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It's Tanner! The Coprophagic pup!
August 14, 2007 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Barbie Recalled. Mattel recalled one of their Barbie products today, a sweet little toy to teach kids responsibility called Barbie and Tanner. But watching that commercial closely one must wonder, if those magnets are coming out of Tanner so easily, surely they won't stay in your kid. Perhaps the design flaw had nothing to do with magnets but rather such an ill-conceived product. So, after Tanner poops out the magnet, you do what with it?
posted by Toekneesan (75 comments total)

 
It's not so much the staying in the kid problem it's if they swallow more than one. From the release:

If more than one magnet is swallowed, the magnets can attract each other and cause intestinal perforation or blockage, which can be fatal.

Now... odds on this happening? Probably not high.
posted by Zinger at 5:29 PM on August 14, 2007


Odds that children that play with this toy in the "wrong way", eat the "poop", and turn into scat porno actors when they grow up? Pretty good.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:32 PM on August 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


Part of this whole fiasco, maybe?
posted by davelog at 5:34 PM on August 14, 2007


Back in my day toys had pieces that broke off and choked us to death, or they had sharp rusty metal edges that sliced off our fingers and gave us tetnus, AND WE WUZ THANKFUL!
posted by ZachsMind at 5:34 PM on August 14, 2007 [8 favorites]


So, this dog... it shits?
posted by quin at 5:44 PM on August 14, 2007


Now... odds on this happening? Probably not high.

"Last year, the CPSC issued a similar recall for 3.8 million "Magnetix" sets, a toy produced by Rose Art Industries Inc. of Livingston, New Jersey. The CPSC documented 34 incidents involving the magnets, including one death and four serious injuries. A 20-month-old boy died after he swallowed pieces that twisted his small intestine and created a blockage."
posted by smackfu at 5:45 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


The firm has received three reports of magnets coming loose. No injuries have been reported.

That's impressive. Just three reports of bad magnets and they recall the whole bunch.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:45 PM on August 14, 2007


A friend of mine has a dog very much like tanner, but it poops jelly beans. A much better solution in every way.
posted by davejay at 5:46 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Part of this whole fiasco, maybe?

But according to the brain trust at CNBC, we're not seeing the big picture here:

"..or China is to start making, say, toys that don't have lead in them or food that isn't poisonous, their costs of production are going to go up and that means prices at Walmart here in the United States are going to go up too. So I would say China is our greatest friend right now. They're keeping prices low. "
(via The Consumerist)

So when you boycott potentially deadly dog-shit or Poison-me-Elmo, you're boycotting with Communism.
posted by bibliowench at 5:57 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


The China-smear machine is revving up. This toy recall story will be oft repeated across the MediaNet. Average Joe must be aware that the Chinese are our enemy. Prepare for war. Or maybe I'm just looking too deep into a simple story.
posted by Curry at 6:03 PM on August 14, 2007




KAC: The cynic in me would assume you are suggesting that it is impressive that there is a guy in an office somewhere who is so good at math that he can figure the cost of a recall versus the cost of potential litigation based on only three detached magnets, and I totally agree.

These days, I imagine big corporations have itchy trigger fingers at the moment. Three magnets now, God knows what come the middle of Q4.
posted by absalom at 6:08 PM on August 14, 2007


What the hell? Come on people, SERIOUSLY, this is being marketed to teach a child responsibility? It's just more crap in a landfill. I'm really starting to hate the masses. Give the kid the money and open a bank account. That might actually be effective.
posted by figment of my conation at 6:15 PM on August 14, 2007


It's just more crap in a landfill.

Not entirely. Tanner at least learns an important lesson about recycling.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:23 PM on August 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Apparently Mattel is pretty stringent about safety. NPR had some expert on who said they (Mattel) are well known to be good at this stuff.
posted by DU at 6:24 PM on August 14, 2007


That's not Barbie's dog, it's Betsy Wetsy's.
posted by jfuller at 6:27 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


The China-smear machine is revving up.

They were actually painted with lead paint, you know.
posted by smackfu at 6:30 PM on August 14, 2007


mealy-mouthed, your link doesn't lead to the Google cache, it just leads to a 404 Amazon page.
posted by JHarris at 6:34 PM on August 14, 2007


We're supposed to hate China now? What about all that kickbutt anime? What about Pokemon? What about Jackie Chan? Or is that Japan? I can never remember.

Aren't we supposed to hate Iranians? How'd China get in the picture again? Nixon like, played nice nice and then Bush vomited on them. I thought we were all cozy solid with the chinese by now, if we're in a comfort zone enough to vomit on them.

Will it be Czechoslovokians next? I can't keep score. Can I just go hide in a bomb shelter until the rest of humanity kills itself, or is that option off the table?
posted by ZachsMind at 6:34 PM on August 14, 2007


Didn't that expert on NPR actually comment on how good Mattel was in handling their image during a crisis?

And this isn't a story about China at all. The problem with this product is the design, not the materials or manufacturing. It just happened to be manufactured in China.

And seriously, what were they thinking? Those last four links with the kids playing with the toy, those are the weirdest part of this whole story. The kid's face at the end of the second video when she realizes that the garbage can is also Tanner's box of treats, priceless.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:40 PM on August 14, 2007


I used to play with magnets all the freaking time when I was a kid. I'm all for safety in design standards, but christ, if you're a kid who's swallowing magnets large enough to actually pull your intestines together, you're going to be swallowing a lot of random dangerous things already. Random magnets are fun. Don't take them away from all children just because a few children have a propensity for swallowing.
posted by tehloki at 6:43 PM on August 14, 2007


The NPR expert started off by saying it was "crisis management 101", so good point on the image management. OTOH, he went on to say that they might end up being punished for being the most stringent of the toy manufacturers and drawing attention to themselves.
posted by DU at 6:53 PM on August 14, 2007


I used to play with magnets all the freaking time when I was a kid. I'm all for safety in design standards, but christ, if you're a kid who's swallowing magnets large enough to actually pull your intestines together...

Time to enter the 21st century, grandpa. Magnets this strong are smaller than a pea. You could probably make someone swallow one without them even noticing.
posted by DU at 6:54 PM on August 14, 2007


I want a box I can crap in and pull food out the other side.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:56 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who laughed at the four videos? Especially the last two?
posted by daninnj at 7:21 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else read "Barbie and Tanner" and assume that this involved giving Barbie some sort of spray-tan? And it totally made sense, because that sounds like it would be a pretty unsafe toy too...
posted by naoko at 7:31 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pooping Magnet would be a great name for a band.

I don't understand how ANY lead in paint being used on toys is acceptable.

What kind of collector value will these recalled toys have in a few years?
posted by fenriq at 7:36 PM on August 14, 2007


I'm just amazed glad it took us this long to use the "coprophagia" tag.
posted by yhbc at 7:37 PM on August 14, 2007


(Google cache)

Tanner, Barbie's dog, eats and ejects waste from her body! (Yes, really.) But Barbie can pick it up with her special magnetic scooper, and Tanner will eat it again-- just like your real dog!

And indeed, my completely scientific experiments show that 2 out of 3 dogs really quite like eating shit.
posted by Freaky at 8:18 PM on August 14, 2007


Not (Google cache). Try again?

I used to play with magnets all the freaking time when I was a kid.

Doubtful you were playing with rare-earth magnets; those only became really cheap in recent years. An quarter-inch diameter, eighth-inch long, modern disc magnet pulls over two-and-a-half pounds. That's a serious pinch hazard.

But I think the hazard in the recall notice is just boilerplate. The Magnastix, now they were a real danger to babies, toddlers, and idiots. The magnets they used are guaranteed to be a health hazard if swallod.

I don't think Barbi's food-shit-food is likely to be using high-quality magnets: they's still relatively expensive, aren't well-suited to the application (too strong; the turd will literally leap at the stick, and may be difficult to remove), and are a well-known health hazard, lesson courtesy of MagnaStix.

MagnaStix? MagneStix? Something like that. ™ and all that jazz, too.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:21 PM on August 14, 2007


EAT SHIT AND DIE.
posted by IronLizard at 8:43 PM on August 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


Pity about the Mattel Arnold Schwarzenegger doll - it's a total recall.
posted by strawberryviagra at 8:47 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


EAT, SHIT, AND DIE. Also known as 'Life'.
posted by quin at 8:50 PM on August 14, 2007


EAT SHIT AND DIE.

See, this brings the thread back to dodgy Chinese manufacturers again. Because judging by what some of them are putting in our food and toys and toothpaste, I think they may actually have this in mind.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:50 PM on August 14, 2007


So, you're saying it's a new and dangerous form of bio-warfare? Didn't they used to do things like this in the middle ages, but with plague ridden corpses and feces?
posted by IronLizard at 8:55 PM on August 14, 2007


When I was a kid I had this great big plastic cow. And you could shove its face into a cup of water and pump it's tail and it would suck it up. And then once it was full you could pull on it's little rubber teats and it would eject "milk".

That thing was disturbing. I played with it constantly.
posted by LeeJay at 9:05 PM on August 14, 2007


pump it's; pull on it's little

Well, shit. At least I got one of them right.
posted by LeeJay at 9:07 PM on August 14, 2007


About the Chinese Scare:

There were what, roughly a gajillion products built in China and sold in North America last year? And how many of them caused problems — three?

Riddle me this: which is more likely to make you sick or kill you — the package of chicken in the grocery meat coolers, or the package of toothpaste from the discount store?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:07 PM on August 14, 2007


My daughter has this toy. The poop was lost about a day, and it wasn't all that much fun in the first place. Tanner's ear also broke off, and his tail. That's why I don't usually buy her stuff like that, it's low quality and it breaks. The whole kids world these days is about acquiring tons of plastic crap, which is as much the problem as anything else. A few high quality wooden/cloth toys are so much more fun then 1000 brightly colored, poor quality plastic crap.
posted by cell divide at 9:12 PM on August 14, 2007


I used to have a dog that ate shit, but it was the cat's shit. He would keep going back to the litter box like it was some sort of buffet.
posted by Sailormom at 9:19 PM on August 14, 2007


My parents dog once ate a bunch of dirt, shit that out, ate that then threw it up all over the kitchen.
posted by puke & cry at 9:27 PM on August 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


naoko writes "Did anyone else read 'Barbie and Tanner' and assume that this involved giving Barbie some sort of spray-tan?"

I thought it meant some sort of tanning bed. Seriously.

So, one of the toy's features is dog poop? Wow. That's stranger than my imagination.

cell divide writes "The poop was lost about a day, and it wasn't all that much fun in the first place."

But it was sorta fun?

Yeah, I can see that.

You know, I bet if I saw this as a kid, like some girl playing with a Barbie set with plastic dog poop, it would completely crack me up.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:38 PM on August 14, 2007


puke & cry writes "My parents dog once ate a bunch of dirt, shit that out, ate that then threw it up all over the kitchen."

That's the sort of thing we need to see more of in children's toys.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:40 PM on August 14, 2007


bird9361 really makes Tanner come alive.
posted by stavrogin at 9:54 PM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, this doesn't surprise me at all.

I worked at Mattel for 3 years. One year there were two major recalls. One was kind of silly... there was a Cabbage Patch doll that would eat french fries and it supposedly ate a girl's hair. Thing is, you would've really had to force feed your hair to it. But still, it got recalled.

But oh, the other recall I remember was PRICELESS. See, they decided that Barbie needs to have all sorts of eclectic friends. So they created Share a Smile Becky, the paraplegic school photographer! Whee!

Thing is... the Mattel headquarters in El Segundo are made up of a lot of big, spread out buildings filled with a lot of departments and a lot of people who don't communicate with eachother. Soooooo... the doll designers didn't ever communicate with the product designers who worked on other Barbie accessories. And in turn, they made her wheelchair so big that she didn't fit into the elevator of Barbie's Dream House. Poor Becky's legs would get crushed & she'd get stuck in there.

Yep... they forgot to make the Dream House wheelchair accessible. And naturally, it was cheaper to recall Becky than all of the Dream Houses. So Barbie doesn't really have paralyzed friends anymore.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:54 PM on August 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


My parents dog once ate a bunch of dirt, shit that out, ate that then threw it up all over the kitchen.
posted by puke & cry at 11:27 PM


Damn, and all you had to say was that he started sobbing afterwards.
posted by IronLizard at 11:06 PM on August 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Totally edifying.
posted by Cranberry at 12:06 AM on August 15, 2007


Soooooo... the doll designers didn't ever communicate with the product designers who worked on other Barbie accessories. And in turn, they made her wheelchair so big that she didn't fit into the elevator of Barbie's Dream House.

That's not a communication failure - that's just being true to life.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 1:01 AM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


LeeJay: When I was a kid I had this great big plastic cow...

Was it Milky The Marvelous Milking Cow? I love that thing!
posted by spacelux at 2:13 AM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


For those of you who are skeptical about the dangers posed by magnets being swallowed, you might want to look at some of these articles. Not all 371 refer to that specific hazard, but it is well-known within the pediatric surgical literature. We had a case at the hospital I work at within the last 2 years or so; the child had managed to pry two magnets out of some toy and eat them totally unknown to the parents and by the time his abdominal pain was diagnosed he was pretty sick and needed surgery for a couple of small bowel perforations. He did OK, but it is easy to see why bite-sized magnets and toddlers don't mix. On the other hand, magnets are just fine for cows.
posted by TedW at 5:18 AM on August 15, 2007


Plastic dog shit? Whatever. When I was a kid, my brothers and I played with elk shit. Real elk shit, not that fake plastic stuff. We used to amuse ourselves with piles of it we found in the woods. Especially when we found it in the snow. Little brown ovals.

I'm not exactly sure my parents knew what we were doing out there in the woods. All I remember is that Mom was good about making us wash our hands when we came inside. Now we just laugh about it.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:45 AM on August 15, 2007


Now... odds on this happening? Probably not high.

"Last year, the CPSC issued a similar recall for 3.8 million "Magnetix" sets, a toy produced by Rose Art Industries Inc. of Livingston, New Jersey. The CPSC documented 34 incidents involving the magnets, including one death and four serious injuries. A 20-month-old boy died after he swallowed pieces that twisted his small intestine and created a blockage."


What I meant was this not being as likely with the Barbie toy... and that Mattel was being very cautious. But that's a good thing in a toy manufacturer.
posted by Zinger at 5:56 AM on August 15, 2007


Magnetix have been around for years--they're just not for small children, and I believe they indicated as much on the packaging. Are we going to recall chainsaws?

The China-smear machine is revving up. This toy recall story will be oft repeated across the MediaNet. Average Joe must be aware that the Chinese are our enemy. Prepare for war. Or maybe I'm just looking too deep into a simple story.
posted by Curry at 6:03 PM on August 14 [+] [!]


There was a wave of news stories about Chinese imports not too long ago, and they flooded the mediascape in a way that seemed oddly orchestrated.

From the interweb:

Front Page Magazine

In 1999, Senior Colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) stirred up an international controversy with their book Unrestricted Warfare. Published by the PLA Literature and Arts Publishing House, it carried the mantle of official doctrine. It argued that in the new world of high-technology and globalization, war will not fade away as liberal Western economists predict. Instead, “war will be reborn in another form and in another arena, becoming an instrument of enormous power in the hands of all those who harbor intentions of controlling other countries or regions. In this sense, there is reason for us to maintain that the financial attack by George Soros on East Asia, the terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy by Usama Bin Laden....in which the degree of destruction is by no means second to that of a war, represent semi-warfare, quasi-warfare, and sub-warfare, that is, the embryonic form of another kind of warfare.” The inclusion of financial attacks with terrorism as part of a conflict in which “there are no rules, with nothing forbidden” has worried American bankers and Treasury officials ever since.

The Chinese officers asked, “Can using financial instruments to destroy a country's economy be seen as a battle?”

Finding an answer to that question took on renewed importance after London’s Daily Telegraph reported that Beijing had sent an “economic threat” to the United States. Economists Xia Bin and He Fan, of the State Council Development Research Center and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, were quoted as saying China could "liquidate its vast holding of U.S. treasuries if Washington imposes trade sanctions to force a yuan revaluation.” If Beijing triggered a dollar crash now, when the U.S. dollar is already weakening, it could cause a spike in U.S. bond yields, ruin the country's housing market and even slow down its economy. Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies, as in the case of Unrestricted War.


I don't doubt that we have unsafe toys and other products coming from China, but this revelation seems to occur at strategically important times. Although Reynolds Aluminum is not my milliner, it wouldn't surprise me to discover that some of our journalists may be moonlighting. (link to article on the CIA and US media)
posted by craniac at 6:18 AM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the correct link, Freaky. Apparently the Flexeril last night was affecting me more than I thought.
posted by mealy-mouthed at 8:32 AM on August 15, 2007


When I was a kid, we played with toys like Johnny Switchblade, Street Punk Action Figure and Bag O'Broken Glass and we grew up just fine....
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:59 AM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I used to have a dog that ate shit, but it was the cat's shit. He would keep going back to the litter box like it was some sort of buffet.

Mmm... cat candy.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:01 AM on August 15, 2007


Now, it's a simple equation. The happiness of your child receiving these dolls plus the tragedy the dolls provoke equals education.

HAPPINESS + TRAGEDY=EDUCATION*

*The "relevant" bit starts at around 7 mins...
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 10:13 AM on August 15, 2007


My 5 year old daughter loved this toy. Of course she is obsessed with dogs, and, I admit, with poop. But the magnets ARE strong. It's disappeared.
posted by jfwlucy at 12:56 PM on August 15, 2007


Riddle me this: which is more likely to make you sick or kill you — the package of chicken in the grocery meat coolers, or the package of toothpaste from the discount store?

This is a stupid comparison. Packaged chicken comes from livestock so we accept that a certain amount of it, a regulated amount, will contain contaminants. We do not have to accept anything like that in toothpaste. People died because some asshole wanted to save a few yuan so he put poison in toothpaste. Same thing with 60 million cans of pet food. Now we are learning that toy makers are using poisonous paint to save money. Is that not a reason to be angry and demand action?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 2:59 PM on August 15, 2007


This is like the ectoplasm squirt gun from last yearish...I look at the marketing video, and wonder where the people that approved it get their drugs from. W.T.F.
posted by nomisxid at 3:27 PM on August 15, 2007


Was it Milky The Marvelous Milking Cow? I love that thing!

Hah! It was! Thanks for the link, spacelux.
posted by LeeJay at 4:00 PM on August 15, 2007


Is that not a reason to be angry and demand action?

No, it's a great reason to stop buying bullshit, though. You don't have to buy American, just don't buy Chinese. It will take all of us acting in concert to win this style of economic warfare. Remember what we did to Russia with this same strategy.
posted by IronLizard at 4:02 PM on August 15, 2007


stop buying bullshit

Right, that's one option for "action". Not sure why you think deliberately poisoning people isn't grounds for anger, though.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 5:31 PM on August 15, 2007


Outrage fatigue has set in.
posted by IronLizard at 5:44 PM on August 15, 2007


Is that not a reason to be angry and demand action?

Oh, get off it. How many millions upon millions of tubes of Chinese toothpaste were shipped? How many were poisonous? How many actually killed someone? (Answer to the latter: None.)

There is a need for increased vigilance, that I'll grant. The documentation and security, especially regarding base products, needs to be tighter.

But to get hysterical about it? That's just foolish.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:16 PM on August 15, 2007


Right, if by "none" you mean mean "scores".
FDA Bans Toothpaste from China after 51 Deaths in Panama

I don't know if who's getting hysterical. Probably some of the survivors.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:52 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Probably some of the survivors.

Well, that's a damn sight better than the corpses getting excited night of the living dead style.
posted by IronLizard at 8:57 PM on August 15, 2007


What a poorly-written article. For starters, all the hype about how the labels aren't FDA-approved; well, duh, that's because the shit has been illegally imported: it was never intended to be FDA-approved.

Furthermore, the 51 deaths aren't due to the toothpaste: "At least 51 people died in Panama since October after taking medicine contaminated with diethylene glycol. The substance was found in cough syrup and other medications made in a Panama government laboratory from a falsely labeled shipment that workers thought was glycerin."

If a person were to stupidly eat a tube of toothpaste, chances are death would come from puking, not poisoning.All of which is beside the point.

Point is, there are better reasons to be scared of China than because one might get poisoned by third-rate toothpastes or swallow Barbie's poop.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:20 PM on August 15, 2007


That may be your point, but it's a silly one. Of course there are MORE worrisome things in this world, but that doesn't mean we should ignore other serious issues.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:34 PM on August 15, 2007


I suppose. Anyhoo, I'm not "angry and demand action," so I think I'll let this drop now.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:59 PM on August 15, 2007


I'm avaricious and demand auction!
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 7:42 AM on August 16, 2007


"Outrage fatigue has set in."

Set in? I've had Outrage Fatigue for most of this millenium so far. Hell, I think cats on acid is FUNNY for cryin' out loud! Desensityzed much?

"there are MORE worrisome things in this world, but that doesn't mean we should ignore other serious issues."

Come to think of it, I wanna see that cat on acid again. That was hilarious! Anyone got the link? It's in a different thread...
posted by ZachsMind at 7:28 PM on August 17, 2007


Cats on acid is astoundingly funny, regardless one's outrage level.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:42 PM on August 17, 2007


Barbie-poop may be recalled, but entrepreneurial Americans will sell the recalled toys on EBay.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:26 AM on August 21, 2007


Just thought I would try and breathe some life into this thread by pointing out that we are doing surgery on a child right now who swallowed a magnet and some other metal with resulting bowel obstruction. And this is a healthy child who is well beyond toddler age, so there really is no predicting what kids will do.
posted by TedW at 10:49 AM on August 24, 2007


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