Tuesday, August 14, 2007

AUGUST 14, 2007

Toy-making giant Mattel Inc. issued recalls Tuesday for about 9 million Chinese-made toys that contain magnets that can be swallowed by children or could have lead paint.

The recalls includes 7.3 million play sets, including Polly Pocket dolls and Batman action figures, and 253,000 die cast cars that contain lead paint. The action was announced on the company's Web site and at a news conference here by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Toys recalled Tuesday include 253,000 Sarge brand cars, because the surface paint could contain lead levels in excess of federal standard. The 2 1/2-inch, 1-inch high car looks like a military jeep.

Also recalled were 345,000 Batman and "One Piece" action figures, 683,000 Barbie and Tanner play sets and 1 million Doggie Day Care play sets.

Two weeks ago, Mattel's Fisher-Price division announced the worldwide recall of 1.5 million Chinese-made preschool toys featuring characters such as Dora the Explorer, Big Bird and Elmo. About 967,000 of those toys were sold in the United States between May and August.

Before this month, Fisher-Price and parent company Mattel had never before recalled toys because of lead paint.

This story's for everyone who went on, like, the greatest vacation EVER to Clearwater, Florida, back in 1986. . . and you've been dragging your family back there every year since.

According to a survey by the U.S. Tour Operators Association, more than HALF of Americans say that they almost always go back to the same handful of places for their vacations every single year.

31% of people say they, quote, "typically" go to the same few vacation spots but, occasionally, they try something new. 22% say they NEVER go anywhere but their favorite spots.

1) DON'T USE ALL CAPS. When you write in all caps in an e-mail, it's like you're SHOUTING at the person. It's a little abrasive. . . not to mention difficult to read.

2) KEEP YOUR RESPONSES SHORT AND TO THE POINT. People don't want to read an entire novel in response to a simple yes or no question. Keep the messages as brief as possible.

3) ASK BEFORE SENDING HUGE ATTACHMENTS. This clogs up the person's e-mail system and can be a pain to try to open up. Always make sure they're ready for a massive attachment before you send it.

4) DON'T SEND STUPID FORWARDS. If you're sending something to people at work that has to be forwarded, that's fine. But we're all sick and tired of the same chain e-mails that people have been forwarding since 1995.

5) TAKE ANOTHER LOOK BEFORE YOU SEND A MESSAGE. Don't send anything if you're not sure you absolutely SHOULD. And make sure there aren't any embarrassing spelling mistakes.

6) INCLUDE ORIGINAL MESSAGES IN REPLIES. When people are dealing with a lot of e-mails, they're not always going to remember the ones they sent you. Set your email program to include their original message to you in the reply.