It’s hard not to love Crayola. Since 1885, when it began life as Binney & Smith, the company has provided the world with all types of coloring materials – crayons, markers, colored pencils, chalk and more. The company has helped create numerous artists, I’m sure. At the very least, it established itself as a friend to harried parents who were able to get a break by giving their kids some coloring time on a rainy day.
Crayola – now owned by Hallmark – seems to be going out of its way to anger parents, who are among the biggest purchasers of its products. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company has created a new line of colored bubbles. It’s a technological breakthrough – no other company has succeeded in creating a solution that turns out bubbles in shades of blue, yellow, orange, red and other colors. It’s also a parent’s nightmare.
It turns out that the bubbles leave a brightly colored, often permanent mess. Curtains, carpets and concrete can all be stained forever. The Journal reports that the bubbles come with these directions:
While most regular bubble soaps don’t bother with directions on their labels, the Crayola bottles have a long warning in tiny type that says: “Before use, test on an inconspicuous area and let dry. Wash off to make sure bubble solution does not stain.”
The warning continues: “Do not use at weddings or indoors.”
There’s more: “Keep away from brick, vinyl, finished and unfinished wood, wallpaper, painted walls, carpeting, draperies, and other materials that cannot be laundered.”
It takes six sentences of directions to explain how to wash the stuff off (immediately, with hot water, but with no stain treatments; they just make it worse).
Crayola protests that rain will wash the color away, sun will fade it and simple soap and water will remove it from skin. Parents don’t seem to be buying it; check out these extremely negative reviews on Amazon.
It seems Crayola is throwing away decades of goodwill with this product. The wise course would be to take it off the market until the bugs are worked out and to offer some sort of restitution to angry parents. Unless the company acts soon, the most prominent colors at headquarters will be black and blue from the hits it takes to its reputation.