The Toy Industry Gets its Hands Dirty – and Not in a Good Way.

I do not claim to be he who can throw stones at glass houses. I have had my share of transgressions, many of which I recall vividly, and they do not bring me any satisfaction. No doubt there were many others I do not recall, nor were ever aware of.

In fact, I remember a couple of times . . . but, well, maybe that is a tale for another venue on another day. As my friend Ruben Klamer was heard to exclaim, “You have to buy the book!”


I have long remembered a story my father told on the concept of “dirty hands”. I don’t ever want to have “dirty hands” as a result of giving or receiving consideration, inducement to favor, or bribes by any other name. To date I am grateful never to have been put in that situation, and hope that I never shall. Should I one day encounter a bribe, I hope that I can remember my father's admonishment and continue to have clean hands.

Bribery, envelopes of cash, and favors are rampant in the toy industry, as in every other industry, not more, and perhaps not less. But, knowing that bribery exists in the toy industry, since it is my industry and the industry that creates products that put the joy in childhood, saddens me a great deal.

This insidious practice makes toys more expensive for all. It forces those who would choose not to dirty their hands to do so, or be at a disadvantage to those with no such compunctions. It makes it so that we do not play on a level playing field. And, when one has crossed that line, where does one stop?


If one is engaged in this illegal activity that must be concealed, then what else does that lead to – what moral decay does it cause to the individual? What effect does it have on their spouse, children, friends, coworkers? How does one attend church and look others straight in the eye? These choices are not without consequence. It does not help one sleep well at night to always be looking over one’s shoulder.

I would love to see this industry, our industry, my beloved toy and game industry, just this one teeny, tiny little industry that creates the toys and games that entertain, educate, and inspire our children and future adults, wash its hands clean.

One thought

  1. hey Bruce … did you live in LA area in 1987/1988? Are you the man who invented Fireball Island? Do you remember meeting a young Wisconsin inventor who had a book filled with 180 inventions and buying him a lemon merange pie at Hollywood Blvd. Denny’s?
    If that’s you, please say hi … it’s been nearly 30 years and I now have over 3,000 invention ideas (on paper some Cad drawn) I even went to China. Maybe 50 of my inventions have made it to market some through being too trusting. I even went to China and lost 100 inventions at the MIT of China – University of Zhejiang in Hangzhou engineering department and development company called “INNOWORKS”.
    It’s been a wild ride – but it’s good to see this article by you. You told me you were in California for your wife’s health but your biz was in Chicago. You showed me your Fireball Island prototype.
    Anyway, if this is you I’d love to chat again. I am currently in Minneapolis.
    Cheers Bruce,

Leave a Reply