Monday, August 24, 2009

CPSIA - Another One Bites the Dust (Change We Can Believe In?)

The funereal CPSIA has claimed another victim, a Chicago-based business named Woodland Magic Imports. This company is an importer of craft kits aimed at boys. In a letter auspiciously dated August 14, Woodland announced its closure owing to the stress of the CPSIA plus the weak economy. [Where have we heard this before???]

Their words: "The past couple years have been tough for everyone, starting with the toy safety challenges followed by a volatile economy. On the horizon for February are major changes in how products can be imported into the United States. It's enough to make everyone's head spin! We are no exception. Starting a new business during these challenging times has been a rough ride for us. We certainly feel blessed to have learned so much about this amazingly complex industry, but it has taken a toll on our family and, for that reason, we have decided to suspend our operations until further notice." [Emphasis added]

Should we care about little Woodland and its owners, employees and customers, when the mighty CPSIA making us all so safe? Isn't the demise of Woodland a "necessary" cost? You know, wrecking their family lives and depriving them of their aspirations, all to make everyone safer?

Well, I can't answer this question for others, but I can quote a staffer to Illinois' own Senator Dick Durbin:

April 16, 2009:

"I think you are right that the CPSIA imposes costs on businesses, and because of economies of scale it’s the smaller businesses that will feel these costs more acutely. This is part of a larger calculation that it’s worth the costs to shift from the old system of post-market correction (once a dangerous product is out in the market and leads to sick kids, recalls, lawsuits, etc.) to a new system of pre-market testing and certification (instead of just assuming products are safe and paying the price for false assumptions).

. . . I agree with you that the CPSIA means more costs for small business – because it means more costs for all businesses as part of the cost of moving to a pre-market rather than post-market correction system. But I think we will have to agree to disagree on whether the CPSIA gives the CPSC enough authority and flexibility to implement the new requirements in a way that accommodates the disproportionate impact to small businesses." [Emphasis added]

May 14, 2009:

"The House of Representatives has no intention of taking up consumer product safety legislation this year so a legislative fix would be very slow in coming. Senator Durbin is working to make sure that the Senate speedily confirms President Obama’s nominees for the CPSC, Inez Tenenbaum and Robert Adler, so that the CPSC is responsive to the concerns that you and other small business owners have shared."

Straight from the horse's mouth. Can't add anything more to that.

To Woodland Magic Imports, my heart goes out to you. I wish you well and express my deepest regret for the government-induced dashing of your dreams.


jennifer said...

so sad. i think we can all relate to woodman concept's story and decision to close.

those unintended consequences were not so unintended afterall. so much for all the chatter among the politicians that we were misinformed.

thanks rick for continuing to share the real story with this law.

Anonymous said...

Don't give up, Rick! Small businesses need a voice. (Mine has also bit the dust until I can figure out what to do . . . . and yes, I was super small, making only a few custom ordered doll and kids clothing items a month, but it still was a small business, and helped bring in money for our kid's music lessons. . . . )

Jen DeGrace said...

Very sad to see yet another safe, quality product for kids pushed out of the market. This is exactly the type of product I WANT my kids to have. Parents have had to start their own businesses in order to make durable, safe, high quality products available to our kids in the US. Too many of our large mass-producers have found so many cost-reducing short-cuts that their products are now just junk. Mattel’s latest cost-reducing short-cut: in-house CPSIA testing, insures more of the same from them. CPSIA’s insurmountable burdens on small businesses, insures more closures of small producers offering the alternative to mass-produced products. We have Congress to thank for this mess. Remember that at reelection time – recall the CPSIA, and recall those who refuse to fix it.

Fabulous Pants said...

I would have used Obama's more key phrase "A Dream Deferred." He talked all about how Americans should not have to defer their dreams. This law deferred mine permanently.

Anonymous said...

Winston Churchill cautioned: "If you destroy a free market, you create a black market".

Hard to belive that in the wake of so much evidence that our politicians remain apathetic, I hate to speculate but they must be in denial as to the impact this legislation will have on the industry and how sad a list of casualties is required in order to make a point.

Economic terrorism, the next US threat?