Tell, Tell Mattel: Shareholder’s Report

Let’s whine about gas prices, lament deficits and discuss food prices over dinner. However, today we can be delighted about one thing: We don’t own stock in Mattel, Inc. Stockholders may suspect a planned escape flight if Mattel management enlightens them about what’s been going on in Toyland.

Mattel has lost money, no doubt. The loss, though, is compounded by the systematic destruction Mattel management has visited upon itself. Lead-tainted toys and rants with Hasbro and others have weakened the once-giant toymaker; however, nothing has eroded the earnings potential of Mattel more than their short-sighted, legalistic outlook which has manifested itself in the form of threats, intimidation and frivolous law suits.

Stumbling giant that they are, Mattel has been pushing its weight around against everyone from Internet Barbie Parody web sites,, to anyone who produces a doll. Mattel contends they invented the teenage doll, it seems. (,0,6763876.story).

The most acute source of stockholder grief, though, may be Mattel’s unprovoked attack against Super Duper Publication, Inc., an American-owned family business specializing in the creation and publication of teaching materials for autistic and special needs children,

Not happy to rule the land of toy guns and fantasy females, Mattel suffers from the delusion that they should be included among respected educators, parents and publishers who actually produce tools that teach. Mattel’s only ticket to the party appears to be their claimed ownership of the word “say.” Say, say, say what would Paul McCartney say?

The laugh will be loud enough to drown out an Airbus; but, it will not muffle the wails of Mattel stockholders who are losing millions.

Unless Mattel big shots charge the plate and clean the bases, sales will continue to plummet. Good will continues to vanish over the horizon and, if Mattel is not very careful, they will go the way of the DeLorian.

Good luck, folks.

[Editor’s note: See “Mattel, can you SAY Megalomaniac,”, and “My Autistic Boy and Other Adventures in Fatherhood, “Mattel Versus Super Duper,” []

Nancy Lee Wolfe
Nancy Lee Wolfe is a versatile writer who investigates business, entertainment and human interest news.