A few days ago, I was walking through the toy aisle in a well known supermarket. I confess that even as an adult, I still like to look at the action figures from movies I loved as a child. I can even forgive George Lucas for the last three Star Wars movies for a moment or two when a particularly cool figure catches my eye.
In any case, I was enjoying my reverie, imagining how cool it would be to be a Jedi Knight and be able to move things with my brain and change people’s minds by waving my hand in the air. Have you ever really thought of that? Can you imagine what it would be like to be able to say, “Change your mind,” to someone, and then a real change happens?
I passed by the Star Wars toys and came to some figures from a movie I don’t know at all. I haven’t kept up with children’s movies. But the toys were colorful. Bright greens and oranges, and exaggerated faces and figures. So I stopped to look at them.
Suddenly, a man wearing an expensive black suit with an official looking badge came charging down the toy aisle. At first, I thought he was coming after me, and my heart started racing. But he wasn’t after me. He pushed me gruffly to the side and began tearing all the toys I was looking at off the shelves. They fell to the floor in a heap, and the man began jumping up and down on them, yelling and screaming at the top of his lungs! It was as if he was trying to smash them into as many pieces as humanly possible! He was red faced and angry. Part of me wanted to stay to see what would happen, but the other part of me was afraid he’d turn his anger on me next, so I high tailed it out of there.
As soon as I rounded the corner, I saw a store manager calmly watching what was going on. Feeling incredulous, I got his attention and asked, “Aren’t you going to do anything? That man is going crazy destroying your inventory!”
The manager looked slightly amused. “No, it’s ok. He’s from the company that makes those toys. He’s punishing them for being defective. Some unsuspecting children played with them and got hurt.”
Now I was over being scared. I was just completely confused. “What do you mean? He’s punishing them for being defective? That’s crazy.”
The manager looked a little smug. “I see you don’t know very much about the toy industry. When a defective toy is manufactured, it’s very important to punish the toys severely. You have to make sure they never behave defectively again.”
“But…” I stammered. “Don’t you see that it’s not the toy’s fault they were made defectively? Why in the world wouldn’t the manufacturer just recall them, start over, and make toys that weren’t defective? The toys can hardly help it that they were made poorly. And what about the children who got hurt playing with them? They’re going to sue the manufacturer, right?”
The manager looked at me and very calmly said, “Of course not. You can’t sue the manufacturer when the toys are defective. It’s the fault of the toys, and as you can see, they’re destroyed now, so everything is fine.”
Well, I may not know everything there is to know about the toy industry, but I know enough about life to know that it’s a manufacturer’s responsibility to make products that work the way they’re supposed to, and I wouldn’t invest in any company that blamed its products for its own short-comings.