinded.

  • true yid says:

    Has everyone forgotten that we are living in golus???

    This is not our land and if you want to live so sheltered, go find yourself a nice little island somewhere- I think Haiti is available.

    Or there is always Mea Shearim!

  • frankie says not poshut says:

    One must be very careful when dealing with such a loaded issue. You cannot abuse peoples feelings, or you will hit a raw nerve. Some are very sensitive and will come at the drop of a dime, to the wrong conclusion. Nobody wants to feel themselves, being made fun of. If she felt that this picture is bad for our towns ruchnius she has a right to say so politely. Everyone has their way of doing it. Some come right out, and say it, others are more relaxed and don’t do it until there’s nobody else around. Whatever your style, just know that everyone has the need to make their feelings known, that is why we have the scoop and the internet to help us get it all out of our systems. But one should never just go and shoot their beliefs out in public in everyones face like that.

  • Anonymous says:

    I don’t think the issue was weather this lady has a valid point or not. If you have an issue with a store, bring it up in a nice way, maybe privately, and realize it’s not easy to run a store and they do the best they can.

  • dovy says:

    this guy has time to write to a blog but no time to call a doctor. nebach

  • to Frankie says says:

    you blew the lid right off it, Frankie. you grabbed the issue right by the horns and you laid it bare. Thank goodness we have the TLS to let us get this off and release the tension all this closed-mindedness builds up in us. Hows this for the next level, lady!

  • Chicago says:

    cutting out or covering a picture just makes your child/teenager even more curious as to what was there. just like in high school, how many students have attempted to peel back lables and erase the marker in their reading/math/science book just to discover the picture of a fully dressed person (usually with goggles on) doing an experiment in a lab. Now what is this child supposed to think? he/she is going to be exposed (with out his//her parents covering their eyes) to alot more (seemingly benign) elements just walking home from school. at this point the child is confused as to waht is good or truly bad.
    Fast forward 3-5 years – especially in the “closed communities like KJ and New Square – and a large portion of these children have run away because they dont know what the boundries are since they weren’t taught any tolerance or even any understaniding of the outside world.

    Just my two cents

  • GA says:

    If it is so-o-o-o not tznius why does it need to be shown to everyone on the line?
    BTW please add either a google translate or spell checker widget so that we should be able to understand the comments.

  • to to frankie says:

    i see you understand the problem. everyone just wants to milk this issue to death. we need more people like you that realize there can be a happy ending to such a story. all you gotta do is come together, in your way of thinking. nice to know there are people like you that have a good grip on such inyanim. keep it up

  • whatever says:

    what is going on in this world?

  • Yerachmiel Lopin says:

    According : #22 i wont buy my children animal crackers. imagine all those treif animals in their stomachs

    Even if the species are all kosher we know that kids like eating the crackers in pieces. So they take a leg and then think ever min hachai is OK! I say no more animal crackers period.

    A freylach Purim to everyone.

  • Sam says:

    I can not understand the story. Do men to any shopping in Lakewood?
    I thought only women shop, and that’ will give more time for the husband to learn and of course not to chas vesholom see tumah pictures.

  • got a life says:

    lubovicher ha ur funny giraffes not kosher ? since when if im not mistaken they are we just dont knwo where to shecht them
    next time get ur facts right and hashem put all the animals in the world for our use and enjoyment or for us to learn form them jsut because we cant eat them does not mean we cant learn from them…slandering ppl id say is worse than seeing a non kosher animal…

    and for the rest of u who think this is normal agreed get off ur broadband how can u even be on tls since when is loshon hora more important then tznius i think u have that one backwards as well

  • raz says:

    nebech says:
    February 23, 2010 at 1:53 pm
    her point was right, the reaction wrong .
    her point because tainted with her reaction . this women is internally a faker , otherwise she would not be making a whole spectacle of herself and embaress others along the way

  • raz says:

    her point became tainted with her reaction . this women is internally a faker , otherwise she would not be making a whole spectacle of herself and embaress others along the way

  • yagayaga says:

    I am far from close minded, but there have been times the cereal boxes were inappropriate in my opinion so I threw out the box when I got home and put the cereal in another box.

    also, she is totally entitled to not buy that item!!

  • animal cracker police says:

    i was very disturbed to hear about the animal cracker dillema, so i decided to purchase a box. and B”H after counting all the animals in the box there are so few treif animals that its batul ba al pi halacha, you are permitted to eat it. My onley sheilah is, if all boxes are the same.
    a happy pirim!

  • Linnea says:

    This woman seems to have alot of time on hert hands.

  • aidele maidele says:

    I grew up in Boro Park and went to Bais Yaakov. My father o”h had smicha from Europe. In those days, women’s clothing stores were allowed to have mannequins in the windows. Women’s pictures were printed in Jewish publications and men and women were allowed to walk on the same side of the street. The result? Most of my friends married kollel boys and all are raising their children in good, yiddishe homes. Perhaps we have taken things to a whole new level? If we are worried about these things ad k’dei kach, doesn’t it mean that we have these terrible thoughts on our minds 24/7? Maybe a can of diet coke is just that. Once upon a time you could buy a box of Cocoa Pebbles without covering up Wilma and her friend and we were all frum. How is it that we had women nevios (Devorah, etc.) if women should neither be seen or heard? I fear we are all being oiver a serious transgression of loi toisif. The Torah has 613 mitzvos, which Hashem felt was enough. Let’s not add 613 new ones by pretending to be pious.

  • teenager says:

    hey im a teen off the derech and the reason y i went off is b/c of what ppl like this woman who walked into the store think and the clerk is right tht ppl should be worrying about more important things like where their kids get drugs and not about looking at a pics on soda bottles of 12 year old pop stars not being inappropriate in any way

  • YAK says:

    Who is M.C.?

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