What do these things have in common? Over a year ago, one of M’s Baby Einstein Discover & Play Color Blocks was recalled. The paint used for the snorkeling turtle contained lead in “amounts that exceed US lead standards.” Following the instructions for returning the block was easy. They gave postage-paid label to return it and sent me a new block.
It took a long time to receive the replacement block. It didn’t matter, though. M wasn’t really attached to it, so it wasn’t missed. I had actually forgotten about it and then one day it arrived in the mail. End of story.
Fast forward to this year; February 10th, in fact. The day that the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was supposed to go into effect. I’ll leave my opinions and rants about the actual law for some other blog post. Instead, I’d like to show you what showed up in my mail that day.
At first I thought maybe it was surprise yarn or something. It was light, soft and smooshy. Then I figured out it was a cube. It made a little rattle sound when I shook it. It was the little lead snorkeling turtle. (Why do turtles need snorkeling equipment?) The package looked like it had been through a war zone. It was battered, ripped and covered with stamps that had marked its journey through the postal system.
Apparently, its journey was so long that by the time it arrived to its destination, the postage-paid label permit had expired. The only thing more incredible than the thought of a recalled item being returned to the consumer was the original post mark date.
I sent Kids II an email explaining what had happened. I was concerned. What should I do with the block? I mean, if it was dangerous enough that they had wanted it returned, what was I supposed to do with it now? Toss it in the trash? Yep. That’s exactly what they advised me to do.
It all seems a little crazy, doesn’t it?