A few years back, I bought a very cool puppet stage for my kids at a garage sale. It was a quality piece made by a company that sells those heavy durable wood play toys for school classrooms. The puppet stage cost me only five dollars and my kids had tons of fun with it putting on puppet shows with their friends. As the kids got older, they outgrew hosting puppet shows and the stage sat in the corner of our basement. Around this same time, I read something in the news about a product recall for puppet stages. I checked further and sure enough, my yard sale find was under recall. The company had established a 1-800 number for consumers to call. I got right on the horn and learned the stage was assembled in China was under recall due to some lead paint. (A frequent problem with toys made in China) The nice lady who was handling my call advised me to just throw the stage in the trash and they would send me a gift certificate for $100 dollars. The certificate was good for any purchase in their toy catalog! No questions asked, throw it in the trash and I was scoring a $100 dollar gift certificate? It was like I hit the puppet stage lottery!
Needless to say, I don't throw anything away unless it's food scraps from the dinner table. In fact, I dive into trash cans to retrieve other people's throw-aways! Was I going to trash a puppet stage because of a little lead paint? Please....I grew up in the Sixties. We played with lead painted toys all day and danced in the DDT fog sprayed by the mosquito man at night. I mean really....except for my hand tremors, uncontrollable facial ticks and brief moments of memory loss, I turned out just fine!
The gift certificate arrived shortly thereafter and I selected some toys from the company catalog that I knew would be no problem re-selling on Ebay. Namely a wood doll house furniture set....a sure fire eBay sale! I also ordered a bunch of pretend fruit used in play kitchens. The factory fresh box of wood furniture was shipped to my house with all the furniture neatly sealed and packed in a box. I didn't even break the cellophane wrapper! I used a picture and description I ripped off the company's web site and posted the set right away. Doll house collectors were drawn to my furniture set like moths to the flame. The final auction closing price was $52 dollars. I followed this with the sale of the pretend fruit for $25. So in all I made $77 dollars...all because of a product recall!
So be it a puppet stage, a circular saw or a baby bassinet, product recalls are not always a bad thing. Especially if you're an eBay seller!
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