Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Twirling Elmo of Death
Yes, we are one of the millions of families who have obtained lead-contaminated Fisher-Price toys, in this case, an Elmo lawn sprinkler. (Whomever gave us this, you're a good person and it's not your fault!)
Ann followed up on the recall instructions - there is a multi-page form we need to fill out, then we need to box up Elmo and mail him back to Mattel. At least they are picking up the cost of the postage.
We haven't even had a chance to use him yet ... watering restrictions due to the drought here in Minnesota, you know. We're only permitted to water on even-numbered days, between 6-10 am and 6-10 pm. However, we can fill the kiddie pool any time we like -- that's a permitted use.
Saw a piece on TV tonight where an activist said, "well of course it's from China" with the implication that everything from there is suspect and anyone dealing with the Chinese is likewise guilty of poisoning our children, pets, and air. Folks, it's not as simple as that.
We don't have to look very far to see where decisions to cut corners, scale back inspections, manage to ever-tighter budgets and letting things slide can lead to. I've eaten lunch several times in the past week at a park which overlooks downtown Minneapolis and watched the helicopters circle the 35W bridge collapse. There weren't evil people plotting for this to happen, there weren't evil people at Mattel, and there weren't evil people at the manufacturing facility in Guangdong. Just folks trying to get a job done with what the resources and time they had; a series of tradeoff decisions innocent enough in isolation, but in combination deadly. People must take responsibility to be sure, but I can't imagine our governor or a purchasing manager intending through their actions for anyone to get hurt.
We saw and met all sorts of people in China working their tails off and doing their best to do a good job as they understood it and were trained to do. Reminded us of a place called America. The smog in Beijing was really bad, and it leaks over the Pacific every now and then. But we put those factories there, by our choices of where we shop, what brands to buy, and at what price points.
And I happen to know we have a little Chinese import sleeping in her bed right now who is as pure, and good, and wholesome as any child from any place could be.