Toys ‘R’ Us embarassing flip-flop

January 11, 2007

Yan Zhu Liu and baby Yuki Lin at a New York Hospital

I am no fan of the term “flip-flopping” – thank you Karl Rove – but that does not even come close to what they did with their “First Baby of the Year Sweepstakes”.

Basically, this was a New Year’s baby contest – first baby to be born at midnight gets the prize – a $25,000 savings bond! But here is were the story gets complicated:

NEW YORK (AP) — After coming under fire for denying a Chinese-American infant a $25,000 prize in a New Year’s baby contest because her mother was not a legal U.S. resident, the Toys “R” Us company said that it had reversed its decision.

The prize was originally supposed to go to Yuki Lin, who was born at the stroke of midnight at New York Downtown Hospital, according to hospital officials.

She won a random drawing with two other babies for the $25,000 savings bond, said Toys “R” Us spokeswoman Kathleen Waugh. The Wayne, New Jersey, company had said it would go to the first American baby born in 2007.

Yuki was born an American citizen. But the company disqualified her because “the sweepstakes administrator was informed that the mother of the baby born at New York Downtown Hospital was not a legal resident of the United States,” Waugh said.

How nice of Toys ‘R’ Us, right? I wonder what made them change their mind:

Toys “R” Us, which opened its first mainland China store less than a month ago, changed its mind after Chinese-American advocates protested and the story was reported in ethnic newspapers and The New York Times among other outlets.

“We love all babies,” the company said in a written statement Saturday. “Our sweepstakes was intended to welcome the first baby of 2007 and prepare for its future. We deeply regret that this sweepstakes became a point of controversy.”

Basically, they got pounded by criticism and listened only because they have $$$ interests in China. Just because they are a toy company does not mean they are any nicer than the rest of the other companies.