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Should a company be punished for stupid customers?

June 13, 2010

IKEA is recalling up to 1.7 million blinds in Canada.  The official recall is of “all IKEA roll-up blinds, all roman blinds, and roller blinds that were sold without a pre-fitted tension device. The tension device is used to secure the looped cord or bead chain on the blinds to the wall or window frame.”

I could understand this recall if the blinds were actually dangerous because of a flaw in manufacturing or design but that’s not the case for this recall.

If installed incorrectly, cords and looped bead chains could present a hazard to young children if placed around their neck,” the recall says.

In other words, these blinds are perfectly safe if you install them AS DIRECTED.  If you follow the instructions, no one will get hurt.  We’ve had IKEA roman blinds.  The instructions state that you need to attach a plastic piece to the wall next to the window frame and the cords are wrapped around the plastic piece.  You are also not supposed to put a child’s bed next to the window with the roman blinds.

What are they going to recall next?  Maybe bookshelves because they might tip over if you don’t attach them to the wall like the instructions direct with the anchor supplied by IKEA?

This reminds me of the children’s cold medicine which is now unavailable because too many parents didn’t follow the instructions.  Why do we have to suffer just because other people don’t do what they are supposed to do?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. crazybengal permalink*
    June 13, 2010 9:25 am

    You are giving people way too much credit, assuming their capacity read and follow instruction and stuff. Seriously. I mean…you do read People of Walmart. You have been to the Super Store. You have sat in the ER waiting room. These people are actually the norm. You just have a skewed perspective if what people should be able to do and tasks that they are able to perform. Have you seen the most recent South Carolina Democrat candidate for Senate? Do you know of the current congressman Hank Johnson who thinks that if you put too many men on Guam, it will tip over?

  2. Michele permalink*
    June 13, 2010 11:18 am

    Why should I be punished because other people can’t follow instructions?

    We don’t ban cars just because some people run red lights and drive the wrong way down one-way streets. I’m surprised that any toxic chemicals can be sold for home use given the current penchant for protecting people from themselves.

    I remember hearing a comedian once who said that we should stop putting warning labels on everything and just start “weeding out the stupid people.”

  3. crazybengal permalink*
    June 13, 2010 1:26 pm

    stupid people still manage to find lawyers…

  4. June 13, 2010 4:39 pm

    Yeah, and government empowers those lawyers with stupid laws for stupid people.

    Really, one of the worst results of capitulating to stupidity is a mass increase in stupidity. Just as you should teach some one to fish rather than give them a fish, you should probably also show them how to act responsibly rather than avoid a detrimental problem for them. One of the worst things we have going in our society generally is that people are very often kept from learning via mistakes.

    When I think back on my own life experiences, the most valued parts of my life in terms of learning how to proceed forward have been the result of terrible mistakes. I’m dealing currently with an incredible financial mistake that has forced me to take on a different path in life but I’m going forward with an incredible amount of knowledge that I certainly wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’m not about to blame others for my mistake or fumbles and definitely, I would rather have not made the mistakes I have but I can not possibly ignore the immense value of those mistakes either.

    The more we let people avoid making mistakes, the more we rob them of life experience that is a natural method of learning how to deal with whatever may come up in our future.

  5. Scott Down permalink
    June 14, 2010 10:27 am

    It’ll probably get worse before it gets better. Lawmakers that try to repeal the laws protecting stupid people are seen as anti-family or overly pro-business.

    This case is a little different, though. IKEA is recalling the blinds voluntarily – clearly a business decision. While I would be very frustrated with a law demanding a recall in this particular case, I can’t fault IKEA for recalling an item on their own.

  6. Michele permalink*
    June 14, 2010 12:39 pm

    You’re right. The recall is voluntary but I assume that’s it’s a preemptive move so that they get better PR than a mandatory recall.

    I just wonder where this will stop. Almost anything could be considered dangerous if used incorrectly.

  7. Scott Down permalink
    June 14, 2010 2:30 pm

    But it’s the same kind of stupid people who would be ‘endangered’ by the ‘faulty’ product who would be impressed that the company voluntarily recalled the product. IKEA stands to reassure these kinds of people that they’re on the ball.

    Incidentally, someone should mention that a toddler nearly dying is pretty terrible, even if it is because a parent incorrectly installed something.

    If I were the company, I would mail clearer directions (assuming there was a clarity problem) rather than recall the product.

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