Monday, August 29, 2011

You are What You Buy

I just read another disturbing story about some big bad company getting off cheap by using child labor and having absolutely no clue about the chemicals being used to make thier products. (Hint- it rhymes with Bisney.) It seems anytime I wander over to the toy aisle in the local Big-Mart first I gawk at the prices, then my Spidey-senses get all buzzy when I wonder where that shiny red car came from. There's no content label like you'd find on a package of Wheat Thins. If the side said "Caution: We have no idea what kind of paint was used on this toy." I wonder if as many people would lap up the items from the store shelves. I went on a mission a couple of Christmasses ago. I was trying to find a company that I could trust didn't use crazy labor practices. I came up with Haba (some products only) Holz Toys (out of Germany) and Playmobil. I'm sure there are more- I had an infant, was sleep deprived, and spent 10 minutes doing "research".  My Christmas budget bought less which in this case was more. Since then we have delighted in visiting local craft fairs and buying up locally made toys, wooden puzzles, and games. It's much more satisfying to speak with the maker and understand what went into the design, what type of paints and finishes were used, and hear any stories about making the toys. Since I started making toys myself- I've become extra cautious of the mass-marketed toys. Every corner I turn there's another story about unfair labor practices, child labor, and strange chemical brews. I think we should all take a little responsibility- take a chance and shop locally  one season. I think you will be impressed, the toys will last longer, and it may even force them to use their imaginations. An extra bonus is less batteries and mechanical noise. A little something for everyone...

Have more companies? Drop their name here. Have a favorite toy maker? Add their link-- Seriously.

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