ThinkGeek is now joking that its Samurai Sword Handle Umbrella should come with a warning label: "May incite SWAT teams." The reason? Panic on a Georgia university campus.
According to a ThinkGeek shopper who purchased one of these umbrellas for her boyfriend, this is what happened:
My boyfriend wore the umbrella on his back when he came to my dorm room. As we were cleaning my room, we noticed some cop cars outside of the building, but since it was Atlanta, I didn't think too much of it.
About an hour later, my boyfriend received a call from one of his friends and he left my dorm without the umbrella. Five minutes later, he called and said the police told him that they were evacuating the building. He suggested to me that it might be advisable to leave, too, so I left my room and I saw at least three police officers as I passed through the lobby.
Outside of the building I saw about two dozen people near the entrance, and I was about to ask about the situation when I was waved inside by one of the police officers.
The police officer asked, "Did you escort anyone into the building?" As some of these officers had military issued riffles, I was pretty nervous. I replied, "Yes, one person. My boyfriend." The officer asked me if he left the building, to which I replied he did. The officers didn't believe me, and the one officer that I was talking to stated, "We have officers covering all of the entrances, exits, and staircases, and no one has left the building." Nevertheless, having seen him go down a staircase, I maintained my position that he did leave the building.
The officer then asked me to describe him, so I proceeded to describe his hair colour, height, eye colour, and build. The officer interrupted, "Did this person have a weapon?" Through my nervousness I perceived what the situation was about.
I replied, "He had an umbrella that looked like a weapon. It looks like a samurai sword."
The officers looked at each other. One of them said, "An umbrella?" to which I replied affirmatively. I then helpfully volunteered, "I can call him to come right back over."
When my boyfriend arrived, the officer questioned him about the umbrella. He was then told to sit in the chair across from me, and another officer with a big gun was told to stand over my boyfriend.
Two police officers escorted my hall director up the stairs to retrieve the "artifact in question."
After a couple more minutes they came back down. The officer was carrying the umbrella. He then unsheathed the "artifact in question" and popped it open. Another officer said, "We're done here." All of the officers then streamed out of the building. In all, there were about a dozen officers, and four with rifles.
The umbrella has been forbidden on campus after this incident. [ThinkGeek]