Saturday, September 08, 2007


A do-it-yourself Christmas, because Mattel didn't do it themselves

by Larry Geller

Whatever happened to Mattel's QA department? Didn't they test samples of the toys that they are having others make for them?

The answer is obvious. They failed miserably and endangered their customers.

It doesn't matter whether the factories are located in Kentucky or China, companies are supposed to have their own Quality Assurance testing.

Apparently the US Consumer Product Safety Commission is considering an investigation into whether Mattel notified authorities of the problems as promptly as it should have. But that's all after the fact. Millions of toys should not have made their way onto retail shelves in the first place.

[Keep this in mind the next time you hear that the "free market" is good for us, and that business should be unregulated. Or that corporate greed is somehow supposed to produce the best value for consumers. Nope, this is what you get. Only corporate greed. Even at the expense of vulnerable little children.]

From the Yorkshire Post (the UK is experiencing the same recalls we are here in the USA):

"I really don't have any sympathy for Mattel," says Christopher Devereux, managing director of ChinaSavvy, which helps foreign buyers to source manufacturers in China.

"They have 20,000 direct or indirect staff in that area of China, and yet they appear not to have checked these products thoroughly for lead, something that has been illegal for 30-odd years. And as for the items containing magnets, well that is a design problem as well as a safety one.

"I would say their quality control is extremely bad. The reason I am so angry is that the Chinese are being blamed for all of this, and I think it is Mattel's fault. In China you have to have the buyer or the buyer's representative checking everything.

"The Chinese are really good at manufacturing, but you have to keep an eye on things at every stage.

Since most toys are now manufactured in China, there could be a backlash this Christmas. Expect some toys to be purposely mislabled also, in order to avoid the stigma. Or watch out for toys to be assembled in another country to avoid the "Made in China" label.

What can you do? A quick Google search revealed that there are many opportunities to make your own toys. Here's one article: Safe Toys You Can Make .

Just be careful where your paint is made! (Hint: when I was a kid, my wooden block set was unpainted. I didn't know the difference. Kids don't mind. They don't need to have the latest action figure they see on TV.) (But what do I know about that...)


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