Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

recall fallout

Cheung Shu-hung, co-owner of the Chinese manufacturer that produced the Sesame Street toys that were recalled recently, has committed suicide. Mattel CEO Bob Eckert should do the U.S. equivalent: resign. In the past two weeks, Mattel has recalled more than 10 million toys that pose hazards to children.

Eckert does not plan to resign, however. In fact, he is defending his company's Chinese operations and calling the company's testing standards "rigorous." Who does he think he is kidding? When you've been caught putting poisonous objects into the hands of children -- TEN MILLION children -- there is no legitimate defense.

If Bob Eckert were an honest man, he would admit his company has made a terrible mistake, and then offer to do something in compensation -- like maybe pay for lead testing for all children in the United States. On the other hand, if he's just a soulless money-grubber who doesn't see anything wrong with poisoning kids for profit, he'll continue to defend Mattel's policies and standards.

After the recall of Thomas the Tank Engine products earlier this summer, RC2 CEO Curt Stoelting announced that his company would implement tougher standards and increase the frequency of testing. That's not a completely satisfying answer, in my opinion, but it's a lot better than Eckert's myopic defense of the status quo.

So here I am at 2:00 in the morning, trying to see if any of my four-year-old's toys are poisonous. I hope Mattel executives are losing sleep over this, too.



At 8/16/2007 11:46 PM, Blogger Art said...

When I first heard of this, I thought to myself that Mattel executives must have known more than they are letting on.

Ah yes, plausible deniability is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

At 8/17/2007 11:31 AM, Blogger truevyne said...

Golly, Bruce. I never thought of it this way. I don't have toddlers anymore, but I suppose figuring out toys which are poisonous could be quite a chore and downright scary!

Wouldn't it be nice for an exec to actually take responsibility for a horrible mistake for once?


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