"Good morning. I'm calling from the Consumer Product Safety Commission."
It isn't hard to imagine how the call would go.
"Hello, Mr. XYZ Promotional Products Supplier? I'd like to speak to the owner or president of your company. I'm calling from the Consumer Products Safety Commission."
"Yes, I'm the owner of XYZ. How can I help you?"
"Good morning sir. Well, sir, we received a complaint from one of the consumer advocacy groups we work with that you manufactured a children's backpack that doesn't comply with the law. We sent a few samples to our lab here in Bethesda and they were right. The handle of this bag tested at 1,700 ppm and the fabric was over 500."
"Children's backpack? We don't sell children's backpacks."
"Hmm. Well the label inside says XYZ. Is that you?"
"Yes, but we don't sell children's products! We sell business to business."
"Well, it doesn't really matter who you sold it to. The one I'm looking at has a scene on the front of three little bears heading to a red schoolhouse. The developmental psychologists over in our Department of Human Factors tell us this bag age grades from 6-9 years old. That makes it a children's product."
"Bears, red schoolhouse? We don't sell any children's products."
"Well, do you know how these bears got on this bag?"
"I don't know about any bears. We just print whatever art the customer sends us. We only have a few hours to get these bags through the factory and into the UPS truck. We're focused on getting the registration correct, getting a crisp imprint, matching the customers colors and meeting the in-hands date. We don't pay attention to what the image is or what the slogan means. Most of our workers don't even speak English."
"Well, you might want to rethink that process, Mr. XYZ. As far as our agency is concerned you manufactured a children's product that doesn't comply with the law. We're referring this matter over to our recall folks. You'll want to have a discussion with them as soon as possible."