Life is Like A Government Recall

While cleaning my garage this summer, my wife and I decide to sell our children’s crib which for the last few years had only been a haven to spiders.  We hung onto the crib thinking maybe there would be more kids in our future…but economics, body image issues (mine), and the possibility of a house with not three but four estrogen producers and myself, ruled out the parentage option.    
funny ugly craigslist ad photo
I thought about Craigslisting something similar after
my last blog about things I missed from the 1990s. 

So I cleaned up the crib, reassembled it,  photographed it and posted it on  Apparently that was illegal.  Or if I sold it, it would be illegal.  A conscientious, if not slightly rude, email by another Craigslister warned me of the legality.  Apparently, the CPSC; U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, made the sale of all drop-side cribs illegal in 2011. 

I thought, oh, okay, if it’s been recalled maybe I can exchange it for something.  Nope.  I’m only eligible to install an “immobolizer” piece so that the dropping side is no longer moveable.  In effect making it a crib with four solid sides.  Okay, I didn’t use the drop side much anyways.  So I install this piece and I can sell it, right? Wrong.  I can’t even donate it, or give it away--repaired or not.  I can still use it with the immobolizer, although the CPSC strongly advices me not to, until I can find a suitable replacement.  Since I don’t have small children anymore, the only alternative I have is to throw it in a landfill.  $250 dollars down the drain.  Not that I expected to get that much, but I have a problem throwing a perfectly good piece of furniture away. 

repurposed recycled drop side crib desk
repurposed recycled drop side crib

My crib, and how other people have re-purposed their drop side cribs instead of tossing them out.   

Young Ralph Nader
More people would've voted
for Nader if he didn't go all 
angry and green...oh, sorry,
he looks like just like  Mark 
Ruffalo playing the Hulk.  
But if the government says it isn’t safe, it isn’t safe right?  Like Ralph Nader’s book “Unsafe at Any Speed,”  we should be protected against cars like the Chevy Corvair with propensities to flip over or lose control.  I should be happy that the government is looking out for me.  But then I saw the numbers.  My crib manufacturer made over a million cribs with my design.  Two children were trapped and suffocated in between the sliding door and their mattress.  Which is sadly horrific.  But wait, that can’t happen, I thought, as I looked at the design on my crib.  Turns out, both tragedies happened when the owners reassembled the product without all the parts.  The safety pegs were left off.  Doesn’t really sound like a manufacturer flaw after all. 

So the government stepped in, and basically said “no more drop side cribs—period, by any manufacturer. We don’t care how well they were built, or if they are modified to be safe, get rid of them from every marketplace.”  (In fairness to the CPSC, there have been around 60 infant related deaths from these type cribs in the last decade—with sales of over 10 million of these type cribs).  My crib, guilty or not, is now languishing in the same product hell as asbestos and lead-based products. 
ugly orange 2003, 2004, 2005 Pontiac Aztec
If the Aztecs had this vehicle at their disposal, it
would've been sacrificed instead of humans.  Pontiac
couldn't kill it quick enough... 
Many products have the scorn of customers for their shoddy performance records, design flaws, or cheap materials, and yet are still readily available; and then there are some that have unfairly been linked to a couple of accidents and the hysteria that follows it, causes them to fall from the graces of the public’s billfold or be banned by the government.  
Which reminds me of a lot of people I know (including myself).  People who are or were very good at their jobs; and then some new regulation or methodology came along and didn’t say (but really meant):  “because of a slight blip in the economy and our lowered stock projections, we are panicking and sending you guys packing.  We recognize that you are not at fault, so thank you for the _________ # of years. Hopefully some other industry that is not being recalled can use your talents, skills, etc.  If not, then, you’ll have to refashion or repurpose yourself into something different and useful.” 
I’m beginning to understand that being a recalled product person, is not a trash heap prognosis, though.  Reinventing ourselves, is something our generation is going to have to get good at, even if we won’t be changing careers 7 times (like we were previously told),  we probably will, at some point have to completely revaluate what makes us who we are. 

Life likes to throw lemons.  And despite the adage, there’s no money in lemonade. Sometimes the problem is not us, but the person making and selling lemons to us.  These people making lemons, are the ones selling future recalled merchandise, and we just got snookered into buying into their crummy product.  A lemon could make one bitter, yet they do add flavor to a Hefeweizen or Corona and make a heck of a meringue pie…I don’t recall the rest of what I was going to say, too many Widmers and Lemon Hostess pies…something poignant about repurposing our lives despite…mmm, pie.     

Life throws you lemons, find someone who's life has thrown them vodka meme


  1. We need to have friend time soon. This is reflective of a lot of my back to work anxiety and my irrational fear of Harrison's crib.

  2. Can you sell the crib after repurposing it into a desk, wagon, or perhaps snow sled! Great read!

  3. I'm not sure why comments aren't showing up. I see them on my admin page, but they aren't here...keep posting, and I'll figure it out.

  4. My favorite so far. Maybe it's because kid products are more my speed than video games. Or maybe because It makes me glad we sold ours before the recall (we were sold on the idea of another but didn't know how long off it was. Turns out not very far). And I like pie.

  5. Charlie Brown mikeAugust 16, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    Charlie brown Mike...says, think of all those being made obsolete almost overnight...coal miners, oil workers, loggers, log mill workers, RV manufacturers, many gasoline car makers, nuclear industry, farmers, ranchers, Nasa employees, new teachers, Twinkies, fast fat food makers, super big Gulp makers, honest politicians, house builders, etc, etc, etc

  6. Whatever you do don't try to let the girls operate an unregistered lemonade stand.

  7. very informative, turn your crib into a raised garden!just watch out for the government.