The Death of the Buckyball (Updated: Buckyballs Fights Back!)
I've been wanting a set of Think Geek's Buckyballs -- little round powerful magnets arranged in a cube that you can stick on your desk and play with. Yes they're useless but they're neat.
Well, thanks to the Consumer Products Safety Commission I may not be able to get them anymore. Fox News is reporting the CPSC has issued a ban on the importation of them and ordered the company which produces them, Maxfield and Oberton Holdings of New York, to stop sales and pay refunds to anyone who wants them.
The apparent problem with these little things is if kids swallow a couple of them, they can end up with a perforated bowel and need surgery.
What's great about this story is that CPSC has finally admitted something the rest of us have known all along -- those annoying warning labels really don't do a thing:
"Notwithstanding the labeling, warnings and efforts taken by (Maxfield and Oberton), ingestion incidents continued to rise because warnings are ineffective," the CPSC said. It said the magnets presented a "substantial product hazard."
Really? We could have told them that. Warnings generally are ineffective and parents obviously shouldn't let small children around anything non-food related they can put in their mouths — because they will.
What is also amusing is the company isn't having any, they're going straight after the administration:
Maxfield and Oberton founder and Chief Executive Craig Zucker said his company marketed the magnets to adults and teenagers and the CPSC held the "absurd position" that warnings did not work.
"We will vigorously fight this action taken by President Obama's handpicked agency," he said in an emailed statement.
He added: "How can this happen in America?"
Look, warning labels don't work. They've never worked. And no product can be completely safe. But telling me I can't have a set of Buckyballs on my desk at work, because some kid might eat a couple and die is as stupid as putting a label on a hair dryer telling me not to dry my hair in the shower. I have two granddaughters and they're both toddlers. We keep an eye on them. We make sure attractive dangerous things aren't at eye level. It's called common sense.
Stupid is as stupid does and that's never going to change — no matter how many labels you slap on, idiots.
Update: Buckyballs is fighting back.
I confirmed that the site is still taking orders, by ordering a set of Buckycubes. Stupid federal government can buzz off.