Wednesday, February 11, 2009

misinterpretations


Yesterday, I was over at the local thrift store, looking for outfits to make (if such a thing were possible) the baby look even more adorable when I noticed some employees busily removing armfuls of clothing from the racks and tossing them into baskets. Large armfuls. Enormous baskets. In fact, as I watched, the children's clothing section was completely emptied out and, when I politely asked what was going on, a very nice woman told me that a new federal law made it illegal to sell used kids clothes.

When I went home, of course, I immediately looked it up on the internets and, though I have absolutely no expertise in the area, it looks like an overzealous interpretation of a recently enacted law.

Undeterred, I stopped by the book section (apparently it's still legal to sell used kids' books) and grabbed a bunch of stuff to help fill the (almost-finished) nursery shelves. And then I came across the book pictured above -- which, if you're so inclined, you can buy here.

It was about a little girl who finds a picture in her house of a baby and asks her mother where the baby went. Her mother gives her a long, drawn-out series of clues, eventually revealing that (surprise!) the baby has grown up and turned into the little girl herself.

But, just for a second, I thought -- well, you know what I thought.

36 comments:

Ahuva Batya said...

For some reason, I find that book cover creepy. Probably for much the same reason.

Coming2Terms said...

My first reaction was the same as yours -- I couldn't quite imagine anyone in decades past being so open about said subject ... and then I found myself disappointed when the real plot was revealed.

p.s. Cole is just gorgeous...

DrSavta said...

Yes, I thought so too.

Birdies Mama said...

Yes, me too my dear, me too. I have been trying to find "that" book, you know the one that we all thought was this one.

Dani819 said...

Likewise. And I was so hoping to be right about it. Perhaps one of us should write it?

Amelie said...

oh, that book...

And a shame about the thrift baby clothes.

Monica H said...

Ooh, I thought that too.

As far as I've heard, they can't sell any baby related stuff--toys, clothing, strollers etc.

What a bummer.

Cara said...

Cried at the book cover.

And that law? I KNOW! I was just in a classy second hand store and got TONS of stuff because as the owner said, "I'm selling until they start fineing. I just home I'm not the first one to get fined."

I mean - WTF? I have stuff my youngest wore ONCE! I guess we'll have to find another way.

painted maypole said...

perhaps because it was your blog... I thought the same thing, too

just today I bought a used child's coat. I thought the law was just about toys, in order to keep recalled toys from being sold. but yikes. if i can't buy used clothes than I am truly in trouble.

Shinny said...

I read that that law, maybe only in Wisconsin though, does NOT apply to thrift stores. They amended it because of the outrage from thrift store owners who would be put out of business.

Yeah, same thought crossed my mind when I saw that book.

loribeth said...

OK, the book was the first thing I saw, & the title sure gave me pause. I knew it couldn't be what I was thinking, but...!!

LawMommy said...

I really think that law is being misinterpretted right and left. (But, it's not my area of expertise.) Sunday evening, the bridal store where I had purchased a flower girl dress for Lana called to tell me if I didn't come pick up the dress by Monday at 9:00 they were going to have the destroy it. DESTROY IT.

I said, "this is the first I've even been told that it's ready? And I already paid you $110!" And the lady from the store said it was a new law, that they couldn't sell the dress. And I said, "well, would you put it in the mail, since I ALREADY GAVE YOU $110???" And they did, and the dress arrived yesterday. The whole thing was odd. And I was ticked that they were going to destroy something I had already paid for.

Tash said...

I TOTALLY thought, "Holy Shit, Golden books did deadbabies? For Realz? Can't wait to read the last page of this one!!"

Meh.

And wowie, overzealous overreaching litigation much? I kinda understand the lead toy thing, I'm in a quandry about some plastic Dora stuff myself that never got played with, didn't get recalled, but you know, doesn't sit right with me knowing it's from the same company. Probably headed for the trash. Thankfully I'm involved in big upstream/downstream of clothing exchange and I guess we all convince each other that the clothes aren't poison.

Rachel said...

According to my senator, thrift shops are exempt from the new law. The law is supposed to only apply to newly produced items. I have a letter from him if you would like to see it. It is a shame the thrift shop is throwing everything out.

K @ ourboxofrain said...

Like everyone else, I had the same reaction to the book. Weird.

As for the law, second-hand resellers are exempt: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09086.html. That said, many Etsy shops and other smaller shops are going under since they can't afford the testing required to be compliant. As with much else Congress does, the law was a noble attempt to reduce a risk that was written far too broadly. I would think a requirement for larger manufacturers to test and a disclaimer/statement of risk from smaller ones would suffice, but it is what it is.

Betty M said...

More on the law - there has been a repreive for a year for the Etsy crafters http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09115.html

Clarabella said...

I will echo what everyone is saying about thrift shops being exempt from the CPSIA law, but that law has also apparently been postponed a year to try and figure out how NOT to close down every small business that can't afford the tests.
People are freaking out a little overzealously, methinks.
Also, I totally had that book when I was little, and I remember being very fond of it. However, I got creeped out seeing it today and thinking about from where I know you're coming from, Niobe.

Carly said...

I thought what you thought :)

Bon said...

the book cover is creepy, even if it's all about fluffy bunnies and the happiest babies in the world.

and i'm glad the Etsy crafters got a reprieve and the thrift shops were excluded but still, for a law intended to do good i think it may end up with more people buying new made in China crap than less.

Anonymous said...

This could be that book:

http://www.amazon.com/Someone-Came-Before-You-Schwiebert/dp/0972424156/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234406741&sr=8-1

Amy said...

I thought the same thing you did. It would be interesting to show that plot line to 100 random women and see what their interpretations are. Would we be in the minority or the majority?

Aurelia said...

Yeah, I know, I thought the same thing too. I have some books like this, and really they are just so damn hard to look at.

As for that law? It would be hilarious if it weren't so bizarre and wasteful. I hope everyone figures out what they are supposed to be doing!

Anonymous said...

We got a book in a "very special section" of the bookstore to read to my little daughter after her sisters died called "Stacey had a little sister...." about a little girl whose baby sister died of SIDS. I think it was next to "Heather had two mommies"

After a year or so, my daughter stopped asking for me to read it to her, and I was able to throw it away. I still cringe when I think of it.

niobe said...

Rachel, Clarabella, Betty M: I completely agree with you that the law is going to have to be (further) clarified. A lot of people are having trouble paying the mortgage and are terrified about losing their jobs. And they're going to be forced to buy only new clothes for their kids?

I actually called my representative yesterday (something I never do) and was told that I was just one of a long line of (mostly) women complaining about the law. Some, apparently, in a lot less polite terms than I did.

Amy: I was wondering exactly the same thing.

And now I'm having second thoughts. Because, well, I always have second thoughts. And I'm going to stop by the thrift store to see if I can snag me a copy of the book....

beagle said...

I jumped to the same conclusion about that title. THAT book ought to exist though.

I heard the same hoopla about used children's things too but my local stores have found a way interpret the law to their favor it seems. I love the second hand stores. Baby clothes are worn for such a short time they are often like new.

ewe are here said...

I just looked at the new law. The thrift store staff can't read apparently, as it clearly exempts them from certifying that USED children's items have low levels of lead in them.

Azaera said...

I actually had that book as a child. and I can't believe that ridiculous law.

sara said...

ewe, It exempts them from certification, but not from fines. I think the fine is $100,000 per item if anything they sell is found to contain lead.

niobe said...

What Sara said. I think the stores are, despite the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)'s clarification, playing it ultra-safe, hoping the bad publicity will force a legislative fix. Just my guess though.

On another note, on re-examination the book was in too bad shape for me to justify buying it (even for 50 cents), but I'm making it my mission to find a copy....

Leah said...

That was my one of my absolute favorite books as a child.

Anonymous said...

CPSIA has been delayed by one year, it will not go into effect until 02/10/2010. The thrift stores should be aware of this!? I hope within the next year our blessed *(^%$#^ government gets a clue and rewrites this law.

niobe said...

Anonymous: Well, that's (somewhat) good to hear. But as our thrift store being aware of it? They're perfectly nice people, but I'm guessing they couldn't locate the answer to this one with both hands and a flashlight.

Antigone said...

want grim? i stopped taking photos of mine for a few days because his eyes were shut in all of them and i didn't want any more photos that looked like *that*.

jcaroline said...

Just found your blog tonight and have enjoyed reading your posts- I love your writing style. I lost identical twin girls at 22 weeks in June of 2005-- now have a 2-1/2 year old girl by adoption. The book title freaked me out! Yes, I thought what you thought and was afraid of what that age of a book would have to say!

I really relate to your January 21 post about your feelings changing about your grief. Mine still change on a regular basis- if we hadn't lost the twins, we wouldn't have this incredible girl that we have today. But, oddly enough, in the dark of the night, I sometimes STILL am bitter/pissed/sad that we lost the twins. But maybe that is part of what makes raising this child so magical and fulfilling?

Boy, I wish I had known about blogs like yours 4 years ago-- so helpful and cathartic. As you know, that is a lonely place.

Beautiful boy- enjoy!

Apologies for the world's longest comment!

Roxanne said...

OMG. I found that so funny in a black way.

But you know, I think I might have actually read that book. It looks so familiar.

Melissa said...

I used to have that book. But I"d forgotten about it, until you described it, and at first glance, I thought the same thing.