Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The CPSIA plays the part of Burgermeister Meisterburger

Any kid who's seen the Christmas classic Santa Clause is Coming to Town will now be able to relate to the children of Sombertown, the town where toys are outlawed by "The Burgermeister".

In case you hadn't heard, the CPSIA (Burgermeisters!) got a law passed quickly last year as a reaction to the high number of recalls of crappy China-made toys that were laced with lead. Sounds good, right?
Well, the law was then made retroactive. What does that mean?
It means that as of Feb 10th, ANY stock intended for children in any store which was produced before that date, any used clothing, toys, gear, in your kid's closet will be ILLEGAL to resell. Even those without a recall and without lead based materials.
That's right! No garage sale, no ebay, Etsy, no private website, no consignment store, no thrift, NO ONE can legally sell an item produced before that day. Charity shops cannot give it away, thrifts cannot sell it, YOU cannot sell it. Technically, by letter of the law, you can't even hand it down to your neighbor's kid.
Quit trading those 8 month old Pokemon cards, kid, or it's the slammer for you!!

What if it's vintage? Nope, can't do it. It was produced before the date the law goes into effect and was intended for use by someone under 12. Who cares if that kid is now in his 60s?

Where will all this stuff end up? Just guess. The Salvation Army, Goodwill, your local church charity shop...if they intend to follow the law, they will have to dump it. It will fill their dumpsters and they will have to PAY to get rid of it. That means they will have that much less to put towards good causes.

My local SA store makes 5% of their monthly sales off of kids clothing and toy sales. Not much? Multiply that average $600 in sales by 12, then multiply that number by the number of SA stores there are in the country (1370 stores). Suddenly that 5% at my rinkydink SA is nearing $9 MILLION annually that will not be there to provide relief after storms, shelter battered women, provide education and medical assistance to impoverished countries...not to mention giving people a way to extend their budgets when clothing their kids. Same goes for Goodwill's 2200 stores, and their assistance to the mentally challenged who want to work, or the mother who needed some additional education to get a better job.

Yes, there should be something in a law that makes it illegal for these toy conglomos to bring crappy lead laced toys into the country. However, not every toy in the whole world has lead in it. Not EVERY article of clothing should be treated like toxic waste.

My Mom started her business, Kids Caboose, from the ground up, selling gently used, consigned, children's goods. She is looking at potentially loosing everything she's put into this business. She will loose her retirement job, I'll loose my occasional part time job, and every family that shops her store will loose a venue that helps extend their strapped incomes. Her consignors will loose a source of income. It is likely that she will have to close up shop, if not forever, at least for a few years. She is not the only one.

This law needs to be dissected, rewritten, and reviewed carefully.

Will you help? Time is of the essence. Please follow this link to the NARTS website (Natn'l Association of Retail and Thrift Stores).
There you will find out some more info, and can follow links to sign a petition and write your area's representatives to voice your opinion.

Sign the NARTS petition

Jenn, Hatfeathers Vintage

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