My Humpty Dumpty Nose Collection!

Stories from GG’s Toy Box
By Grahame Grassby
Story 1 — My Humpty Dumpty Nose Collection!

The Humpty Dumpty soft toy produced by ABC Enterprises in the 1980s, was a toy sewn from fabric and stuffed with a soft material that could be used as a comfort object by children of all ages. Stuffed toys like teddy bears, cuddly dolls and Humpty may seem harmless, but their eyes, nose, hair, buttons and jewellery can pose a choking risk for children if not attached properly. This is what happened when a child bit off a Humpty toy’s nose, and the nose was found in the child’s mouth by his mother. The concerned mother reported the matter to the Department of Fair Trading, who advised the ABC that a product recall of the Humpty Dumpty soft toy was necessary. The toy was deemed to be dangerous to children as they could suffer a serious injury when playing with Humpty if they choked on or swallowed his nose.

I was appointed the ABC’s Humpty Dumpty Soft Toy Recall Officer and the ABC set about advising the general public of the Humpty Dumpty toy recall by way of national ABC TV and ABC Radio announcements, national and local newspaper advertisements and in-store signage at ABC Shops and ABC Centres. The Humptys started to flood back to the ABC and my office began to fill up with, and then overflow with, returned Humptys. And then the phone calls started “Call for Humpty Recall Officer on Line 2 please’, “Humpty call Line 1”, with some stressed parents ringing up saying they didn’t want to return their child’s Humpty toy to the ABC as it was their child’s favourite toy and that their child would be very upset if Humpty was taken away from them.

Oh what to do? — I started out with “I’m strictly not allowed to say this to you but have you thought about making sure that Humpty’s nose is completely secure and not following the ABC’s recall notice and just keeping your Humpty” which gave a solution to some parents, but others didn’t want to take the risk of having the ABC pursue them to return their child’s Humpty, so I offered a second solution — “I’m also not allowed to say this to you but why don’t you cut off Humpty’s nose and send it to the ABC’s Humpty Dumpty Soft Toy Recall Officer advising him that you believe that this action is meeting the ABC’s recall requirement and keeping your child happy, all be it with a noseless Humpty?”

And this is how I came to have my collection of about twenty Humpty Dumpty soft toy noses and which led to Croner Toys being appointed as the first licensee to produce and sell ABC Play School soft toys, as I had decided that making stuffed toys was not something the ABC needed to be doing in the future.

— Grahame Grassby

This article originally appeared in Edition 2 of The Toy Universe Magazine




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