Mail Of A Different Nature  

MissAnnThrope 56F
11679 posts
3/10/2006 2:22 am

Last Read:
7/29/2006 10:04 pm

Mail Of A Different Nature

This arrived in my regular mail, from an acquaintance of mine on this site. So, while it's hate mail, it's not hate mail directed at me, but hate mail of a different nature:

Ain't" It The Truth!!!

Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock! (MADE IN JAPAN) for 6am.
While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG).
He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA ), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes (MADE IN KOREA).
After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA) he sat down with his calculator! (MADE IN MEXICO ) to see how much he could spend today.
After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN) to the radio (MADE IN INDIA) he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY) filled it with GAS from Saudi Arabia and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB. At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his Computer (Made In Malaysia), Joe decided to relax for a while.
He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL ) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE) and turned on his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA), and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in.AMERICA......

Let's take a look at this, which I'm sure is an urban legend in the making. Because consumer products are made in other countries and sold here, there are no jobs. Consumer electronics have been made in Asia for years. Even if you buy a computer built in this country, chances are the chips were made dirt cheap in Mexico. Now, that said...

My alarm clock is an RCA, an American company. Radio Corporation of America. Yes, it was made in China, but the corporate offices are all in this country. I have two coffee makers, a Melita and a Farberware espresso/cappuccino machine. Both were made in Mexico. However, this guy uses a perc pot? I haven't seen a percolators in years and all the ones I saw were glass coffee pots, with the insert and wire basket and all were made by Corning. You know, as in Corning, NY, where the company was located. These days, they mostly make fiberoptic cable at that plant.

I don't use an electric razor, but mine says it was made in this country. So shave the old fashioned way with Gillette and deal with changing the blades every so often. One American job saved, at the expense of an American who would work for PSE&G. By not using an electric razor, I know I'm not using enough energy to fuel the power plants, even though everything else plugs in.

Next, clothing. Yes, most of our clothing that we go into a department store or even Wal*Mart to buy is made in foreign countries. American labor is expensive enough that people would scream at the price of their shirt or jeans. I'm not even going to look. But the person who sent me this loves Wal*Mart and shops there regularly. Doesn't she realize there isn't a thing for sale there in clothing or shoes that hasn't been made by children or people being paid pennies an hour? Let's face another fact. You find clothing that says "Made In The USA." Rarely do you see a union label to go with that. Which means, cheap, sweat shop labor, by immigrants who are told management will call INS if they object.

This man in the story is just spending crazy. Has he no stove in his house or apartment? If he's unemployed, why does he have a new electric skillet? Why doesn't he use the stove? But once again, he is supporting American economy by going shopping and using electricity. The calculator is an unnecessary expense and drain on his limited resources, as he has a perfectly good calculator on his computer.

What, no Rolex? My watch was made in America by an artist friend of mine. It's gorgeous. If it hadn't been a birthday present, I wouldn't own it, as I know what he charges for these. However, watches made in Taiwan tend to be those cheap street vendor things. Or Wal*Mart again. No wonder he has to set it everyday. My radio is on my alarm clock. So this guy is just spend happy. OK, so I have an antique soda machine transistor radio sitting here. But it doesn't mean I use it.

Next he gets into his car, made in Germany. Well, if he doesn't have a good job, why the fuck is he driving a luxury car? Volkswagen, which makes the VW, the Audi and a few others assembles cars in this country. They have an assembly plant right in Auburn Hills, MI. And guess what? They have jobs open! So, if his car was made in Germany, he's driving a BMW or a Mercedes. Why can't I feel sympathy for him? I have no car, American, German or otherwise. I rely on NJ Transit. But then he fills it with gas from Saudi Arabia? How do you know? 30% of the world's oil reserves are in Iraq. More than likely, he's supporting the Halliburton effort. We produce little oil in this country and we have the world's biggest reliance on it. It's made many an American who got into the oil business rich. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Exxon and Mobil and Shell and Coastal and Phillips and a few others all American owned oil companies? Jesus Christ, I can't believe this didn't mention the Pakistani guy pumping your gas for $5.50 an hour!

OK, Joe continues his job search, dressed the way he is, I can't imagine what sort of job he's looking for. Unless you're looking to pump gas, or work in a grocery store, or even a department store, you so do NOT wear jeans job hunting. If you want a good job, you dress for it. Jeans do no qualify for business casual.

OK, his computer. Few computers are made in this country and the ones that are, such as Alienware, which you build to order are incredibly expensive. My little crappy laptop was made in China. I remember when I worked for AT&T and they decided to get into the home computer business, but with older technology. Olivetti made their computers in Italy.

Now, as far as his sandals, ok, he's not buying his shoes in Wal*Mart. Otherwise, they would have been made in China. But Brazil is the world's leading manufacturer of cheap shoe leather, from what I've been able to gather. But the way this man flings his money around, I'm amazed he's not wearing Italian loafers.

He can't find a job but he pours himself a glass of French wine? How the hell can he afford French wine? This guy is so living beyond his means and in high style. He should be drinking that cheap Riunite crap with the screw off top, as NY and California wines are more expensive. Oops. I forgot. In spite of the fact France has around a dozen warships guarding the Perisan Gulf and is currently our second biggest ally in Afghanistan (according to Central Command of the US Military) because they're not fighting in Iraq, they're hateful and commies. Silly me for forgetting that.

Televisions... There hasn't been a television produced in this country since Zenith went out of business. They were the last US manufacturer of televisions. I had one of the last off the assembly line. It was a piece of shit that didn't even last ten years.

Now, this email doesn't say a thing about this man's skill sets. What is he qualified to do? From the sound of this, he was an overpaid factory worker. After all, he can afford designer jeans, a BMW and French wine. The current slump in the economy isn't from free trade with the rest of the world. Things have been made in foreign countries and trading between companies has been going on for generations, hundreds of years before any of us were born. Free trade just means no tariffs on goods going in or out of a country. You don't charge us a tariff, we won't charge you one. It was that way before the Great Depression and then they decided to stick tariffs on other countries, who did the same in turn and the Depression got much worse.

Now yes, I'm writing this on a computer made in China. My Liz Claiborne sweater was made in the Philippines. My Levi's were made in Canada. My underwear says "Jamaica of USA". I have no idea if that means Jamaica, Queens, or in Jamaica from US materials. I'm barefoot. I'm smoking a Benson & Hedges, grown, rolled and packaged in the United States. I lit it with a Bic lighter. Hmmm... French company... Let's see... Nope. Made in the USA. I'm drinking a Diet Coke manufactured and bottled in the United States. HEY! I'm doing better than this guy!

Now, all that said, all of his items fuel the United States economy, no matter what way you look at it. They arrive in our ports. Inspectors check the shipments. They have to be shipped to the retailer. Which supports the transportation trade. They are sold in stores, which supports crappy retail jobs, but if you can claw your way up the ladder in management, you can make a shitload of money in retail. Or of course, you can open your own retail shop. As I mentioned before, most of the items mentioned run on electricity. The electric companies employ massive numbers of people. And in all cases, even if it's a foreign company such as Sony, there are corporate offices all over America. So, if this guy can't find a job that fits his salary specs, don't blame the fact goods are made in foreign countries. Blame the CEOs and Boards of Directors who think skilled labor is only worth 1975 wages.

im_your_man77 39M
961 posts
3/10/2006 3:35 am

Despite the artificial borders we have set ourselves, it is one world we live in and every last one of us needs an income that we can live on. The world is ever changing, the onus is on us to adapt so that we can survive. We cannot go back to a time in the past, in contrast we should be making trade fairer still so that countries in say Africa can have the chance to work themselves out of poverty.
I'm all for supporting local food, produce that has been picked when ripe but I'm not sure if governments should be giving our farmers an unfair advantage over foreign farmers. We can support them by insisting on buying local food because we like the taste, because it wasn't flown 1000's of miles days before it was ripe or whatever reason we choose. We can support local jobs by the individual choices we make. Often support and trade restrictions made by governments hurt us all, if we educate ourselves we can make informed choices for ourselves.

papyrina 50F
21133 posts
3/10/2006 5:08 am

all made in China here,the greeks are next to useless at making stuff,my biggest gripe was Marks and Spencers a British retailor,a bit more expensive than most and all clothes were made in the UK and all material British made,so you knew you were buying good quality,well made stuff and keeping people in jobs,not any more,prices still high and all made care of Asia,using poor quality fabric,i know do not shop there.

As a store owner selling all sorts,the Chinese imports my reps try and sell me,cheap i will admit but of such a poor quality and some of it very dangerous to kids,i refuse to buy or stock,i try and stay with European goods,yep my customers have to pay for this and don't they complain lol but once they have bought the cheap crap else where,they soon come back.

I'm a

i'm here to stay

rm_masterchaz30 48M
79 posts
3/10/2006 6:51 am

In High School....I was secretly in love with a cheerleader named "Ann Thorpe" (somewhere in NY State). As the years have gone by, those memories have brought me many pleasant reflective memories. So I just had to read your blog.

I do agree with you...and now the seaports.


redmustang91 57M  
8559 posts
3/10/2006 10:55 am

Free trade makes both countries riched by bringing in stuff that can be made more efficiently elsewhere. I love French and Spanish wine, my Seiko $100 watch, my Panasonic flat screen plasma TV, my Mercedes car, my Dell computer assembled here but most components from Asia, and my clothes and shoes made in Asia generally. All the Americans came from other places as well, even the Indians! Good blog!

The ports should be made more secure, but why UAE owner is worse than a British company is beyond me!

rm_saintlianna 45F
15466 posts
3/10/2006 12:08 pm

I have noticed alot of clothes at Wal-Mart have "Made in Egypt" stamped on them. All I know is that in Bangladesh women get 17 cents an hour for a twelve to 14 hour workday. Its a shame, they are starving there.

MissAnnThrope 56F
11488 posts
3/11/2006 3:37 am

im your man, the trouble is, wages aren't keeping up with inflation. Based on the minimum wage in 1968, if it had kept up with inflation in this country, it would have been $13.65 an hour in the year 2000. As a result, other wage haven't risen. While I agree with free trade, it's the way it's used here. After the Free Trade Agreement was signed, a number of companies moved manufacturing operations to Mexico, where there are fewer environmental laws, (although, that's bound to change, as Mexico did sign the Kyoto agreement,) much cheaper labor, so they can make whatever, charge the consumer the same price and pocket the difference. That wasn't how it was supposed to work. So, people out of jobs suddenly find themselves making shit wages at places like Wal*Mart or Tyson, where they decided they wanted to lower the starting pay, causing many to go out on a very prolonged strike.

In the long run, I honestly believe it would be more economical to pay employees a living wage. When you don't, they're eligible for energy assistance, food stamps, Section 8 housing, Medicaid, all the things that the powers that be, that constantly vote in favor of corporations scream about. The funny thing is, the people who feel this email is true, are all poor Republicans. I still can't figure out why someone who makes less than $150K a year would vote for them, as they're the ones being shafted, but they do. Then they bitch that things made overseas are the problem, even though none of them ever worked in a factory! The very policies they support are the ones that keep them down.

papy, they can't even make a decent cup of coffee at the cafes in Marks and Spencer. It's like it's been sitting in the urn for 12 hours, even in the morning. But I never actually ventured out of the grocery area into the clothing area. I just didn't like what I saw in the windows. I saw the clothing in the windows as I did their coffee... Last year's and not very palatable. But it sucks that they're using cheap overseas labor for what they charge.

As far as Chinese goods go, I do have a few pairs of Chinese slippers that have stood the test of time. I mean, I've had them since I was in my 20s. I used to love those things. I do think it depends on the manufacturer, no matter in what country something is made. The cheaper the price, the shoddier the workmanship. Which is why I smile everytime I see someone's counterfeit, made in China "Channel" or "Louis Vuitton" bag break on the subway.

masterchaz, I hate to disappoint you. But it's Thrope, not Thorpe. As in a misanthropic bitch. As someone very close to the ports of NYC and NJ, I'm really not happy about Dubai taking over the ports on a number of levels. From their support of Al Qaeda, to Dubai Ports World's active boycott of Israel. Yet on the other hand, Dubai is a country that does welcome foreigners and their cultures. 80% of the population are foreigners from other cultures. But with the current adminstration trying to wipe the entire Middle East off the map, it's really a confusing situation. Well, here's hoping this is what finally gets Bush impeached.

red, the ports thing is big because two of the 9/11 hijackers were from Dubai. There is evidence the country supports Al Qaeda. The company is part of an active boycott against Israel. Bush has spent the past four plus years doing his best to instill xenophobia on the country, as far as anything from the Middle East goes. It's worked and now his own party is turning on him for this. Britian is our ally, the United Arab Emirates are not.

Lianna, Egypt? The Bangladeshi shops must all be unionizing. If you work in a union shop there, you make more than some people in this country. A few months ago, the union there won a suit where Taj Knitting was underpaying employees. They were paying them apprentice wages after the apprenticeship period was up and not paying overtime. Well, here's the relevent part story:

An agreement has been reached in a conflict over the payment of minimum wages and overtime for workers at Taj Knitting in Bangladesh.

BIGUF, the union representing workers at the factory, fought for four months to secure compensation for workers who were wrongly being paid an ‘apprentice wage’ or who were being denied overtime pay. The agreement includes compensation for back wages.

The Bangladesh Labour Code allows manufacturers to pay new employees an apprentice wage of 8 US$, which is well below the 15 US$ minimum wage. Many employers claim that first-time workers need several months to learn the job, but in most cases these workers perform the same tasks as regular employees after a very brief period of training.

So, it's the same deal as in this country, with the women making pennies on the hour, while making garments for places like Wal*Mart. Illegal sweat shops, from the sound of it. I know the last time there was a bust in NYC, the workers were all making something like 50c an hour.

However, I also found this:

It would be great if the law governing working hours and wages could guarantee the average household in Bangladesh a decent standard of living. But wages in Bangladesh are persistently low, not because labour laws are weak or because workers lack unions. In fact, unions have considerable power in Bangladesh. Wages are low because there are so many poor people willing to work for dismal wages. What kind of law can change that?

Now, that's happening in this country too. I've seen ads for Level 1 desk support in the last few years, insisting on 5 years of experience and paying $9 an hour. And Ph.Ds in this area have been jumping on them, as once upon a time, they programmed in Cobol or some other nearly extinct computer language. Yes, Cobol programmers were paid handsomely, especially in the late 90s when they had to fix things or face the Y2K bug. They did an excellent job and then found themselves unemployed. When their unemployment ran out, many took what they could get. You used to be able to make a living in retail too. Most places paid commissions and bonuses. But now, most companies have done away with that, as if they don't try to keep prices down, they lose business to places like Wal*Mart, which has a truly diabolical corporate plan. Flood an area, put other retailers out of business and then close the stores in the chain that perform poorly, sickening an area economy further.

Oh, screw it. Let's get jobs at the Taj Knitting factory in Bangladesh and see how well we can live there for $15 an hour.

CantonOhCouple 60M/59F
553 posts
3/11/2006 5:18 am

The question should be about how any country, including the good ole USA, can insure that all of its citizens, if willing and able, earn a living wage. Outsourcing benefits shareholders, not citizens. So what's the solution? There really is no such thing as an "American" corporation in this day of global outsourcing. Companies look at the bottom line and buy their labor at the lowest cost.

As a "selfish shareholder", that's great. I feel a lot better about the few miserable shares of stock in our 401K. But feeding the kids and paying the bills takes an income, and that flushing sound you hear is American jobs swirling out of the country, at an ever accelerating rate.

RevJoseyWales 69M/66F
14393 posts
3/11/2006 5:25 am

Right on Ann! The problem is , if something isn'r done , sooner or later we'll have two classes here, the rich and the poor. When that happens, the next step is aremd revolt. That three pointed star is gonna be an excellent target when the barricades go up. What is the answer? I don't know, but I pray to the Gods we find one before it's too late. I don't want to be right on this one.

"McVeigh had the right idea, wrong address."

"This ain't Dodge City, and you ain't Bill Hickok."

MissAnnThrope 56F
11488 posts
3/11/2006 10:53 pm

Canton, in cases like IT, outsourcing ends up costing many companies more than if they hired a programmer at the local going rate. The $7 an hour programmers sounds good in concept, but they fall behind deadlines, there's the time difference, not quite understanding what the company wants, etc. Lots of companies have been pulling their IT back into this shore, as in the long run, they were paying more. However, for every company that pulls their programming back onshore, there's another company that hasn't read the reports and figures outsourcing is a good idea. Call centers are starting to pull their centers back onshore, as people can't understand the accents of the people in the foreign call centers and are treated badly by the people there. If enough customers complain and start to take their business elsewhere, companies do start to listen. However, the loopholes in NAFTA that allowed companies to take manufacturing to Mexico is hurting things a lot.

fastfifties, the gap is growing. The personal wealth of the top 2% keeps going up, while the personal wealth of the lower 10% is going down. I wouldn't be surprised if armed revolt happened. But what really confuses and amazes me are the people who are willing to continue to vote Republican, who don't care about overtime pay, who don't care about cuts to their services, who are working for $9 an hour and barely keeping it together. What is wrong with these people? Do they really object to gay marriage and abortion so badly that they're willing to be next to homeless to make sure fags and women don't have rights to their own bodies?

MissAnnThrope 56F
11488 posts
3/12/2006 3:48 pm

LoveSpell, they had to add that warning. In the early 80s, there were a few cases of disposable lighters exploding as people lit them. A few were Bics. For a month or so, the people it had happened to were all over the news. It was suggested, flick the lighter at arm's length and then bring it in to light your cigarette. You wouldn't believe how many of us did this for a while, before just deciding it was too much of a hassle, especially outside. That's when I went out and bought my first Calibri. These days, I have a nice assortment of wind-proof lighters for smoking outside.

rm_VoodooGuru1 49M
2053 posts
3/15/2006 7:29 am

I will try to be brief. As I'm sure you know, I could go on about this subject for chapters.

What you're talking about a lot in this essay is the Multiplier Effect. Even those shirts made in Bangladesh employ the American dockworker, truck driver, sales clerk, and store manager.

Even Afghani poppies help to employ Americans... there is a social good in almost any kind of trade. Matter of fact, I've often thought that the Canadian marijuana trade would be an excellent petri dish to examine the long debated argument of fiscal activism v. free market correction.

Wal*Mart is evil. They are evil in so many other ways than their aversion to US goods; however, since they see China as a huge market for their brand of crap, and they're opening more stores in China this year than in the US, they have a huge prejudice for Chinese goods - keeps 'em in the good graces of their Chinese masters.

There is a difference between Chinese goods and goods made in other developing country. Chinese goods are often produced using slave labor, most other countries pay slave wages, but wages are paid, and the workers are free to leave. So the shirt you bought in Wal*Mart was made by a a woman who was arrested for practicing Falon Gong, thrown in jail for ten years, and forced to make that shirt for NO money, and she CAN'T leave her job.

Whereas, the shirt from Target was made in Sri Lanka, perhaps by a 16 year old girl, but the girl earns a living wage, is free to leave, and considers herself fortunate to have the job. She's free to marry, to practice her religion, to take a job at the Nike factory for US$0.10 more an hour.

Automobiles... I may have to post separately on this.

rm_VoodooGuru1 49M
2053 posts
3/15/2006 11:13 am

Oh yeah, couple things I forgot to mention...

The crude oil might have come from Saudi Arabia, but the petrol, or "GAS", was made in the US or Canada by some oiled up motherfuckers who refuse to make capital investments in additional refining capacity.

... And I usually fill-up at the Quik-Fil, which is the cheapest petrol off the res, and uses only petrol refined from North American crude.

Finally, the last calculator I bought was a TI-83. The "T" stands for "Texas", 'cause that's where it was made.

MissAnnThrope 56F
11488 posts
3/17/2006 1:43 pm

Voodoo, I think I did make the point that foreign goods employ American workers, as they don't make it to the store shelves by magic. As far as poppies go, both those grown for pharmeceutical companies and those sold to the manufacturers of street drugs serve an economic purpose. A successful drug dealer can make as much as an executive at a drug company.

While Sri Lanka has strong labor unions, most garment workers aren't in union shops. However, while outsiders talk about the deplorable condtions in some shops there, they admit the girls working in those shops have enough to live and to send money back home. That isn't the case in China. Nor does China have the laws about child labor other countries have.

I completely did forget to mention the oil is refined here. Thank you for mentioning that.

The only calculators I've ever owned have been free with subscriptions, free gifts for ordering something, etc. I've never actually put down money for one in my life.

And feel free to rant away on the automotive trade.

And thank you for pointing out all of this. I sent my post to everyone who had been sent the email. I love the reply to all button. One of the people took great offense and had to show up in chat after being gone for months. Just to tell me what a moron I am, how I'm not half as smart as everyone thinks I am, he's got a Master's degree, what do I have, etc. What does this man do for a living? Used car salesman, and foreign cars at that. Heh. I guess he missed the point of what I had to say completely.

24 posts
6/12/2006 3:01 am

Hard t make a living here 2.

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