It's nice to hear about things like this:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Chairman Ann Brown has awarded the Chairman's Commendation to Williams-Sonoma Inc., of San Francisco, Calif. This award commends Williams-Sonoma for leading the way on recall effectiveness in an electronic era.

CPSC recognized Williams-Sonoma for its innovative and effective actions in making the recall of a portable gas grill more than 99 percent successful. The company achieved this outstanding result through a willingness to try a new approach: using their own electronic credit card records and working with bank credit card companies to identify purchasers of the grills, and notifying customers of the recall individually. The company also provided each consumer with a $50 gift certificate, in addition to a full refund for the grill.

According to CPSC's 1998 Resident Fire Loss Estimates, on average there are about 600 fires and 30 consumer injuries per year, associated with outdoor gas grills.

"CPSC has long sought ways to improve recall effectiveness. Williams-Sonoma's creative use of its customer database shows that companies can find new ways to make recalls more effective," said Chairman Brown. "Williams-Sonoma has demonstrated their commitment to consumer safety, by ensuring that customers were properly notified of a dangerous recalled product."

"Customers are the most important asset Williams-Sonoma has as a company, and customer safety and service has always been our very top priority," stated Williams-Sonoma Inc. Chairman Howard Lester. "We are pleased to have so effectively notified our customers about this recall, and are greatly honored to be recognized by the CPSC for our

Other recipients of the Chairman's Commendation have included: Lowe's Companies Inc. and Lowe's Home Safety Council; Toys "R" Us; Procter & Gamble; Sunbeam Plastics; Playskool, a division of Hasbro Inc.; Rollerblade Inc.; the International Inline Skating Association; the Whirlpool Corp.; the American Furniture Manufacturers Association; Face Guards Inc.; the Rogers Sports Corp.; the Safe Strap Company Inc.; the city of Pittsburgh; the state of Colorado; the National SAFE KIDS Campaign; the American Water Heater Company Kaboom!; and SawStop LLC.

Chairman Brown initiated the commendation program to recognize substantial contributions to product safety by individuals, companies, or groups for one-time, ongoing, or multiple actions. She considers the following factors in choosing award recipients:

* Actions that contribute to reducing hazards to children and other vulnerable populations;

* Voluntary actions that are not mandated by government regulations, that anticipate government regulation, or that go beyond what the government requires;

* Developments that affect the safety of large numbers of individuals;

* Innovations or improvements to existing products; and

* Safety devices, packaging, warnings, or products which enhance consumer safety.

[This message has been edited by Bill Addiss (edited 10-17-2001).]