Free Markets, Free People

About Your Illegal Yard Sale

One of the things I try to consistently feature here at QandO is the depth of intrusion of the federal government into our daily lives. Talk about “mission creep”. There’s little that we do any more that doesn’t seem to involve the government looking over our shoulder and I, frankly, don’t welcome that sort of monitoring or intrusion.

The latest? The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a 28 page pamphlet which outlines the result of a recent law (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) and its impact.

So if you’re planning on selling your kids old books (or anything else that a kid under 12 might use) and they haven’t been “tested” first, you’re liable to a $100,000 fine. Now I know you’re reading this and saying, “no way. Our government would be that intrusive”.

I guess the best way to counter that is with the CPSC’s own words:

This handbook will help sellers of used products identify types of potentially hazardous products that could harm children or others. CPSC’s laws and regulations apply to anyone who sells or distributes consumer products. This includes thrift stores, consignment stores, charities, and individuals holding yard sales and flea markets.

The next line of defense for those who support this level of intrusion, once that level of intrusion has been exposed in the government’s own words, is “well, how would they enforce it”?

It’s not a bad argument (the answer is selectively), but it misses the real point.

Obviously, it’s unlikely the CPSA goons are going to bust up your yard sale. But putting out a detailed booklet that reserves the right to do so is hardly encouraging about where the implementation of this legislation is heading.

It is about precedent. And, it’s about acceptance. When both are established, it doesn’t require much in the way of the imagination to realize that like any entity which seeks to increase its power, government will soon attempt to stretch the envelope just a little further (further precedent/acceptance).

Wash, rinse, repeat.


15 Responses to About Your Illegal Yard Sale

  • To think that it’s never going to be enforced is a fallacy as well. What it effectively does is add yet another ‘gotcha’ that can be held against you by any politician who doesn’t like something you’re doing.

    Like Ayn Rand says “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

    And this, children, is how nations fall.

  • What about the 21st century version of the flea market/yard sale,  the internet auction site?  Those would be relatively easy to police.

  • The 28 page pamphlet link tells me, without even looking INSIDE, that…


    looking inside I see….I WAS RIGHT!

    You heartless right wing whacko DHS watch list bastards!  Don’t you even care about the children!?????
    Is there no depth you will sink to for this supposed ‘Freedom’ you long for with your Bible clutched in one hand and your trusty child killing firearm in the other? 
    I suppose you’d just like it if all the children were killed (that would be post ‘choice’ children of course. ah, but on second thought the aborted ones aren’t REALLY children in the first place, forget I mentioned that…) or injured by yard sale items chosen by their ignorant parents.
    Used clothing with zippers, metal or vinyl plastic snaps, closures, or drawstrings, not to mention, riding lawn mowers, glass goblets, spear guns and other such items MUST be kept out of the hands of children!
    Only the government can help parents make the right decisions about what to buy second hand, and THIS pamphlet and law are intended only to help both the buyer and seller make good decisions (under threat of fine or arrest of course….).

  • Why do Democrats hate the poor? 

    Or maybe I’m looking at this in the wrong way.  I suppose it could be be consider part of the “economic stimulus” since, you know, they’re encouraging Americans to go more deeply into debt and spend more money, and buying retail rather than resale will do that.  I mean, everyone knows that debt is “the lifeblood of the economy.”

    By Memorial Day, they’ll be gunning for the small farms, farmers markets and roadside stands.  Maybe even your backyard garden via  Mission Creep.

    Control oil and you control nations, control food and you control the people.”
    –Henry Kissinger

  • So as not to confuse the leftists…this was a result of a bill George W. Bush signed into law.
    Good work George, I’m so proud.

    • Good point.  Next time a Republican bills himself as a “compassionate conservative”, we need to remember this, along with amnesty, and McCain-Feingold, and prescription drugs, and NCLBA, and the other big-state programs that the arch-conservative fiend Bush (snarl!)  inflicted on us.

  • And the media reported this where, again? Oh, it is possible that no one noticed because it was done by The Clown™ and His Clownettes™. If Bush had done something this stupid, the media would be on it like flies on turds.

    • Ah, sorry, but this did happen during the Bush administration. Wacky Hermit , a sometime commenter here, covered it for months on her site. Quite well, in my opinion.

      As a paleobibliophile (old book-lover or old-book lover, both work) I am a bit upset. Used book stores will have to purge their collections, which is barbaric.

      • Why, timactual, I’m blushing! 🙂

        Seriously though, in the last Q and O post on CPSIA, there was a video of a children’s clothing store owner who had been in favor of the law until she realized it would put her out of business, and the commentariat here was largely schadenfreudic (is that a word?)  Instead of being outraged that such a law was passed in America, almost to a man their response was that she got what she deserved.  So what, did *I* get what she deserved too?  I never supported this law and have been actively fighting it.  First they came for the lead, and I said nothing; then they came for the carbon…

        Yesterday my baby booties were on the Ellen DeGeneres Show’s Mother’s Day giveaway for the second year running, but next year there may not be a baby bootie business, despite the fact that I’ve had my yarn tested for lead (non-detectable levels), thanks to CPSIA.  So I’m glad to see you all are waking up to the consequences of this law.  I can tell you, though, that the consequences were NOT unintended.  The law’s sponsors are quite clear that the purpose of CPSIA was to give “consumer advocates” a nice fat bonanza.  And the lawsuits and shakedowns have already started.

  • Dear nanny state govt.,


    Insurrectionally not yours,


  • Think of the lawsuit possibilities for the lawyer industry.  Buy something from a yard sale, your kid gets hurt, you sue because they didnt have it inspected.

    Yes Bush signed this monstrosity into law but the dems are the ones who ran the Congress that came up with it.

  • One of the things I try to consistently feature here at QandO is the depth of intrusion of the federal government into our daily lives.

    That is certainly aware the pursuit. That said, it’s not all that difficult a task , of late.

    So as not to confuse the leftists…this was a result of a bill George W. Bush signed into law. Good work George, I’m so proud.

    What else was it bundled with, I wonder?

    that said, all this comes down to what I was saying about Bush  (either one)  since the middle eighties; and best they are centrist, not conservative.

    • In all fairness, CPSIA was passed with veto-proof majorities in both House and Senate.  Only Ron Paul and three Senators (Coburn, Kyl, and DeMint) voted against it.  And after numerous contacts with a wide variety of Representatives and Senators, it has become apparent that most of them (surprise, surprise) did not read the bill.  They saw that it was for The Safety Of The Children ™ and just voted for it– who could be against the safety of children?

      • When it comes to anyone, I hate to say “acceptable losses”.
        But let’s face it, we cannot, possibly, ever, ever, protect anyone, and that regrettably includes children, against EVERYTHING.  Draw strings – good example.   Who would ever envision their kid getting choked on a playground slide by a draw string?  Dragged beside a bus by a draw string (I have to wonder about the bus driver here….).
        I understand a distraught set of parents ‘wanting something done’ about the loss of their child to a drawstring.  But you know, sometimes life just sucks, and there’s nothing you can ‘do’ to prevent it. 
        In addition to whatever the hell else was wrapped in this fish wrap bill (and you can bet someone got their local payoffs to salve their conscience), you can bet this wasn’t the only odorous piece of legislation in there.

        I KNOW a lot of us grew up in an age where we weren’t protected from EVERYTHING by a law.  I realize we took some casualties along the way, and I really am sorry about that because they were probably (draw string choking your kid) about as senseless as they come, and that sucks, it really really does.

        But Jehovah, we are turning into a nation of whiney babies, demanding protection, from Nanny, from life and ourselves 24 hours a day.
        This bill is such a classic example of massive over-reaction to life’s trials it ought to be bronzed, set in Plexiglas and put on display in the Smithsonian.