Why I hate big government

The following is an email from a small toystore that my family and I have done business with for about 2years now. I have had intentions of posting about this but kept forgetting. The time for voting about this issue at change.org is over. This issue did make it into the top 10 and was presented to President Obama’s transition team.

It irritates me to no end that things like this get passed without much fanfare. It irritates me to no end that the government thinks that it needs to tell me what is safe for my children. I buy hand made because I DON’T trust the companies that import from China. You know, the ones that are already supposed to have lead safety standards in place, the ones that imported a ton of toys with high levels of lead in them in the last couple of years?

I see this as something that was thought to be a good idea but was just not. Not at least with the way that it reads. When did the voice of the people get so lost? Oh that’s right, our voice isn’t big enough to drown out the noise of MONEY,MONEY and more MONEY. It’s not about safety folks it’s about closing down the little guy so that the big guys can dominate. Ugh.

Dear Customers,

This is a very important email, please read:

On February 10, 2009, a new law called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) goes into effect that threatens to put A Toy Garden, many other specialty toy stores, and thousands of handmade crafters (think of sellers on etsy.com, ebay.com, etc.) in the US & around the world out of business. Here’s my non-legal interpretation of the law: The law’s beginnings had honorable intentions – keeping children safe from lead and phthalates – however, the way the law was written would require such extensive testing that most small and many medium-size vendors would have to go out of business, and we would only be able to sell toys from very large manufacturers who did the testing. If I could not sell the extensive selection of handmade toys I currently offer, I would choose to go out of business as I am unwilling to only sell mass manufactured toys. There are already some European companies (like Selecta) who ha ve reviewed the law, seen how impossible it would be to follow, and have chosen to pull out of the US market.

How can this be, you might ask? The law requires each batch of any product that children under 12 might use to be tested for lead and phthalates. Everything, whether it contains plastic or anything that might contain lead, must be tested for phthalate and lead content. Even unfinished wooden toys! For example, many of you love our Herbal Play Bean Bags. Based on internet research and prices quoted to other craftspeople for similar approved independent product testing (as required by CPSIA), I estimate it would cost about $2100 to get a set of bean bags tested (8 colors of batik 100% cotton fabric, 16 different spools of thread, kidney beans, organic dried lavender, chamomile, and peppermint: 28 tests x $75 per test). Since I buy new fabric several times per year, and the fabric patterns are usually a little different each time, I’d need to retest the whole bean bag set several times per year. I would also have to “batch label” each batch of bean bags I made and provide official certification that they meet all the regulations. These testing costs would become the largest cost of making bean bags (more than any of the materials or labor) and make their cost so ridiculously high that we’d probably never sell any. OK, you may be willing to make your own bean bags, but the same holds true for handmade dolls, gnomes, fairies, felted items, dress-up garments, wooden vehicles, puzzles, baskets (there are no two alike so we’d have to test each one!), etc. All of our prices would go through the roof, because we’d have to pass all these costs along to our customers in order to stay in business.

The good news is that the CPSC is considering some exemptions for natural materials such as cotton, wool, silk, and wood, however none of the exemptions can be finalized until the Act becomes law on February 10th. We joined the recently formed Handmade Toy Alliance – a group of hundreds of small U.S. toy manufacturers/retailers to help lobby and spread the word through the government, media, and to the public about the potentially devestating effects of the law on conscientious small businesses. The economy has caused many of us to suffer but this law threatens to force us to break the law or simply close our businesses.

What you can do:

  1. Go to handmadetoyalliance.org to read up on the law and many current news articles and press coverage about the law as well as signing the HTA petition. If you are a toy maker/seller, please join the HTA.
  2. Go to change.org to vote for this issue to be one of the top 10 issues the Obama administration will look into. It will just take a couple minutes, you’ll need to register with your name and email address, then click on the email from them to confirm your registration, then go back to the website to place your vote. A couple steps but it is worth it and every vote is vital. This issue is currently #4 on the list.
  3. Follow the links and print out the forms at the Handmade Toy Alliance’s website to write, email and call your congresspeople. This is important and is having an affect. All but 1 member of Congress voted for this law but most hadn’t read and didn’t understand it when they voted for it!

Thank you for your business past & present. We hope to be here to serve you in the future.

Sincerely,

Sonya

Please visit our online store at:
www.aToyGarden.com

& forward this email to your friends!

 



Here is another blog with more info:

http://www.unplugyourkids.com/2009/01/22/illegal-toys-update/

If you go to www.atoygarden.com you can search for “CPSIA herbal bean bags” It will bring up the bean bags that Sonya makes at the new price she would have to charge after Feb.10.

NUTS!! Completly and totally NUTS!!

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3 thoughts on “Why I hate big government

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