“I had never heard this before, but someone I know was purchasing a fish at Wal-Mart and the cashier told her that the security gates would cause the fish to die. It was suggested that she lift it over her head while walking through.” While the fish in the patron’s story survived she and the Newton Falls Public Library wondered if it has that ever happened.
The HeraldTimesOnline Bloomington, Indiana [www.heraldtimesonline.com/stories/2010/05/31/digitalcity.058553.sto] addressed this very question in Rebecca M.Troyer’s article, Hotline favorites: Can I eat my Crocs? Exploding fish at Wal-Mart? “Lift up your fish through ye mighty gates” (March 25, 2009). The Hotline investigated by contacting Wal-Mart and the scanner manufacturer. Both corporations reported that there had been no “documented instances” or reported problems in relationship to the health and well being of fish. We informed our patron that this seemed to be well researched and it appeared to be safe to carry a fish through security and out of the store.
Urban legends such as these are good for storytelling. As our patron enjoyed this tale, we directed them to library materials with additional amazing stories, such as Alligators in the Sewer: and 222 other urban legends by Thomas J. Craughwell, Spiders in the Hairdo: modern urban legends collected and retold by David Holt & Bill Mooney, Too Good to be True: the colossal book of urban legends by Jan Harold Brunvand, Urban Legends: the as-complete-as-one-could-be guide to modern myths by N.E. Genge and the DVD MythBusters. Mega movie myths.