Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

recalls may have a silver lining

I own a small number of shares of Mattel, Inc. I originally bought the shares because of Barbie. I figured this stock is likely to keep making money. And it has. It is the most successful of my many limited investments (the total value of all of my shares is about $2,000 - quite the big spender am I).

So I was a little disturbed when I saw this article in the L.A. Times. Mattel has had to recall a large number of toys made in China because of paint obtained from an unmonitored supplier. As the article points out, Mattel is unusual in that half of its factories are in fact owned by Mattel and because its overseas contracts have strict requirements for quality, worker safety, and other aspects of production. In other words, Mattel takes care that its products are safe and that they are made by people who are treated fairly. This does say a lot about the company.

But the fact that they send the work overseas at all is still disturbing. Here's where I think the recall might have another side. This recall, following fast on the heels of the pet food recall and not likely the end of the recalls, is making Americans more aware of the chances they take when they buy products made in other countries. Although consumers in this country have really short attention spans, the long run of recalls may make some of them sit up and think. And maybe more Americans will be willing to pay a little more to make sure that the products they buy are made in this country, with strict standards. Am I dreaming? I hope not.
Tags: outsourcing, recalls

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