Mmmm, Foam Rubber! (10/11/99)

Child-loving bovines the world over sounded a collective "Moo!" of approval earlier when Gateway ordered a recall of approximately a million foam rubber cows. Apparently the PC manufacturer best known for its innovation in the realm of spotted cardboard boxes gave away these 5-inch squishy cows as promotional gimmicks, but complaints started rolling in that strong-willed (and strong-handed) children were able to tear the cows into yummy bite-size morsels which constituted a choking hazard. So Gateway Did The Right Thing™ and told cow-enabled consumers either to "throw the toys away" or trade them in at any Gateway store for another less-chokeworthy Gateway-branded piece of cr-- er, promotional merchandise. A Bloomberg News article has more details.

Speaking of details, if we really wanted to stretch things, we could go on about how Gateway's child-killer rubber cows are just another symptom of the computer industry's lack of attention to detail. Sure, Gateway didn't make the cows themselves, but somebody in marketing ordered a couple million of them, slapped the Gateway name on each one, and threw them into each spotted box with the wholesome, family-values computer inside. (Reportedly Gateway also sold some of them to hapless suckers willing to shell out four bucks for a foam rubber cow with the word "Gateway" on it. Not that we wouldn't pay twice that for a foam rubber dogcow with the Apple logo on it, but that's completely different.) Whoever that marketing person was, he or she apparently didn't think to tear one of the cows into puffy chunks and then stuff them down a nearby child's windpipe to see what the potential effect would be. Testing is everything, people.

Anyway, in the interest of healthy children everywhere, we're happy to see that Gateway issued the recall before anybody got hurt. We've received word from operatives in the field that Gateway stores all over the country are gearing up for the trade-in by replenishing their stocks of Gateway-branded chocolate-covered straight razors and used hypodermic needles. Soon those dangerous cows will be but a memory of a frightening close call in the history of cheap promotional missteps. Hey, didja hear the rumor that with every Compaq Presario you get a free plastic bag filled with oil-soaked rags?

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The above scene was taken from the 10/11/99 episode:

October 11, 1999: If you're concerned about the intense heat pouring out of your new fanless iMac, you can relax-- a little. Meanwhile, the latest brouhaha in the turbulent world of Apple games development reaches a (semi-)happy conclusion, and Gateway recalls a million foam rubber cows due to concerns over choking...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1836: Ask Dr. Science (10/11/99)   We at AtAT have received more than a few letters from concerned viewers who are skeptical of the new iMac's lack of a cooling fan. Captain Steve's dislike for fans is well-known, and it's entirely possible that it amounts to nothing more than a perfectly rational belief that computers should be as quiet as possible...

  • 1837: Phasers On "Ignore" (10/11/99)   So have you been following the latest saga in the churning world of Mac gaming? As you know, Apple recently pulled a 180° on its official policy regarding games development for the Mac. Until a couple of years ago, the pre-Jobsian Apple actively discouraged the development of games for the Mac platform, fearing that the availability of games would only reinforce the view that the Mac was "just a toy."...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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