This summer, hundreds of thousands of innocent children, many not even old enough to say ‘No’, woke up in the morning and were thrust into a state of confusion and despair when their favorite toys were no where to be found. Toys that they had taken to bed with, toys that they proudly took to play groups, toys that share their secrets were all gone. Their prized lunch boxes were gone, replaced with brown paper bags. Their parents tried to explain to them that these companions had been “recalled”, that the people in China have not been careful, and if they continue to play with them, they can get very sick. Ridden with guilt, many parents and grandparents had replaced these toys with others, but in the back of their minds, they are plagued with serious doubt about the safety.
Consumers are outraged. How could this happen? What happened to good old-fashion American quality control? What is the long term damage these recalled toys have on the future leaders of the most powerful nation? But one question lingered, but few have asked, “What happened to these millions of recalled toys and products? Did they end up in some land fill? Or sold to third world countries?
Mattel mentioned back in August that it planned to recycle as many components of its returned toys as possible, including selling or reusing zinc and some of the resins used to make the toys. Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, Mattel's vice president for corporate communications said in a discreet statement, “We quarantine them, we do not release them, we do not export them, we do not ship them out of the country.” So, Ms. Lisa Marie, stop beating around the bush, inquiring minds want to know, just exactly where are these contaminated products? Since you do not export them, they must be still somewhere here in the U.S?
Bah Humbug: Where Are The Toys?
Then Ms. Lisa Marie added, “It depends on why the toy was recalled. Sometimes, we destroy the toy completely. Other times, we are able to recycle certain parts, and other times there is a 'fix' to the toy, the same fix that we would send to consumers." Recycle?
Did she really say ‘Recycle’??? How do you recycle contaminated products? Visions of some poor Chinese children in factories scraping off lead paint come into mind. As if one foot in the mouth is not enough, Mattel put another foot in, “The recalled toys will be disposed of in a responsible manner.”
Don’t insult our intelligence. It is corporate America’s gross irresponsibility that started this monumental problem, putting children around the world in grave endangerment.
We all know that there is really very little we can do at this point. According to Mattel and other toy companies such as RC2 Corp and Oriental Trading Company not all the recalled toys were returned. But we do want accountability. It is not enough to put all the blame onto China, which is the largest toy manufacturer. American Companies that import these toys must bear just as great a responsibility in making sure that these toys are safe. When there is a problem, own it. Don’t just sweep it under the rug.
Rumors are circulating that the recalled toys are heading to third world countries, Africa, India and perhaps even to Iraq…here’s the weapon of mass destruction! But nobody has come forth to confirm or deny the whereabouts of these toys. One day it would be as big a mystery as what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.
One word of caution to these toy companies who think in time all these would be forgotten, remember the children who had these toys ripped out of their arms will one day have children of their own, and they will boycott your products.
So, get your five year old an IPod, after your have checked that every single part is made in the U.S.
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