Lighters that look like toys and contact lenses that make the wearer look like a monster can’t be sold legally, Boardwalk storeowners were told Thursday, as the Division of Consumer Affairs brought its Safe Summer 2012 to Atlantic City.
“We’re insuring you you will not get burned this summer,” said Eric T. Kanefsky, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, before investigators spread out to check out merchandise and games of chance.
About 450 novelty lighters were confiscated from 10 stores as part of the sweep, because the shapes — which included motorcycles, ladybugs and a tiger — are inviting to children, making it illegal under state law.
One store had about 20 pairs of novelty contact lenses deemed illegal because contacts cannot be sold without a prescription due to the risk of injury and infection.
Because the shopkeeper voluntarily turned them over, the DCA’s policy is to not publicize their name.
Central Pier easily passed its tests with the Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission.
A large level and an pressure gauge made sure that the basketball nets were not tilted against players and that the balls were not over-inflated.
No more than six pounds of pressure are allowed. An overinflated ball is more likely to bounce, less likely to make it in. Investigator Joseph Chessere has found ones with 30 pounds, he said. But here, the ball was a little under, making it legal.
The tub game also met standards, which gave CRDA Director John Palmieri the clearance to try his hand. He was able to get a ball in the tub — but just did it for fun, not paying or taking a prize.
One of the many claw games also was checked, with general manager Ricardo Coreas unlocking both the mechanism under the joystick that controls the claw and the glass where the prizes are encased.
Chessere then took the claw and put a stuffed animal holding a prize in the claw’s grasp. It dropped when the claw lifted up. Twice more with the same results. On the fourth try, it picked up the prize and moved it a short distance before dropping it. That was enough to show the game could be won.
But on the other end of the pier, Doris Whitaker and her granddaughters weren’t so sure. The group spent about $15 trying to pull up a prize.
“It was there!” Faith McCullough, 7, yelled as she watched a stuffed puppy fall from the claw’s grasp.
The Baltimore family looked skeptical when told the games had passed the test.
“I tried this one twice,” said Christien Wright, 14. “I keep picking him up.”
“But he drops,” Whitaker said.
The skepticism wasn’t unexpected. Coreas said that’s why the pier had a monitor installed about a month ago that shows winners with their prizes. They also post the pictures on their Facebook page.
In addition, as part of the rules, they have a list of the names and addresses of those who have won.
While Thursday kicked off the start of the Safe Summer season, it’s not the only time investigators will be in Atlantic City.
“We’re on the Boardwalk all summer long,” Chessere said. “Morning, noon and night. We work holidays and weekends, too.”
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