open letter to mattel

dear mattel,

i’m sure you aren’t having a great week, what with recalls all over the place and the possibility of a really terrible financial downturn looming for you, other toy companies, toy stores, and the like. no one likes to see major companies flipping about like fish gasping for air. and right now, it’s really easy to point the finger and say BAD CHINA! there’s poison in our pet foods, poison in our people food, medicine and toothpaste, my gosh, plenty of tires are faulty, lead in baby bibs, and now this toy thing. just makes you wonder who, if any, of the residents are running the proverbial asylum, huh.

but i have to wonder how much of this you brought on yourself?

i know, i know. you did it because there was demand for it. american consumers clamor for cheap. they clamor for cool. they clamor for things, and you only want to deliver. it’s as american as ronald reagan, a guy i sometimes want to blame for these sorts of things. what does the gipper have to do with any of this, you wonder? the dude’s long been dead.

but you see, he isn’t. not really. somewhere in our history, he kicked tom joad the hell out of our collective consciousness and took up residence. see, he’s now the one who lives in every american who feels entitled to a certain lifestyle that is wildly beyond his or her means. he lives in every citizen who feels like they ought to have everything — now — and for the cheapest price possible. he lives in every person in this nation — maybe this world — who ignores the real costs of good and services in their daily lives. so what if some eight year old is working in a factory? so what if they’re putting diethylene glycol into cough medicine? if i can get lots of bling-bling at walmart for 50% less than i can at joe’s mom and pop store, man, i’m there.

so, following this ethos, you did what every american company tries to do — make a profit. nothing wrong with that, right? but who knew making a profit could get so complicated? doing business overseas — well, nothing wrong with that i suppose. cut costs because you don’t have to pay people a decent wage. [check.] then that company probably has to put the squeeze on their workers to make a profit. maybe put the squeeze on the product quality. maybe do some subcontracts with others who do things very cheaply. lead paint? no problem! [check.]

and of course, all with your consumer in mind. who are, in your case, children. often young children who are known to put things in their mouths, or ears, or up the dog’s ass, for christsake. that’s what kids do. even the most supervised child in the world will manage to do something completely insane with a toy in that one second you close your eyes to sneeze or blink. so how could you allow your designers to make toys using rare-earth magnets? these puppies, smaller and more powerful, can kill a child if s/he swallows it. period. i’m stunned.

and now, the biggie. see, you don’t have to live with my kids. but i do. and right now, between thomas the tank engine trains that were recalled, polly pockets that have just been called home, and even a barbie that my daughter has being sent away, my house is not the happiest place on earth. i just spent 2 hours with my eight year old howling. her favorite polly pocket toy has to go away. well, actually, three of them plus a barbie. but this is her absolute favorite.

and we parents, sometimes, we take toys away from our kids in an effort to teach them to behave. it’s a discipline thing, and we sometimes are in the difficult position of punishing/ teaching, our kids a lesson. only sadly, the kids are now being punished because american corporations couldn’t learn a thing or two about international commerce. i wish i could stick each and every one of you in a room right now with my screaming daughter. no food; no toilet; no way out; and one very pissed-off little girl.

it might be a lesson you’d not soon forget.

yours truly,

wreke

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2 Responses to “open letter to mattel”

  1. You can’t see it right now, but I’m standing and applauding.

  2. HUZZAH!

    Sorry about poor BC and her departed friends. I hope she finds new, lead-free pals to hang out with.

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