Electric Bath Duckie


I’m not really sure what it means that the two people I showed this Electric Bath Duckie to both said it was a good gift idea, but I really like that on the back of the package it suggests: "Please make sure you have made the right decision."

--Shawn (via Book of Joe)

Electric Bath Duck – 'One use only'

(Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart are guest bloggers)


  1. I wonder how they can legally sell this. I’m guessing that the cable doesn’t actually contain any conductive wire.

  2. does anyone know the context of this thing…? I’m sincerely hoping that it’s part of an art show or some kind of social commentary. Is it supposed to be funny? I like guilt humor as much as anyone, but I feel kind of dirty after looking at this. I think we need some unicorns now.

  3. say, i wonder, what if some idiot DOES use it… and their family decides to sue the manufacturers?

    Aah, god bless america

  4. On the site this image came from, the front of the packages says “Suicidal tendency” and “one use only.”

  5. I think it’s a bad sign for my future life expectancy that I want this.

    Also, @5: the markings on the label (and, i dunno, the plug itself?) clearly indicate it’s British.

  6. ‘On the site this image came from, the front of the packages says “Suicidal tendency” and “one use only.”‘

    it should, however, say “One use per customer only”

  7. This just so reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live skits with the toy company CEO and his products, the “Bag ‘O Glass” and “Johnny Human Torch”…

  8. Ahhh…It wouldn’t work! Most modern bathrooms have Ground Fault Interrupter outlets to prevent this very thing. (kicks dust in aww shucks fashion)

  9. #15….That was Johnny switch blade (made from a Fonzie action figure) Ayyyyy! Oops, I accidentally knifed Barbie!

  10. @Guy Gin
    “@12: the first use might damage it, making subsequent uses more likely to fail.”

    Or potentially dangerous!

  11. Reminds me of those Attempted Suicide Pills they sell at novelty shops. You know, for when all you really want is attention.

  12. And the British building code bans power sockets from bathrooms altogether, except for low-amperage ones suitable for shavers only. (Which is rather frustrating for when you want to dry your hair or what have you; AFAIK, only Britain has this regulation.) This duck is fitted with a standard British mains plug, making it useless in any legally wired British bathroom without an extension cord.

  13. @2: There has to be a ground pin in order to get the plug into the socket. It doesn’t have to be connected inside the plug.

  14. Wow. The comment thread here is waaay mellower than the one on Book of Joe.

    There’s a whole “suicide isn’t funny”/”But the ducky is funny” argument over there.

    Much nicer here.

    And I’m bummed I didn’t think of it.

  15. fuck..
    yet another merchandising opportunity that i already invented 20 years ago and failed to cash in on.

  16. I hope it has passed all required safety tests. The sharp edges on the card can give one a really nasty nick.

  17. ACB @ 15:
    I haven’t been in the (“IT’S NOT”) United Kingdom in a while, but:

    1a) The plug is fused. No/low risk of death from electrocution – you could, however, pass out, and hit your head, causing ‘dire consequences, such as killing yourself’.

    1b) As was pointed out, you can’t insert the plug into the wall jack without a ground pin. Not that it needs to be wired. (Unless British wall plug technology detects proper grounding of the appliance plugged into it.)

    2) In most/many jurisdictions, the restriction is on being able to reach electrical outlets and light switches (they’re dangerous to dripping-wet hands) while in the bath or shower. Here in New Brunswick, that USED to mean that a bathroom’s light switch had to be placed outside of the bathroom. But now, I believe the rule is that they have to be 1 meter from the bathtub/shower.

    3) The low-amperage shaver outlets use a 1:1 transformer which chokes the maximum current to a few amps. Mind you, if you dead-short them long enough, you might cause one to catch fire. Which is why..

    4) GFP switches (as long as they’re working properly) pretty much eliminate the risk. Though you might still bang your head. And die.

    5) Isn’t it nice of ’em to let you know that it’s made of PET, so your buddies can recycle it when you’re, erm, done with it?

    6) My Welsh friend used to always say “It’s NOT United” whenever I said “United Kingdom”.

  18. random: this reminds me of the Looney Tunes(Merrie Melodies?) when Daffy wants desperately to get a stage act, and so he blows himself up, to raucous applause. When hired, his ghost replies,” I can only do it once..” before he floats off. I miss those guys on Saturday mornings.

  19. If the goal of art is to get a reaction, this is some of the best art I’ve ever seen. I literally sprayed a mouth of a nice IPA all over my monitor (and keyboard, and shirt, and desk, and the P7M8 on it…)

  20. Paul R @ 30 – 1b – no, British wall plug technology does not detect proper grounding of the appliance plugged into it

  21. Paul R @ 30 – why would you listen to the (clearly racist) Welsh ?? do remember that the Tudors (Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, Elizabeth I) were Welsh; and when those fertility-compromised Welsh bastards finally gave up the ghost, it was the Scottish Stuarts who took over…

  22. Hey, Henry VII had seven legitimate children and Henry VIII had four. Not a match for Edward III’s twelve, but respectable.

  23. #23: ACB: South Africa was similar. No electrical outlets or switches inside a bathroom. (I’m not even sure we had shaver outlets, though I did see those inside bathrooms in the UK.)

    In Brazil, on the other hand, they had in-line electrical showers, plugged into a socket 20-30cm above the shower head, inside the shower cubicle. That was fun.

    #30: PaulR: My Northern Irish friend used to say “It’s not Britain, it’s the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)”.

    My passport concurs, although under “nationality” it does have “British Citizen”. I’ve never asked a Northern Irishman/woman whether it says “Northern Irish Citizen” for them.

  24. Good grief do that many people die each year from turning on the light in the bathroom?

    Next thing you know I’ll be taking a shat in the dark… wouldn’t want that methane igniting from the heat of the light source…

    Much like now in the US all new houses have to have fluorescent lights in closets. Cause incandescent gives off to much heat and can start a fire…

    Really people?… cause I’ve seen more house fires from people being stupid than a light that was left on.

    And just for background I live in a 100 year old house that still has knob and tube wiring (but does have a 200 amp circuit break main panel…)

  25. @30

    1a) The plug is fused. No/low risk of death from electrocution – you could, however, pass out, and hit your head, causing ‘dire consequences, such as killing yourself’.

    The normal fuse rating for that type of plug in the UK is 13A, enough to kill I would have thought?

  26. @42 C’mon. Standard fuse for suicide duckies is 3 amps. Still plenty enough to kill you, though. You can tell by the thickness of the cable (which is only 2 core – so no room for an earth wire).

    UK electrical installations have been required for some time to have 30mA trips on the main supply (earth leakage circuit breakers/ground fault interruptors), so this would only work in an oldish or non-compliant house.

    UK Shaver sockets contain an isolating transformer, so you can (in theory) touch either pole of the socket without getting a shock. However, if you touch both (especially if you use both hands) then you can easily get a few amps at 230v flowing through your heart (depending on your own personal resistance, natch), which I wouldn’t recommend.

    As a reckless youth I did once demonstrate my invulnerability to electicity to my friends at school by holding a metal coathanger and sticking one end of it in one hole of a shaver socket, and then taking it out and sticking it in the other one. I didn’t even feel a tingle. As a father, I am not insufficiently reckless to do that any more.

    The irony of the new regs is that if you really want to electrocute yourself in the UK, in a house compliant with the wiring regs, you’re best off using the “safer” shaver socket, as the isolating transformer effectively isolates that supply from the earth leakage circuit breaker. If you want to use a normal socket, you’d have to isolate yourself from earth (no touching anything, and wearing insulating shoes or standing on an insulator – I suspect rubber soles are probably insufficient, as they are probably loaded with a conductor like graphite to reduce staic shock – like car tyres are).

  27. And while I’m on a rant…

    British 13 amp plugs are a genius design (although hideously overengineered and too big – they could probably handle 100A without too much hassle) – owing to the way the live and neutral holes in the socket are protected by a shutter to prevent people from sticking things into them. The earth pin (in most socket designs) is what moves the shutter out of the way to allow the live and neutral pins through. Incidentally, I have never seen this mechanism fail.

    It strikes me as a badge of moronity and an insult to whatever brown-coated boffin came up with this design (which became widespread in the 1960s)is when parents of young children plug plastic shields into the holes in an effort to render the sockets safer, when in reality, they are making them more dangerous by providing an opportunity for the plastic earth pin to break off on removal of the shield, leaving the holes wide open for an enquiring child to poke something conductive into, although to be honest I suspect that the chances of this happening are pretty small.

  28. On the subject of safety, British bathrooms don’t even have normal light switches, they have pull-cord switches (i.e. the switch is on the ceiling, and is operated by pulling a cord which is dangling down to arm level).

  29. pediddle, @46:

    “How about making sure the photos aren’t severely underexposed?”

    Um, they’re on the ‘Net now. They’re definitely overexposed.

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