This article is reprinted from the April 2000 issue of Your NARTS Network,
a monthly publication of NARTS: The Association of Resale Professionals.
By Gail Siegel
Membership Services Director - NARTS
I flew into the office this morning in my typical rush, to the sound of a ringing phone—not an unusual occurrence. Trying to grab the phone while I shrugged off my coat, juggling a UPS delivery, the mail, the bank bag and my daily supply of water bottles, I laughed to myself - at myself for my clumsiness! Within a moment of conversation, the smile left my face and my heart went to my throat. Nothing at all seemed funny just then.
That first call of the day was from an attorney. The attorney was representing the estate of a two and a half year old child who had allegedly lost her precious young life to an accident involving a draw string on her clothing... an article of clothing recalled, the recall published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and by NARTS.
Oh what thoughts the idea of this phone call can conjure up in one’s mind; lawsuit, extended litigation, loss of money or of a business that you have worked so hard to establish. Yet all day long, the first thought in my mind was the loss of the small child whom I had never even met; the terrible catastrophe to those that loved her; the way I would feel if I sold a deadly article of children’s clothing. None of these thoughts are easy to imagine.
Perhaps you have felt that NARTS spends too much time stressing product safety in newsletter articles or on the Website. Maybe you have taken these warnings lightly thinking, "not my problem, never me." I am asking you please, let this call I received today be a wake up call for all of us. Each day as we begin our business, let us MAKE IT OUR BUSINESS to be sure that we know what we are selling in our stores. Be certain that our merchandise not only meets the high quality standards that we set, but the SAFETY STANDARDS as well. Read your newsletters. Go to the CPSC link on the Website. Stay abreast of the current recalls. Make sure you do not accept these articles for resale and if they come into your store, REMOVE THEM FROM CIRCULATION! Pass your knowledge onto the consumer who may not be aware of the dangers of these unsafe goods. Extend the goal of NARTS for an educated resale industry by making it a personal goal of your own to educate your peers and your customers. I know I never want to begin my day like this again and because I know you, I am certain, that you never want to go through a day - or to bed at night - with a tragedy like this on your mind.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Toll-free hotline: 1-800-638-2772
As a postscript... no, thankfully, it was not a NARTS member store. However, if it had been, the outcome would have been the same - for the family involved and the negative reflection upon this industry as a whole. As you take a sigh of relief, please vow today that it will not be you the next time. Better yet, if we all do our part each and every day, and all is good, there will not be a next time for ANY business in the resale industry... or ANY child.