Don’t eat, don’t breathe, don’t play, don’t consume

Warning: I am goofing off because I got bored with what I was doing. What I was doing was making a requested gift for somebody’s son. Unfortunately, this gift is going to take me so long to make that I would rather give the kid a hundred dollars. Because I can earn the $100 faster than I could ever make this darn thing. So this is just a long way to tell you that I am not concentrating very hard at writing this post. It’s merely a procrastination vehicle.

So I was at the store today looking to buy something. And a little old white lady near me asks the clerk, “Is that made in CHINA?” She’s pointing to a huge display of $5 stuffed animals. It’s on the tip of my tongue to say, “Yeah, lady, I can tell you without even looking that those toys are all made in China. As are probably close to 100 percent of the toys and consumer goods here.”

The clerk fumbles for the tag and turns the item over. “Yes, it’s made in China,” he responds.

So what does she say? “Oh, then I don’t want to buy it!”

“You hear all those things about how dangerous CHINESE products are. I just can’t take the RISK! You have no idea what those people are doing over there!”

“I’m not buying anything from China–I’m checking everything!”

Yeah, good luck with that, lady. (I actually said that to somebody at a party who expressed the same sentiment. It was kind of a party-killer. No wonder I haven’t been invited back.)

Instead, I decide to politely assault her with facts. Excuse me, did you know that more than 80 percent of our toys are imported from China? And most of your garlic and apple juice and gluten? Did you know that many consumer items are largely manufactured in China, and then have tiny finishing bits added on to them in the United States so that they can wear labels that read ‘Assembled in the U.S.’? And what about those designer products with the bait and switch or the sweatshops in Europe?

Did you know that other countries have higher recall rates on imported items?  It’s just that China right now is the largely supplier of our goods.  The largest supplier, because we demand cheap crap.

Don’t you wonder why U.S. companies import so many products from China?  And have you been eating the tainted meat from our country and using the recalled, U.S.-designed faulty products that were manufactured overseas?   Do you remember those problems with the spinach and the peanut butter and the lettuce and who knows what else?

She said, happily, “Oh, thank you so much for the information!”  I’m not kidding.  She really looked happy.

I don’t blame China for lead in kids’ toys or the GHB or the cribs that caught children’s necks.   I blame people who want to buy cheap sh*t, including me.  I blame people who go to the local W-Mart and keep its unfair labor practices (both in the U.S. and overseas) in business.

Because when it comes right down to it, I can pay fifty cents more for my laundry detergent or I can go without.  But I cannot forget that my conveniences and savings are at the cost of slave labor.

4 thoughts on “Don’t eat, don’t breathe, don’t play, don’t consume

  1. I will add one more entity to blame. The designers of the cheap crap we buy. They should be designing in specifications and testing the specifications that indicate they don’t have lead in the paint, don’t have small parts that kids can choke on, and are designed according to pertinant health and safety concerns.

    The reason they aren’t? We want cheap crap. But it is so easy to demonize the foreigners.

  2. When, oh when will people get it?

    My husband comes from just outside Pittsburg, his father worked in a Steel Mill all of his life, making the solid steel that OH MY GOD didn’t bend!

    Now we get our steel from China, the Pittsburg Mills are almost all gone, and no, it is not China’s fault. It is this government who has screwed consumerism up so badly that we buy things that break, and we buy more, and then blame China. Or Mexico. It’s the good old USA, and I am so sick of this country outsourcing, then screaming about the “immigration problem” – Dear god, let’s spend billions on a border fence instead of putting the money back into actual jobs here.

    Being in the middle of the Writers Strike, it is amazing to be treated like an illegal immigrant by producers, saying that paying the writers 4 more cents for DVD residuals and a small piece of internet residuals for content that WE WROTE is going to take down the entertainment business.

    I think I am about to start laughing like a hyena pretty soon……

    Great post. Thanks for letting me roar along, and come visit anytime.

    Best,
    KMJ

  3. Once upon a time, everything was made locally. People wore clothes, ate food, e.t.c and were largely content with this. The workers in these factories, mines and son on were also content, unionised workers.

    The the bosses realised they could pay people less to do the same work in other countries and make more money for themselves.

    This was such a lucrative idea, soon all the bosses were doing it and the governments of the day both enabled and supported it. (See U.K Mining Industry).

    The consumers had very little say in this.
    It was not their choice. Now we’re are being guilt-tripped into believing it’s our lust for cheapness. Not true.

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