Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When Product Recalls Go Too Far... Or, "It's Someone Else's Fault I'm an Idiot"

I'm a big fan of the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Its laudable charge: To protect the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products. At any one time, the CPSC's website posts bulletins of thousands of product recalls--product defects that can (and often do) injure or kill unsuspecting consumers.

The CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed significantly to the 30% decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

Many of the product recall notifications get posted by companies with integrity (hard to believe in the face of such overwhelming evidence of avarice that such a characteristic still exists in corporate America).

I'll admit to trolling the product recall notifications to catch a company's poor product engineering, or worse, gross negligence. But today I came across a product recall that were the threat not so serious would have caused me to guffaw.

Here's the headline of the notification, friends: The Gerson Company Recalls Glass Vases Due to Laceration Hazard

As it turns out, unbelievably, the glass vases can shatter on impact, potentially causing lacerations to unsuspecting consumers who ostensibly try to clean up the shards. The recalled vases, MADE IN CHINA (another shocker) are made of clear glass and stand about 4" wide x 20" tall.

Imported by the Gerson Company, of Olathe, Kansas, the vases were sold for about $15 at Michael's stores in the U.S. and Canada from July 2006 through March 2010. Thus far, the Gerson Company has received nine reports of the vase shattering, including nine reports of lacerations to the hands.

The remedy suggested by the company and the CPSC: "Consumers should stop using the recalled vase and discard them immediately."

So let me get this straight: Glass vase shatters on impact with hard object (presumably the floor or ground). Consumer tries to pick up glass shards. Hands get lacerated. Consumer calls company to complain. Company urges consumers to discard the vase immediately (presumably in the trash, where it can shatter and likely lead to further lacerations).

It seems to me that consumers bear some responsibility for getting their hands lacerated when they pick up shattered glass. Or have we reached the laughable point in our society at which someone other than us is culpable for any misfortune that befalls us?


Tartine said...

Unbelievable... Thanks for the laugh. Posts like this remind me of the warning labels found on household irons: Caution, do not iron clothes while wearing. DUH.

Unknown said...

Our firm represents clients who have been injured by this vase and are currently looking to speak to others with similar injuries.

Please visit our website - www.seriousinjurylawyers.com for more information.

Thank you.

Lurie said...
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