Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Kiss eBay Goodbye...

So tell me, what do you like to collect? Me personally, I like manga. These Japanese comic books are made like real books (not the 15 page things we get here in America- most mangas have at least 175 pages.)

Mangas are also more expensive than the $3 or whatever it takes to buy an American comic book. Most mangas go for $10 a shot.

If you buy it brand new, that is. If you go eBay or the resale at, and you're shrewd, you might be able to get two gently used manga for what it would cost to buy one brand new.

Actually, if there's anything you shop for regularly on eBay, you should quit now. After Feb. 10th, we're through.

I was alarmed to learn this morning about a law passed about two years back, after the whole lead paint scare from China. Ye olde leftist media reports:

Mandatory federal standards will soon dictate how many children's products are made before they can be sold in stores. On Thursday, the president signed into law an expansive consumer product safety measure that includes, among many elements, tough new standards for lead and chemicals in products meant for kids younger than 12. It also calls for mandatory safety tests and sets forth more ways to keep kids safe in the event of a recall.

To parents who are sadly all too familiar with product safety, the law is a milestone.

I don't think the parents were told the whole story. The whole story is pretty bad. Hand Made Toy Alliance Explains:

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number. All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.

For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers and manufacturers of children's products, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business.

I found about this from a small store that has decided to close it's doors. The lady running the store can't afford to $4000 to have every toy in her store tested. Yes, you did read that correctly. It did say four thousand dollars.

If you're caught selling toys without certification, you recieve a two year prison sentence and have to pay a $100,000 fine.

Now, let's assume that it costs $4000 to have one of my mangas tested. Since the book is used, I decided that I will sell it on eBay for $5. But then I have to pay to have it tested, and then I'll have to ask you to pay me $4005 for the book, so I can make a profit and afford to sell it. You wouldn't buy it, and I wouldn't buy it either. This doesn't just apply to books, it also goes for all toys. So that right there will bring eBay to a halt. And even if I sold a T-rated manga, it still might come into contact with someone under the age of twelve, so I'll still have to have it tested.

Mangas are almost exculsively Japanese comics. I've heard of Korean ones, and American ones, but never ones from China. Every +Anima book I buy was printed in America. They bring the book over, they translate and edit it, then start printing and selling them in America.

People, this is madness. To test things from China makes sense. But what about things made in Europe, America, Japan, and Canada? It doesn't just apply to toys. Press Democrat says:

The new toy safety law is sweeping, requiring testing for dangerous lead levels and banned plastics in everything sold to children 12 and under. Going beyond toys and games, the law covers clothing, books, art supplies, backpacks and lunchboxes.

The version I heard was that anything someone younger than twelve could even come into contact with had to be tested, but you get the point.

“What we’re fearing is a lot of small companies will cut back on what they sell to the U.S. Some just may have to fold because they can’t meet the costs for the tests,” said Linda Kalb Hamm, owner of Early Work Toy Station in Petaluma. ..... “Obviously we all care about toy safety and this was an important law, but the government hasn’t thought it through.”

That's the understatement of the century. And isn't this a little delayed? The recalls took place in 2007, and the law didn't take effect until 2009.

Ann Arbor Business offers this:

At Ann Arbor Township-based product testing company NSF International, Bob Fryer pointed out all manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure their toys meet certain standards.

For Gold, the new law showcases the ultimate irony.

In order for his business - which boomed after safety fears over Chinese-produced toys led consumers to search for safer toys from companies like his - to afford the required safety testing, he found he will have to send his products to cheaper testing companies in China.

Oh, the irony.

February 10th, 2009. That's when this law takes effect. It won't just affect eBay. The Amazon resale, Goodwill, Hastings, small toy businesses, and any kind of thrift or resale shops are going to take a hit. The only thing that could stop it now would be a massive public outcry against it.

In the meantime, if you have anything you want to buy off or sell on eBay, I suggest you do it soon.

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