Monday, September 21, 2009

The yard-sale item that cost $100,000 ... to the seller!

Yard sales: That great American tradition where junk-unloaders and bargain-hunters come together in an orgy of wheeling and dealing. Everyone's a winner: The cash-seeking homeowner who's looking to reclaim room in the garage or the closets; the frugal shopper who doesn't mind using second-hand goods; and the landfills, which stay just a tad emptier thanks to this process of practical recycling.

But, wait a minute! The Consumer Product Safety Commission, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to burden your Average Joe yard salesman with the responsibility of ensuring that all the items in that jumble of goods are completely safe! This new rule, called the "Resale Roundup," sets limits on lead in children's products and makes it illegal to sell any items that don't meet those limits or have been recalled for any other reason. And that includes resales!

Quotes a recent story by Fox News: "'Those who resell recalled children's products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children's lives at risk,' said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. 'Resale stores should make safety their business and check for recalled products and hazards to children.'"

In order to comply, stores, flea markets, charities and individuals selling used goods — in person or online — are expected to consult the commission's 24-page Handbook for Resale Stores and Product Resellers and its Web site for a breakdown of what they can't sell. If they're caught selling a forbidden item, they could be whacked with a fine of $100,000 -- per infraction!

Gulp! So before you put a $5 price sticker on, say, that Hasbro Easy Bake Oven, or that Graco Jump 'n Jive Doorway Jumper or that Black & Decker Thermal Coffeemaker, you'd better think twice!

Instead, these items will be headed to a landfill near you. ... Yeah, that's a better alternative!


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