Making good purchase decisions has a lot to do with previous brand experience and brand reputation. Fisher -Price has been around forever, and they have a good reputation for safety and quality. I remember using the Fisher Price garage, the airport, and the barn as well as the stacking doughnuts as a child. I think they still might be kicking around somewhere; these products were built to last. If I can find them, I will give them to my daughter when she’s old enough.
I perceive some things are worth paying extra for; Fisher-Price has always fitted into this category in my mind (just like Green Giant vegetables). Companies expend enormous efforts to cultivate these brand perceptions. The fact is, though, that short term efforts to raise profits (e.g. by outsourcing to the lowest international bidder and/or reducing quality to improve profits) is never the best option. The many years and many dollars that have been spent by Fisher-Price on building their brand reputation have lost some of their value. In this manner, the attempt to maximize short-term profits could reduce the companies ability to produce long-term profits; a never-ending dilemma in a profit driven world.
Recalls are a fact of life. Mistakes are made, and responsible companies take responsibility for their mistakes. The difference with this recall, at least in my mind, is that these are products which are designed for children. These products must be designed with safety as the number one priority. It seems that there are product recalls all the time in the baby products world. This is both disturbing and infuriating (yes, I AM a new father). The question then becomes, “What is a frugal and caring dad (or mom) supposed to do?”
Quite plainly, I don’t know. I wish I did. I wish that I could make a decision that I could be sure was in my daughter’s best interests. What will I do? I think I’ll write a letter to Fisher-Price letting them know how I feel (maybe, I’ll send them this post, in fact). I know they’re in ‘code red’ damage control mode right now, but I also think that they know that they have a reputation for quality and that 90% of the people talking about the recall today will not be talking about it tomorrow. Nevertheless, we have a right, indeed an obligation to demand quality products for our children and for ourselves. Our basic health and safety depend on it.
What are your thoughts? Will this impact your decision to buy Fisher-Price products in the future? Will you write an e-mail or a letter demanding ‘quality first’? Should we even care about this? or just accept it as a cost of doing business? I invite your comments.
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