Check with the CPSC before putting up that yard sale sign

In Minnesota, the coming of spring means the return of lawnmowers, motorcycles, brats on the grill, and the big American tradition of yard sales.  People do their spring cleaning, toss what’s unusable, and try to sell the rest to bargain-hunters.  Thanks to the new consumer product safety law, though, you now need to download a CPSC pamphlet and start researching each item on your driveway in case of recall:

Thinking of having a yard sale this weekend? Before you do, be sure to consult CSPC Publication #254 [PDF].

This handy 28-pager from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reminds the American people that, thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (which I have blogged about here and here), the government is totally in charge of your yard sale

“This handbook will help sellers of used products identify types of potentially hazardous products that could harm children or others. CPSC’s laws and regulations apply to anyone who sells or distributes consumer products. This includes thrift stores, consignment stores, charities, and individuals holding yard sales and flea markets.”

Like Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason, I find the inclusion of “individuals holding yard sales and flea markets” disconcerting and telling.  The CPSC has never aimed its regulatory sights at individuals and “flea markets” before now.  The CPSIA, about which I also have blogged on occasion, has already done enough damage to commercial thrift stores and small manufacturers who can’t afford the testing now required in the CPSIA.  At a time when we need entrepeneurs, the CPSIA squeezes them out of the market.

Now the CPSC wants to put the squeeze on yard sales.  They don’t threaten any action if you don’t follow their guidelines … yet.  But publishing a full-color, 28-page pamphlet that includes folks holding garage sales along with commercial sellers and resellers indicates a desire to go in that direction.