Black Friday find explodes in man’s face

SHAWNEE, Okla. – A Shawnee woman is warning shoppers to beware of a gift that could literally explode in your face.

Donna Alexander said her son was fortunate a small speaker they said was a ticking time bomb exploded on his desk. 

“My son was sitting here and he had his little amplifier was sitting here,” she said. 

Her son purchased that tiny speaker, which can be connected to an MP3 player, last week.

He was charging it on his desk Friday night when she heard a loud boom.

“I thought it was a .22 (caliber gun),” Alexander said. “I thought he shot a gun and it scared me.”

When she ran into his room, she found him shaking.

“I said, ‘Well, what happened?’ And he said, ‘Mom, it blew up,’” she said. “We went around and we started picking up the pieces and they were everywhere, all over the whole bedroom. It was like a small grenade had went off.”

Luckily, none of the pieces injured her son.

Alexander said he bought it last week at a Big Lots store in Shawnee for less than $10.

When she took the pieces back to the store, management told her they couldn’t identify the brand because they didn’t have any more of those speakers in stock.

Michael Meade, with CDR Electronics, agreed with Alexander that it was most likely the speaker’s battery that blew up while charging.

“The batteries generally cause a lot of the problems in those because it’s the only device that’s actually contracting and expanding,” he said.

Meade said cheaper knock-off electronics have batteries that may deteriorate faster than those in name brand products.

He recommends researching any electronic device before a purchase, or simply buy a used brand name product for its reliability.

“The products just have faces, they don’t have names anymore,” Meade said. “So it just looks like an iPad, so they assume it’s an iPad and so forth and so on, but people are just trying to make money out there.”

“If the parents have bought these, they need to check them,” Alexander said. “If they come from Big Lots and they’re this brand or this type, they need to take them back because they’re not safe.”

The Shawnee Big Lots staff told us some products, like those speakers, are not restocked and they would need a receipt to identify the brand, which Alexander didn’t have.

Big Lots corporate office did not return our calls Monday afternoon.