The lead paint problem is your fault (and mine too)

by beagooddad on December 14, 2007

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Lead is in all toys. That seems to be the basic warning for this holiday season. Stock up on books and clothes…at least until they start testing the lead content in those, too. The most recent recall I heard about was for a Fisher-Price toy that for some reason was only recalled in Illinois.

How did this lead issue get to be such a problem?

Bad politicians, evil corporations, greedy stock owners. Right? The bastards in their fancy suits and gas guzzling SUVs.

Or is it our fault. Us middle class parents just trying to get through life as well as possible hoping that one day our lottery ticket will push us into the greedy stock owner status of month long vacations to Europe. Could it possibly be our faults?

  • What if instead of buying forty $9.99 toys from Wal-Mart for Christmas, we bought ten $40 toys from a specialty toy maker like Melissa & Doug
  • What if instead of buying happy meals everytime we went to McDonalds, we just bought the chicken nuggets, fries and milk?
  • What if instead of buying new toys and getting rid of the old, every couple weeks we swapped 10 toys with another family in the neighborhood so that each kid gets a new set of toys without anybody buying anything new?
  • What if we more frequently told our kids that they didn’t need the new toy that they saw during their cartoon marathon on Saturday morning?
  • What if instead of buying them a few new Transformer action figures, we took our kids to the zoo?

Sometimes it seems like everywhere we go we are presented with the expectation that we are supposed to buy toys for our kids.  The marketers must be doing their job.

The problem with the constant purchasing is that we are forced to look for cheaper and cheaper toys to cover the costs and knowledge that most of the toys will be forgotten with the next purchase.  When us consumers demand lower and lower prices, the producers have to find ways to lower production costs.  The easiest way to do that is to outsource to countries where the workforce is not adult and not unionized and not paid more than a few dollars a day.  And what do you think the quality control is like in those kinds of work environments?

I’m sure the bad politicians, evil corporations and greedy stock owners have played their own parts in the lead problem, but I think that we have to look at our own purchasing patterns to understand the whole picture.

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