Monday, February 18, 2008

War on Plastic Toys Escalates - In Slow Motion

Toys-R-Us has announced their intent to reduce PVC plastic toys in their stores. Well, whoopty-do.

So why am I not especially excited about this development?

Because it's merely a statement of intent. Anyone can announce good intentions. We all do it every January when we make New Year's resolutions. How's yours going so far?

It's being referred to as a change in policy. But all "policy" ever does in a corporate structure is provide a middle-management scapegoat for future whipping. We all know of companies who do things differently from their "official stated policy" on a daily basis, do we not? That policy becomes a P.R. safety valve for some spokesman to say "see, we have an official policy on this, we can't help it if some of our stores violated it."

According to Consumer Affairs, the Toys-R-Us press release also insists that "by the end of 2008, juvenile products must be produced without the addition of phthalates." Well, that's just great, but what about the products that they're going to be selling ALL YEAR LONG?

If there's nothing wrong with PVC products, then why get rid of them? And if there IS something wrong with them, why would you wait a YEAR to "phase them out" off your shelves?

PVC toys are already completely banned in the European Union, incidentally.

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