Let's not jump to conclusions.

| 7 Comments

Um... Mattel apologizes to China???

Interesting bad craziness.

It would be awesome if China had banned Idol because of this whole thing wouldn't it?

7 Comments

I saw that on the news tonight. WtehF? "Dear China, we're sorry we were overly cautious when you started painting all our toys with lead paint?"

It's not so crazy if you give the event some thought.

Remember the first recall was due to small magnets coming loose and being easily ingested and harmful to children. This was a design flaw that can be squarely placed on the shoulders of Mattel's design team, yet Mattel took out large newspaper ads and posted videos heaping blame on Chinese manufacturing. True enough, the two lead paint incidents that came later apportion some fault to the manufacturer, but not all. Mattel (and all other American companies that use Chinese industry continue to demand lower and lower prices, and if a factory suddenly comes forth claiming to be able to deliver that great, too-good-to-be-true price, they have to know they're cutting corners, yet Mattel continued forth. It would be like being told by a car dealer that they would sell you a new model car for half the price - the wise person 's antennae should pop up and start scrutinizing.

But this apology also makes sense from a business angle. Mattel has two groups to manage in a crisis like this: The American consumer and the Chinese government. Mattel elected to protect their client base first with all the attack ads and recalls, but over the past three weeks Mattel's stock took only the slightest of dings, and indeed at yesterday's close was actually up about 80 cents from before the first recall. Clearly, the American Consumer isn't too rattled by these recalls and continues to purchase Chinese made goods.

But consider the other side of the equation. The Communist Party is VERY sensitive to China's image to the world and in this march up to the 2008 Olympics, it seems even elevated from the past years. When there's a problem with China's economy, it is historically accurate that the Party will get involved and get involved in a major way. That's not good for Mattel at all if China is mucking with their operations on a micromanagement level.

So with Americans largely unconcerned and the actual blame for all of one recall and part of the other two truly Mattel's, they were wise to get down and lick China's boots for all the world to see, lest they have their business under heavy observation and likely a lot of contempt.

Is it too much to hope that George W Bush will follow suit and apologise as well?

M.

Hi people, a newbie here. Yeah, I 'm astonished that lead paint is still used anywhere in the world these days; its effects are well-documented. What next, putting sharp points back into transformer models (and i don't mean the swords or assorted weaponry you generally find on them)...

I digress here as I have been sent here on recommendation by a good pal of mine, the sardonic fellow Brit known as 'Mark'.

I'm visiting Columbus on October 21, going to the Nationwide Arena for the Canucks game - since I'll be in town for a good few hours (from 12 noon 'til about 2 to 3am!) it'd be good if the good Ohioans(?) on here could let me know what's cool in Columbus and what's not.

You know; sports bars, local attractions, that sort of thing.

Sorry if this is a bit of a tangent to the issue at hand but I'm hoping you'll point me to the best peeler ba... sorry, microbrewery pubs in town and such like.

Thanks for your time, guys...

When I read this I was like... WTF. This month's Popular Science has a large article on the Chinese Bootlegging industry and how they're making some products like their Iphone clone better than the real thing. But it also shows the dark side like the Chinese toothpaste made with the sweet, yet deadly ingredient used in anti-freeze that killed 10 people.

You don't apologize to China, they apologize to us. Their government relies on that lead paint so that their factories can make our products cheaper and they can reap the benefits. The gov's policy is 'We punish offenders.... if they get caught./ Otherwise the Chinese government doesn't care if they use lead paint, radioactive paint, or ebola paint. As long as the money keeps coming in. But they'll be the first to hang a factory worker if they're caught using it by US officials.

Bleh.

Jin: Can I commission a special line of Jin Saotome Customs totally done in lead paint and completely dangerous and toxic?

Folks:

Leaded paint is good stuff when there is minimal risk of poisoning or pollution. It hung on for uses like bridges and sign painting for a while after it was superseded by less toxic paints. However,this apology is rather silly. When a factory makes a mistake like this, I don't care whose "fault" it originally was. I want to know why it wasn't caught. An issue like this can be an isolated thing, but not often.

Mattel needs to make a more general apology, like this: "We thought we could farm out the manufacturing and collect the cash, but do you know what? We were wrong." They need to be joined by every other manufacturer that has the "Let George Do It" attitude, who puts a recognized name on a product that they have poor control over.

A significant and unrecognized force that drives this overseas production isn't "cheap labor we can't compete with". It's the training of consumers to accept lower quality, and replacement of quality control with guarantees. End-user QC. Would you rather have a lifetime-warrantied wrench or one guaranteed for thirty days? The former, of course, but what are we really getting? We are getting lifetime-warrantied wrenches, with the unwritten understanding that a sizable quantity will break, and be returned. We have been trained to accept this. Why do we need to improve the process if a lot of them break? We'll just make more, they're cheap!

Yesterday I bought imported threaded pipe. The cost was perhaps 30% less than another store's domestic pipe (they weren't open). But I can gather up the domestic fittings and take 'em home; I have to check every imported fitting to make sure it will work. Most people don't know enough to do this, and it works fine. Use the junk pipe with good workmanship, good pipe dope, and lots of elbow grease, and it won't leak. But if you use the good stuff with the same care, it will last longer!

We must stop choosing economy over quality. Yesterday I handed a man a Channellock wrench, instead of the cheaper imported Kobalt one he was buying, and told him "You won't regret it". He said he agreed, but was just looking for a "disposable" tool to keep in his truck, so I let him go free...but really, why bother? The imported one costs $11. The Channellock cost $14. The first is built to sell. The second is built to use. What is $3 over the lifetime of a tool worth? One slip and bruise is worth that to me. Kobalt is, in fact, not that bad, and do have some QC, but they don't come close to the product of a company where design, manufacturing and QC are integrated parts of a whole. To somebody inside industry, "Designed in Country A, Made in Country B, Quality Assured in Country A" is a prescription for disaster, for toys with lead paint.

I see this all the time. Harbor Freight junk is cheap -- but try to use it after using something good. Properly quality controlled imported goods are hardly cheaper than domestic ones. Very rarely is the difference more than 30%, and the quality difference is greater. A Reed or Ridgid pipe wrench is $29; a half-decent imported one is $22.

"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."

Cordially yours:
Autobus Prime
w/minicon Farebox.

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This page contains a single entry by Nala published on September 21, 2007 6:12 PM.

In which Nala apologises (sort of) for his slackerness. was the previous entry in this blog.

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