Job Opening — Hamster Wrangler

I told myself no more health insurance commentary – but bureaucracies in action are such easy targets.  So, as a change of pace, let’s talk about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The law was passed for a good reason – keeping lead out of toys.  Yet, because of the way it was written, it affects the publishing and printing industry since certain products (books, menus, etc.) are specifically designed to be used by children. 

Beginning on February 10, 2010 if a printed product does not meet certain exemption criteria , it will have to be tested.  Another complexity is that testing must be done by an accredited third-party laboratory – and the government at this time has yet to issue accreditation guidelines for testing certain contents found in books.  Oh, did I mention that some of the third party labs are so overwhelmed with similar testing that it could take months to receive a certification?  Now that I’ve set the table, let me share a solution that Chip Snyder, a 3rd generation printer with ColorDynamics in Allen Texas, has created to solve this dilemma.

“When and if the testing becomes mandatory, we have decided to take advantage of the latitude provided by the CPSIA and create our own method of testing. Since component testing may be verboten, we will take blind samplings of finished product from each job we produce which qualifies as a ‘children’s product.’  These samplings will be shredded, labeled and used as hamster litter.

Test animals will be provided with litter produced exclusively from a single production run of a children’s product. They will be housed in this manner for a period of one year. Monthly, during this period, they will be tested for stress reaction using an elevated plus-maze, for cognitive deterioration using a horizontal reward-maze. Also the amplitude of their wheel running circadian rhythms will be monitored weekly. The results of these tests will be compared to the test group of animals, which will be housed with cedar shavings as litter. Any non-age related deterioration in performance will trigger a recall of the suspect product used to make the litter for the afflicted animals.

  • Care of the test animals will be under the supervision of PETA.
  • The soiled litter will be palletized, bagged, labeled and stored for a 3 year period, after which it will be donated to subsistence farmers in Costa Rica for use as fertilizer. We are seeking a sizable grant from the US Dept of Commerce to help cover the cost of storing and transporting the fertilizer and for the capital equipment needed for the pellet operation.
  • The animals will be retired after 2 years and will be cared for by the Company for the rest of their natural lives. We are seeking a sizable grant from the US Dept of Agriculture to help cover these costs.
  • We have applied for a sizeable grant from the US dept of Education, in partnership with the Collin County College system, to pay for interns to care for and test the hamsters.
  • We have applied for a sizeable grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with UTD, to developed the software and provide the computers necessary to track the development of thousands of hamsters.

The really good news is that we will only have to add 11 new positions to comply with the CPSIA testing requirement, 4 hamster wranglers, 3 graduate students, 3 interns and a full time grant request writer.”

Ah, such an elegant solution.  Think of all the additional jobs that get created under this type of program.  Hmm, maybe we don’t need TARP monies to get the economy rebounding.  We just need hamster wranglers.


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