Monday, June 18, 2007

innovation: kerosene-filled eyeball toys

(Hello readers from British Car Forum!)

I thought swapping diethylene glycol for glycerine was bad.

Then came the tainted pet food. And toothpaste.

Then the New York Times reported the following on the recent recall of Thomas and Friends toys:
China manufactured every one of the 24 kinds of toys recalled for safety reasons in the United States so far this year, including the enormously popular Thomas & Friends wooden train sets, a record that is causing alarm among consumer advocates, parents and regulators.

But that was all a warm-up for the topper.

Just in the last month, a ghoulish fake eyeball toy made in China was recalled after it was found to be filled with kerosene.

Let's see what OSHA has to say about the dangers of kerosene exposure:

Eye, skin, nose, throat irritation; cough, burning sensation in chest; headache; nausea, lassitude, restlessness; poor coordination, confusion, drowsiness, unconsciousness; dermatitis; vomiting, diarrhea; chemical pneumonitis, fire eater's pneumonia (from aspiration).

Oh my.

Sure, I'm outraged and disappointed that truly dangerous, potentially lethal products disguised as everyday items are being sold to us and that we're buying them. .

. . . but gosh, I want to meet the product manager who got them approved.

"OK, today we're going over our product roadmap for the first half of 2007. To keep us on schedule, I'm not going to go over the current production queue. A copy of the current earned-value report can be found on tab three in your binder. If you could, please turn to tab four and we'll get started."

"Terrific meeting prep, by the way."

"Thanks. There are eleven proposals on the table today. A summary on figure four. . ."

"Um, excuse me. . ."


"I hope I'm not jumping ahead?"

"Not a problem."

"I'm a bit concerned over proposal seven."

"Ah, yes. The Whizzo Eye-Ball Gag. It's projected to earn in the range. . ."

"The notes say you're recommending. . .kerosene. . . as the fill liquid?"

"Yes, kerosene."

"Do you think that's wise?"

"Kerosene offers the Whizzo Eye-Ball Gag a number of major performance advantages at a modest cost."

"Kerosene is a fuel oil."

"It also tested extremely well in our focus groups across all six key usage metrics. The closest alternative had a much less impressive performance score at three times the cost."

"It's poison."

"If you'll just turn to tab six, I believe the figure I want to refer you to is on page eleven."

"Tensile strength studies?"

"Yes. One of the cornerstones of the Whizzo Eye-Ball Gag is the tremendous durability of the plastic used to create the outer shell, combined with a high performance inner membrane with self-sealing characteristics over the expected lifetime of the unit."

"So what's your point?"

"With respect to the Whizzo Eye-Ball Gag, research showed that repeated attempts to compromise the outer capsule failed under normal usage patterns, and under inappropriate use, failure did not compromise the inner membrane."

"Who did this research?"

"Our normal research contractor."

"Do you have documentation of the test protocols used?"

"Sir, I appreciate where you're coming from. But where you see kerosene, I see a superior product at a great price. Besides, everyone knows that something that smells as bad as kerosene isn't something you should be putting in your mouth or rubbing on you face, right?"

"Yes, of course, but. . ."

"So even if little Joey Smith manages. . . and I'm not convinced he will. . . to pick his way through the outer membrane, the toy is still safe. And if I'm not mistaken, there is a thin fluid between the inner and outer membrane, right?"

"That appears to be what is documented here."

"And when Joey Smith sees that, he'll figure the toy is broken and he'll throw it away. Who wants an eyeball toy that's broken?"

"I see your point."

"Thank you. Now, if you please, take note of proposal one - the Whizzo Lawn Dart."

1 comment:

Camie Vog said...

Ooooh! Lawn Darts! How I miss me a good game of lawn darts!