Monday, January 9, 2012

Once more, with feeling...

Epiphany/Theophany has come and gone, so the highest holidays of the Christmas season are over. Most of us have been busy with cleaning and decluttering and organizing after the decadent (whether or not we feel well-off- if one lives in the West and has computer access, one is richer than most of the world) past weeks. We have had a lot of fun and opened a lot of presents from family and friends. I don't look at labels or countries of origin when we receive a gift- but this little gift gave me pause.

I must admit, when we got four of these 'stockings' I first thought to myself- Does Soulemama get these kinds of gifts? No, she probably receives only intentional gifts of organic, hand-dyed, local somethings (I kid- she is a favorite even though I will never live the life on her blog). But then I got mad.

I'm not mad at the lovely person who probably thought to herself on the way to Christmas Liturgy that she just had to have a treat to give to the kids. I really appreciate that, for the most part, my children are loved  by those who join us at church.  I'm just at mad at the situation that we seem to be in the West. In our lust for cheap goods, we have sold so much of our manufacturing backbone to China. We expect everything to be 99 cents. We consider it a triumph when candy canes are made in Mexico instead of China. 

I remember learning in high school that the two important industries of Oregon were being sent to China- lumber and salmon would be harvested in Oregon but processed in China, then sent back to the States with Made in America tags. But who wants to pay $20 a pound for processed in America salmon? Just a bit of food for thought...

click on the 'China' label below for other posts of mine on the subject

10 comments:

  1. I didn't make time to write a good post- but it makes me sound like I am constantly searching the labels of gifts ...etc- But this one was 'too much'

    It's their politics and anti-life policies that drive me bonkers ie China- yes, I'm Caucasian. but I love Chinese and pan-Asian films, food, art, culture etc- I just hate one child policies

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  2. I think if anyone's been around your blog for...oh, longer than a few posts? they know why you feel as you do about things made in China.

    I wonder what was made in China--the entire gift? Just the stocking? The candy?

    Another reason to cringe at the "made in China" label because what's being made here anymore? It seems like everything is made there. I'm amazed when I find something that wasn't made there, but I also wonder what conditions are like for workers in, say Pakistan.

    The increase of products coming from China, and the lack of US businesses growing and thriving affects us all, even if we don't realize it. Even those of us working in the human services industries, like our husbands do. Even in my job, without saying too much about what I do, which would be very hard to outsource the type of publishing my company does, suffers from business failure here.

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  3. PW, I want you to know that your posts on this topic have led me to look around our house and find just how many things are made in China. It's horrifying. Though a while back my husband put his foot down and said he would not purchase any silverware or dishes unless they were made in the US (did you know Corelle is now made in the US again? Yay!)

    So being in the market for new flatware, I had to hunt and dig until i found the ONE company that still makes flatware in the US. I was so happy to order those! And even happier when they arrived at our door. I promised my husband that his Epiphany present would not be made in China or Turkey (I wanted to get him a bathrobe). The best I could find was made in Indonesia. Oh well. At least it wasn't made in China.

    You have at the least inspired one person to no longer buy baby clothes or toys made in China; there are many online sources for such items. It takes digging, but it's worth it. Thank you!

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  4. Karen- thanks for the feedback! and I am in the market to re[place some broken Corelle (isn't it supposed to be unbreakable?)

    No matter what- it is a GOOD thing when there is a great variety of places and factories to buy from

    My first way to reduce Chinese buying- don't buy- then try to thrift and then look around for alternalitves like you did

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  5. I've also been more cognizant about where things come from. You know what's funny? I recently scanned through catalogs from two very big direct mail clothing companies (they both begin with L) and almost everything was "imported" but I can't find out from which countries. I think people look at these two companies and their outdoorsy photo spreads and think that they are all-American. I think it's sad that more of their products aren't made here, especially as they pride themselves on their clothes being durable and timeless. While that is true--and I have sweaters that from my college years that are still in great shape and "in style" they were probably made in China.

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  6. For resources and help to 'Buy American', go to www.unionlabel.org or subscribe to the "Union Label" newsletter.

    Buying products made in China simply takes good jobs away from Americans and supports sweat-shop labor.

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  7. Rabbit, that is so true. I got a catalog in the mail (probably the previous owners subscribed, I sure didn't) for ShopNational.com. Sure sounds USA, doesn't it? Well, I looked, and there were some sweaters that looked like what I was looking for, but they said "imported." I got on their website, and clicked the "instant chat" to talk to a representative. I asked her straight out, "Do you have any items made in the USA?" Long pause, and then, "We have a few things, but unfortunately, most of our items are imported. The country of origin is on the description." I replied that actually, there was no country of origin, but thanks anyway.

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  8. I remember learning in high school that the two important industries of Oregon were being sent to China- lumber and salmon would be harvested in Oregon but "processed in Oregon", then sent back to the States with Made in America tags

    I think you meant to say "processed in China".

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  9. If only we didn't feel like we had to have SOMETHING all the time, that the gift of self isn't enough! The sheer volume of cheap, useless junk we inherit from birthday parties and holidays makes me almost choke with rage.

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