Electronics product recalls are never something to be taken lightly, especially when the potential for exploding batteries are involved. And if children are somehow in the mix, the alarm meter rises by a factor of about 1,000.
That's precisely what Disney is facing with the recall of about 102,000 of its branded DVD players. Disney is not the manufacturer of the devices but, of course, that's not the issue; the concern, in addition to any litigation from possible injury, is the effect on the company's maniacally protected image of safety. Just last week, a German tourist was hospitalized and died of a stroke after riding a Disney space attraction in Florida.
The timing of the DVD recall is particularly bad as the Magic Kingdom looks to expand its empire to the realm of mobile phones and other digital gadgetry for children as the traditional toy market continues to suffer. Given the company's long list of rivals and detractors, we wouldn't be surprised to see competitors make the most of the latest setback. Already, at least one lawyers' blog has listed the action under its "possible cases" category.
Blog community response:
"This certainly isn't the first incidence of faulty batteries that we've seen, but usually manufacturers are thoughtful enough not to package them with products intended for children."
"Oh, it just makes my day when something goes wrong for Disney. I know it really has nothing to do with Disney aside from the hideous colors and Princess/Mickey/Fairy theme, and fire hazards really aren't funny, but still."
"Disney is not the company it was 25 years ago. Too bad. Folks dying on their rides, movies are only so-so, and they have their finger in too many pies."
--Aaron Stein, on Gizmodo