Monday, September 24, 2007

Memo To Mattel: Go Play With Yourself

It seems this past summer that you couldn't open up a newspaper, turn on the TV, or visit an on-line news site without finding a story about the recall of some product made in the "Peoples" Republic of China. So significant is the problem that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, put this notice on their website:

"The increasing number of voluntary recalls of imported consumer products manufactured in China is of serious concern to the Commission. It is essential to the Commission’s success in reducing the risk of injury and death to American consumers that the Chinese government learn the identity of a manufacturer whose product presents a significant risk of injury associated with such product."

A search of the CPSC website reveals that of the 60 products recalled since August 1, a whopping 63% (39) were manufactured in China.

Of these, over 60% are products made for children!

They include:

  • Simplicity Cribs
  • Novara Afterburner Trailer Bicycles
  • IT400 Iced Tea Makers
  • Cook’s Essentials Convection Ovens with Pull-Out Rotisserie and Deni Convection Ovens with Rotisserie
  • "Avant Yarde" Decorative Glaze Outdoor Candles
  • Ohalee FA-A70 Youth ATVs
  • Big Big World 6-in-1 Bongo Band toys
  • Geo Trax Locomotive Toys
  • Barbie Accessory Toys
  • Imaginarium Wooden Coloring Cases
  • B&F System Emergency Tool Kits
  • “Aloha Breeze” Portable Electric Heaters
  • Zippity Hoodie and Sherpa Full Zip Children’s Hooded Sweatshirts with Drawstrings
  • Gerber EAB (Exchange-A-Blade) Pocket Knives
  • Paramount Apparel Toddler and Youth Nylon Bucket Hats
  • Oregon Scientific Weather Radios
  • Wal-Mart Ceramic Oil Torch Lamps
  • Wolverine Logger Boots
  • Robbie Ducky™ Kids Watering Cans
  • Priddy "Trucks" Shaker Teether Books
  • SpongeBob SquarePants™ Address Books and Journals
  • Thomas and Friends, Curious George and Other Spinning Tops and Tin Pails
  • Children’s Divine Inspiration Charm Bracelets
  • TOBY & ME Jewelry Sets
  • Hampton Direct Magnetic Toy Train Sets
  • Classic Beauty Rest Electric Warming Throws
  • Mattel Polly Pocket dolls
  • Doggie Day Care™ play sets
  • Barbie and Tanner™ play sets
  • “Sarge” die cast toy cars
  • Batman™ and One Piece™ magnetic action figure sets
  • Formation Inc. Coca-Cola® Themed Drinking Glasses
  • Toshiba Notebook Computer Batteries
  • Garden Treasures Cloud 9 Beyond Chairs
  • Basic Blindz® Window Blinds
  • Stuffed Plush Horse/Pillows and Fairy Dolls
  • 2007 Raleigh Cadent Bicycles with Carbonage Carbon Forks
  • Fisher-Price Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and other children's toys

    The number of poorly made products from China seems to be exploding, which brings me to the point of this particular post:

    What in the hell was Thomas A. Debrowski of Mattel thinking when he apologized to Chinese product safety chief Li Changjiang?

    Said the Mattel VP: "Our reputation has been damaged lately by these recalls and Mattel takes full responsibility for these recalls and apologizes personally to you, the Chinese people, and all of our customers who received the toys."

    Don't get me wrong, an apology on the part of Mattel is certainly appropriate. But not to the Chinese government!

    China's inconsistent regulations, poor safety standards and questionable business practises have led to these problems and they bear a large share of the responsibility for fixing them. Apologising to them is a bit like a robbery victim apologising to his mugger. "Oops, sorry that all I had was a pocket full of loose change when you got me. Hope this didn't damage your standing in the robber community."

    It's a ridiculous and shameless attempt by Mattel to curry good will from the Chinese government so that they can continue to expolit the CHEAP labour force.

    To make it right, Mattel should issue the following statement:

    "To the Chinese people, we apologise for infusing capital into a governmental system that denies you the basic liberties that we ourselves enjoy. To the American people we apologize to you for valuing profit more than quality which led us to export many jobs overseas and do business with shoddy manufacturers."

    If you agree, take an action and let them know. E-mail Mattel.
    If you want to go even further, stop buying products made in China.

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