CPSIA – am I alone here? (And, how this will impact retailers)
I mean, sometimes, as I’m rattling on incessantly to my husband, friends, customers, family, and strangers about the CPSIA, I feel like I’m the only one who’s really really worried about this.
Funny, because a few months ago I was really, um, unconcerned. But almost everyone (including the attorneys I’ve talked with) has said that, on the first read-through, the law seems really not that bad. It’s meant for toys. No lead in toys = good. Third party testing? Sure! Plus, diapers have always been excluded from nearly every regulatory law ever written. (lobbying by Proctor and Gamble, perhaps?) It’s the second, third, twentieth read-through that you start to realize what it really means.
So, our family went out to lunch for Gyros on Saturday and I picked up the local Kids’ Directory. Let’s page through the advertisers and see who will have to struggle with this law:
- MagicKids and Company Inc. Having a huge sale now (hm, related?) Mostly kids clothes.
- RecessGoBananas. A Drop in and Play spot. Their equipment seems to be largely plastic or vinyl. Possibly not consumer products? They don’t necessarily SELL the stuff, just let kids play on them. Maybe they’d be OK?
- The HOWDA-HUG. A little chair for kids. Clearly falls under the law. Looks like a mom operation. (The ad says to call Rachel and gives a local phone number)
- Urban Belly. Won’t be so bad, but their clothes and goodies for babies clearly are covered.
- Playground for Kids. Same as RecessGoBananas.
- Party With A Princess. They probably do not even realize they need to be worried, but they provide tiaras, necklaces, Tshirts, etc. All covered.
- Simply For Giggles. Everything in that store is for babies or kids.
- Mad Science. They seem to do Science stuff for kids, including parties. Um, yeah, covered.
- Me N Mommy To Be. Consignment store. Covered, but don’t have to test, as long as they are super careful.
- Language Schoolhouse. Assuming they use textbooks, covered.
- Kidding Around. Consignment store, see above.
- Kindermusik. Music classes for kids. They use toys in their classes. Covered.
- Songs and Signs. Same thing.
- Easter Seals Childcare. I’m assuming they use toys. Those toys are covered.
- The Pink Hippo. They make hairbows. Oh, yeah, covered.
- Rainbow Play Systems. Covered.
Now, you may be thinking, what’s the big deal? Many of these are just retailers, they don’t have to worry! Um, yeah, they do. Particularly those who carry mainly merchandise from smaller manufacturers.
First, retailers who sell goods that do not comply with current lead limits can be fined/jailed. So, it’s in their best interests to ensure compliance. (Goods manufactured before 2/10 do not need to be tested nor have a GCC, but they still must comply.) How do the retailers know they’re in compliance? They can either test their current inventory themselves, try to send it back to the manufacturer, obtain certificates of compliance from the manufacturers, or pull inventory from the shelves and burn it.
Second, these retailers may have trouble getting goods in their stores after 2/10 from their current suppliers. If their suppliers are using Reasonable Testing Programs that are NOT third-party testing by certified labs, the retailers then have to be concerned about any merchandise they buy NOW but haven’t sold by August.
Finally, these retailers may suddenly find that the wholesale prices of the goods they sell in their stores has risen significantly, as manufacturers pass along the costs of compliance. They will, of course, have to raise their own prices in turn. In a time of economic downturn.
I’m a real believer in not taking on the troubles of others. (I mean this in a non-mean way.) I cannot carry the burdens of the whole world, and I don’t need to. I don’t need to adopt trouble. But I find myself doing things like picking up this magazine and developing all sorts of worry for the businesses.
There’s a radio ad right now for Quickbooks. This girl just opened a store where she makes baby clothes, but although she knew how to make the clothes, she knew nothing about running a business. Quickbooks to the rescue! (let’s ignore the serious leap there that Quickbooks would solve all of your business-running ills.) All I can think when I hear this ad is “dang, too bad you spent all that money on Quickbooks when you’re going to have to CLOSE in August!! I want to call Quickbooks and tell them about the CPSIA and their poor example woman, even though she is totally fictional.
And then I feel like such a whiner. “But this is going to make me have to clooooose!! It’s so unfaaaaaair!”
Which is why I try to always temper my conversations with other with the consumer’s perspective. Because, more than how this affects me as a business owner, it will affect me as a consumer. In BAD ways. And I’m really upset about that. I think I’m more upset than most people I know…but I think I know more about the ways it’ll affect me/everyone else more than most people I know.