CPSIA hits Martha’s Vineyard

by Walter Olson on March 6, 2009

When you live on an island, resale can be a lifeline:

At a time when the crumbling national economy is forcing many Vineyard families to seek bargains on kids’ clothing, toys and games, both Island thrift stores have been forced to throw away nearly their entire inventory of children’s items due to a new federal law designed to protect children from lead products. …the second-hand stores in Tisbury and Edgartown this week cleared their stores of children’s merchandise in dismay. …

lesliebrookebarnyard

Both the Martha’s Vineyard Second Hand Store in Edgartown, run by the Island chapter of the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, and the Thrift Shop in Vineyard Haven, run by the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, have been forced to throw away hundreds or perhaps thousands of children’s items with potentially lead-carrying zippers, buttons, painted fabrics or decals.

“We had to clear out the toys, the kids’ clothing, the dolls . . . everything had to go,” said Dolly Campbell, assistant manager of the Vineyard Haven Thrift Shop, painting a scene straight out of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. “I understand why they passed the law, but they didn’t think it out very well. Now we don’t have any toys or children’s clothing for families in need. What kind of sense does that make?”

The director of the Edgartown store is aware of the law’s restraints on giving away inventory that cannot be sold, but confides that she quietly let people know the things were out in the trash just in case they might want to take it when she wasn’t looking.

“What’s next? Will we no longer be able to say hello to our neighbors? Does this law make the world a better place? I don’t think so,” she said.

Read the whole thing (Jim Hickey, Martha’s Vineyard Gazette). And (via incoming links, which themselves have a serendipitous quality much like thrift stores) here’s a picture from The Magic Bus, 1948; and a third entry in the series on vintage kids’ books by Carol Baicker-McKee.

{ 1 trackback }

An Explosion of Litigation | OpenMarket.org
03.14.09 at 10:39 am

{ 8 comments }

1 Darby 03.06.09 at 7:29 pm

I spent many a summer on MV as a kid, and remember lots of visits to the Edgartown thrift shop. When are the powers that be in our nanny-state, oh, I mean government, realize that this law just doesn’t make any sense and will make children’s lives worse not better? When I visualize all the perfectly good books, toys, and apparel going to the dumps on the island there, it just makes me so sad.

2 Marie 03.06.09 at 8:39 pm

Below is a copy of a letter I sent to Joseph Pereira at the Wall Street Journal in response to his article on March 5, 2009, on CPSIA and it’s impact on ATV’s. That article can be found here:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123621357629835121.html?mod=rss_US_News

———————————-
I saw your article on the impact CPSIA is having on retailers and manufacturers. In particular, this caught my eye:

“The vehicles have small amounts of lead in their handlebars and frames to prevent corrosion, says Paul Vitrano, general counsel to the trade group.”

Hmmm. Chrome plated handlebars with a bit of lead to prevent corrosion? You know what else might have a bit of lead to prevent corrosion? Shopping carts. Which sit outside in the rain and sun and get banged around as much as ATV’s in their own way. And they are specifically designed to be used by children. Just think of all the times you have seen a baby or toddler sitting in the seat of a cart, sometimes even gnawing on the handle if they are teething. Meanwhile, Sissy is asleep in the basket and Big Brother is horsing around on the rack under the cart.

If you figure mom is making 3 grocery trips a week, plus trips to buy clothing, etc, kids are spending a lot more time in shopping carts, from infancy until they get too big to push around, than the time any of them would spend on an ATV. Furthermore, the mouthy, gnawy years are spent in the carts, not the ATV. Yet I have seen nothing in CPSIA discussions about this.

I did a quick and very rough calculation today. (Store numbers from Wikipedia)

Company # stores
Lowes 1616
Home Depot 2913
Walmart 3800
Target 1500
Kroger 2477
Supervalue 2505
total stores 14811

carts 7,405,500 @ 500 per store (guestimate)

cost $1,221,907,500 @ $165 per cart

Of course there are far, far more shopping carts in this country than my rough calculation. Perhaps you can look into this a little further. You could even check out who the companies are who make shopping carts.
http://www.alibaba.com/showroom/Shopping_Cart.html see middle of page
It might make for an ‘interesting’ followup article.

I have nothing against shopping carts or shopping cart manufacturers or companies that supply shopping carts for their customers’ convenience. It’s just that CPSIA makes absolutely no sense. It is going to eat the country alive, and must be repealed.

Thanks for your article.

Regards,
(me)

3 Marie 03.07.09 at 7:50 am

Here is some of the letter I sent to Joseph Pereira at the Wall Wall Street Journal in response to his article on 3/5/09.
——————-

I saw your article on the impact CPSIA is having on retailers and manufacturers. In particular, this caught my eye:
“The vehicles have small amounts of lead in their handlebars and frames to prevent corrosion, says Paul Vitrano, general counsel to the trade group.”

Hmmm. Chrome plated handlebars with a bit of lead to prevent corrosion? You know what else might have a bit of lead to prevent corrosion? Shopping carts. Which sit outside in the rain and sun and get banged around as much as ATV’s in their own way. And they are specifically designed to be used by children. Just think of all the times you have seen a baby or toddler sitting in the seat of a cart, sometimes even gnawing on the handle if they are teething. Meanwhile, Sissy is asleep in the basket and Big Brother is horsing around on the rack under the cart.

If you figure mom is making 3 grocery trips a week, plus trips to buy clothing, etc, kids are spending a lot more time in shopping carts, from infancy until they get too big to push around, than the time any of them would spend on an ATV. Furthermore, the mouthy, gnawy years are spent in the carts, not the ATV. Yet I have seen nothing in CPSIA discussions about this.

I did a quick and very rough calculation today. (Store numbers from Wikipedia)

Company # stores
Lowes 1616
Home Depot 2913
Walmart 3800
Target 1500
Kroger 2477
Supervalue 2505
total stores 14811

carts 7,405,500 @ 500 per store (guestimate)

cost $1,221,907,500 @ $165 per cart

Of course there are far, far more shopping carts in this country than my rough calculation. Perhaps you can look into this a little further. You could even check out who the companies are who make shopping carts.
http://www.alibaba.com/showroom/Shopping_Cart.html see middle of page
It might make for an ‘interesting’ followup article.

I have nothing against shopping carts or shopping cart manufacturers or companies that supply shopping carts for their customers’ convenience. It’s just that CPSIA makes absolutely no sense. It is going to eat the country alive, and must be repealed.

Thanks for your article.

Regards,
Marie

4 Lora 03.07.09 at 9:55 am

You know, when I was growing up I always had to clear my plate because if not, one of my parents would say, “There are starving children out there that would just love to have that”.

guess Congress didn’t have parents.

5 Happymom4 03.07.09 at 1:03 pm

Just is sick. I thought we were so worried about being “green” now?! Why are these dangerous, chemical laden items (gag) being allowed to go into the dumpsters even?? Thought they were banned, hazardous waste–isn’t it illegal to dump them into normal dumpsters?? NONE of this makes an iota of sense. (But then, we all knew that already since we read lots and lots of books growing up and learned to use critical reasoning skills . . . .)

6 GR 03.07.09 at 5:29 pm

Why dump these items in landfills? For maximum (political) theatrical effect, the items should be mailed to Congress. Our representatives and senators will find it hard to ignore the issue as the results of this poorly written law pile up around them.

7 Catherine Jaime 03.07.09 at 6:01 pm

I agree with GR. about mailing things to Congress.

I had actually planned to deliver all our “non-compliant” items to the local offices of both my senators, until we realized how much there was. That’s when we decided to give it away instead (while we still could legally do that). I figured it would end up in the landfill that way anyway, and it was too many good books to have anyone throw away!

8 Greg 03.07.09 at 7:38 pm

Actually everything about Congress’s reaction to the CPSIA fiasco does make perfect sense, as long as you realize that what matters to them is not the real-world consequences of their laws but instead is their own pride and vanity. In their world, no matter how much devastation this law causes, it isn’t as bad as the loss of face of having to admit that they made a mistake. So ironically the sheer awfulness of the CPSIA is what is protecting it. If the law was basically well thought out with a few problems, they could agree to amend it without any loss of face. But because the law is such a disaster, they can’t afford to admit that there are any problems with it without making themselves look completely incompetent. So I think they’re going to continue stonewalling as long as they can. Because to them the disaster of this law is nothing as compared to their own pride.

Comments on this entry are closed.