Barbie’s Poop: An Analysis of Mattel’s Second Toy Recall of 2007

Photo of the Barbie and Tanner Magnetic Toy play set.

Mattel recalled more Chinese-made toys yesterday — 18.2 million worldwide, 9.5 million in the US.

I can’t let the potential poisoning and endangering of millions of kids go by without talking about what really matters, dog poop.

One of the recalled products is the Barbie and Tanner Magnetic Toy. It consists of a Barbie doll and her pet dog Tanner, plus dog food, dog toys, pooper scooper and a trash can.

You guessed it, this is a defecation toy. Barbie potty trains the dog. You place brown log-shaped food in the dog’s mouth, then crank the poor animal’s tail and watch the food slide out the dog’s butt. It’s a good thing the food and  poop are identical in appearance. Barbie uses her pooper scooper to dispose of the food/poop in a trash can.

Think I’m kidding? Watch the TV commercial below. Try not to get attention deficit disorder watching this 15 second commercial that has 15 screen changes. Watch it a second time and notice how the screen changes get faster.

It seems that a small magnet inside Barbie’s pooper scooper can dislodge, potentially causing intestinal blockage if more than one magnet is swallowed. If the scooper has a magnet, I assume Barbie’s dog poops out metal doodoo.

A public relations representative recently invited me to participate in the launch of a web forum. The topic was empowerment of girls, but the fine print indicated that if I had serious criticism of Barbie, I shouldn’t participate. I had to decline. Suffice to say, my daughter will never own a Barbie, or a pooping dog toy.

Now, about our pesky issue with overseas manufacturers disregarding the safety of our children, here’s a choice quote from CNBC’s Erin Burnett from the August 10, 2007 edition of Hardball.

“I think people should be careful what they wish for on China. Ya know, if China were to revalue it’s currency 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 Wal-Mart 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 and they’re keeping the prices for mortgages low, too.”

Video link via Crooks and Liars.

In summary, poisoning kids and adults is good if it gives us low, low prices at Wal-Mart.

I say, if you run an American company and you cannot produce a safe product in this country, maybe it’s a good thing that your business fails. Make room for companies that will produce safe products that are made by people paid living wages. Exporting jobs to countries with lower wages and lower safety standards is bad. Period.

Yeah, I know, I sound crazy, but in a bygone era companies employed the citizens of their home country. With the invention of shipping containers, companies big and small decided, screw our neighbors, screw our community, we will go where there is cheap labor because shipping our product back to us from halfway around the world only costs us pennies. Umm, no. It costs a lot of people around the world a lot more than just pennies. [/rant off]

Other recalled toys:

Pie chart showing the distribution of Mattel's five major U.S. toy sets being recalled in August 2007.

Seen previously on Thingamababy:


10 Responses to “Barbie’s Poop: An Analysis of Mattel’s Second Toy Recall of 2007”

  1. Airwick says:

    As I see it …. the Polly Pocket and Barbie parts of this recall is less about the manufacture in China, but rather the design using magnets and not designing them to be secure. While the manufacture happened over there in China, I’m presuming that the design still happened here. As such, it is a lack of foresight from the (I’m presuming, American) design team that is the problem, rather then the decision to manufacture over there.

    August 15th, 2007 at 2:45 am

  2. Chief Family Officer says:

    I think Airwick has a legitimate point there, that this recall has a lot to do with design. But I’m totally with you about the insanity of making a pooping Barbie toy – ew!

    August 15th, 2007 at 5:45 am

  3. Rachel says:

    I have a three year old and newborn at home. We also have 4 dogs. I have to pick up their poop in the backyard so we can go out there to play. I cannot imagine giving my daughter a toy to emulate this annoying chore. What if she decided to “help out” for real in our own backyard? Eew gross.

    August 15th, 2007 at 7:17 am

  4. Stephanie says:

    A pooping dog for Barbie. Getting a little too real, are we? I agree with Rachel, I wouldn’t want the kids trying to take care of the real thing. I don’t have a dog so it’s not a serious problem for me, but I get the principle.

    It amazes me how many magnetic toys have been recalled for being unsafe. There’s a lot of work to be done in that area.

    August 15th, 2007 at 3:48 pm

  5. Ponch says:

    Does anyone really believe that Barbie would uses a pooper scooper? Seriously? Ken picks up after Tanner (or the yard guy, with lawn-mower-starting action! Batteries not included.)

    August 15th, 2007 at 6:24 pm

  6. Hobby Resources says:

    Stats for recalled goods in terms of cost for January 2007 shows that US is ahead by leaps and bounds. Is China merely a scapegoat?

    Stats are available at

    August 15th, 2007 at 6:51 pm

  7. AJ says:

    I’d be more comfortable with those statistics if a link was provided to the source of that information or his methodology was explained. His pie chart doesn’t even have expressed values. Plus, that’s a single month, which isn’t representative of anything.

    August 15th, 2007 at 7:00 pm

  8. Hobby Resources says:

    AJ > Your concern about the stats are valid. I have explained the methodology and the source at but you are right in saying that one month’s data is not conclusive. I’ll do the stats for the other months soon so do check back.

    August 16th, 2007 at 5:48 am

  9. Tara says:

    I completely agree with what you said…I’m becoming hyper-conscious of toys made in China. Luckily, my child is enamoured of books (runs in the family) and doesn’t play with her toys all that often. I’ve begun going through her toy box and getting rid of (throwing away, not donating so another less fortunate child could possibly suffer) all the toys she has from China. From now on it’s books and wood toys from the US or Europe. I know it’ll be more expensive but her collection will be better and more edited.

    August 19th, 2007 at 1:10 pm

  10. MerryJ says:

    A good pooper scooper like ScooperGenie makes it easier to pick up after your dog.

    September 15th, 2010 at 6:51 pm