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Hazardous Furniture? What You Should Know About Recalls

Oct 21, 2007
With recent furniture recalls peppering the news, one must wonder why all of the sudden manufacturers are building furniture--and selling furniture--that could conceivably be hazardous to your health. For example, the voluntary recall announced last year by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission of a computer desk and chair set sold at Office Depot, Inc. During that recall, approximately 6,000 units sold by distributor New Focus Marketing Corp. were recalled because "the seat on the chair could break and fall through during use, causing the individual to fall and suffer injuries." New Focus received reports of two separate incidents in which the chair had broken. One customer suffered minor back injury while the other received bruises to the arm and shoulder. The product was sold nationwide by the popular Office Depot chain--a retailer of computer desks, office supplies, and electronic office equipment.

All involved made the right decision by announcing a recall, but why does this happen? Could it be because the product was made in China?

Possibly. Although products coming from manufacturers in China have improved overall in quality in the past ten years, there are still significant problems with many of the products imported from that country. Recent toy recalls which put the lives of American children in jeopardy as well as the outrage in Canada and the U.S. regarding tainted pet food that killed several pets, is enough for us to take a look at what we're getting into by buying products manufactured not only in China, but in other regions of the world as well.

Your safest bet? Buy American. At the expense of sounding like your grandfather, there's something to the attitude of buying your products from home. Standards of production and safety in the U.S. are of the highest in the world. In addition, the labor exploitation does not happen here, so your products are made by American employees who are protected under U.S. Labor Laws. This is not only good for America to support her own businesses, it also keeps her citizens employed, and provides a better product. Workers that are not forced to work exorbitant hours for menial wages produce better products. Higher quality raw materials produce better products. Factories which meet OSHA standards produce better products.

Some of the best American-based office furniture companies include 247 Workspace, Versatables, and Marvel. While Marvel provides an installation service, Versa wins on the basis of warranty--providing a no-hassle lifetime warranty clearly, and simply, laid out on their website. They accept back any product that is defective and will replace it for free, no questions asked, forever.

Why does a company like Versa make an offer like that? Wouldn't they lose money? Considering they're one of the fastest growing furniture companies in the country, apparently not. A company can only make an offer like that when they know they're selling products that aren't defective. Are you getting those kinds of promises from the products made in Guangzhou? Me either.

Let's face it. Time is money. Recalls cost everyone--the manufacturer, the retailer, and the consumer. Buy American the first time, and you probably won't have to buy again.
About the Author
Many of us don't have the proper computer furniture and our backs and hands are feeling it. This is important when educational institutes are looking for school computer furniture as well.
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