By Julia Nowicki
After more than five months of mysterious shipments to student unions across Canada, the RCMP has confirmed that the Amazon dildos were nothing more than a tactic to boost shipment numbers online.
The Eyeopener first broke the now international news story back in January, when the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) confirmed it had been receiving anonymous packages since the beginning of the fall semester. It was then uncovered that over 10 student unions across the country were receiving unmarked packages that contained various miscellaneous items, including phone chargers, light bulbs and, yes, dildos.
Lakehead University Student Union reported the mysterious packages to the RCMP Thunder Bay, Ont. division. Const. Darryl Waruk and an internal investigation unit at Amazon, found the packages were shipped by a distributor in China and purchased with several prepaid cards.
They alleged the distributor shipped the packages without a return address as a way to boost shipment numbers online and create an appearance of popularity in their products.
“It’s not illegal from what [Amazon] can determine, but it is a practice that they don’t like their customers to know about,” Waruk told The Eye.
The RSU had received approximately 25 packages by January, some of which contained dildos. The items originally raised concerns that the union’s identity had been stolen or the packages were arriving to the wrong address.
“Right now, I’m happy knowing that this isn’t jeopardizing the RSU, this isn’t jeopardizing the resources, and this isn’t harming anybody,” said RSU president Susanne Nyaga. “Now it’s just ensuring that these boxes aren’t taking up too much storage space, and finding a way to get rid of the contents.”
Some student unions across Canada have been putting the items to good use by auctioning them off, giving them out as prizes to students or donating products to charity.
University of Regina Students’ Union (URSU) received more than 40 items in total over the course of the school year, with the final one arriving in early February.
“We actually were able to give some of the items away at our staff party,” URSU vice-president student affairs Shawn Wiskar said. “For some of the larger items like a turntable, we gave them up to students as prize giveaways.”
The RSU had donated several of its products to local charities and other offices on campus, Nyaga said. University of Manitoba Students’ Union auctioned off their one sex toys as a prize in a drag bingo night they run through the Rainbow Pride Mosaic center, vice president external Wilfred Sam-King said.