Friday, June 15, 2007

Our first recall

I have mixed feelings about the recently announced recall of some Thomas and Friends wooden railway toys regarding paint containing lead. Obviously, safety is the top priority and toys posing any kind of danger should be eliminated. But as I consulted the website of the RC2 Corporation, looked over the list of items affected and attempted to get a real human being on the phone to answer my questions, I felt a sentimental attachment to the things we were going to have to return for replacements.

The three items Oliver has that are being recalled are the box car, the caboose and the stop sign. They were all part of his first set of Thomas toys: the figure-eight track with bridge, the configuration that started it all. These days, Oliver's less interested in 'making new tracks' than in creating traffic jams with his cars, but he was once completely obsessed with the wooden railway, and it would have been much more difficult to take any of the trains away then. These days, the entire collection is in a box in the den/playroom and Oliver occasionally takes some items out, but he used to be virtually inseparable from 'Thomasandboxcarandcaboose' (in that order), taking them downstairs for meals and clutching them tightly as he fell asleep in his crib.

He won't have the originals of these first railway carriages anymore, but as I sealed them in a sandwich bag to mail them, I noticed the worn paint and felt that it was the right thing to do.

I was about to photocopy the return form when a co-worker noticed I had the recalled items in a sandwich bag. 'Oh, you have those?' she asked, adding 'I have a whole bunch too. What are we supposed to do with them?' and I was happy to provide the link for the recall notices and forms:

(The address for Canadian customers should read 'Traders Blvd East, Mississauga', as I informed their customer service department, although I didn't see that they'd missppelled Mississauga until I was off the phone.)

I mailed them on Friday and it was not until Sunday morning that Oliver asked where they were. I decided to tell him that box car and caboose needed to go to the shop to be fixed because their paint was bad and this explanation seemed to satisfy him.