Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Made In China

We did it to ourselves.

We have adopted the Wal-Mart mentality and chased low prices to its ultimate end. We are now enjoying the results with random bouts of poisonous toys, dangerous food additives, fake drugs and faulty tires.

The press is at least 6 years late getting to this story, but now that they are many retailers are being more proactive with product testing and third party certifications. The Chinese have responded by shooting certain officials. All are guilty of the greatest sin in Chinese business, they were caught.

Shame on the Chinese, more importantly SHAME ON US. In the channel from manufacturer to retailer, the majority of the profit generated on any given product is at the retailers. All of their purchase contracts express the requirements for products that are in compliance with US law. Until now though, they were seldom checked. The retailers have avoided looking for many reasons. The end result though has been the carryover of flakey Chinese business practices to our shores. The retailers have all pointed to the Chinese for making substandard product. If the retailers had actually LOOKED at what they were selling maybe we would not be at this point. Chinese manufacturers of course can not be held responsible in this country. So who is?

I think it is time that retailers were held primarily responsible for the dangerous imports they put on their shelves when the manufacturers are out of reach.


Ed Abbey said...

All I can do is raise both my hands and yell AMEN!

Notsocranky Yankee said...

Six years ago we had an au pair from Poland and I used to point out to her that almost everything was made in China. It became one of our little jokes whenever either of us got something we thought was unique, we'd turn it over to reveal "made in China". Argghh! While we laughed, I also let her know how depressing it was.

We haven't been to WalMart for years because of their merciless business practices and local economy destruction. Walmart is second after the US as a whole in trade with China -- ahead of several European countries combined. I don't know how long we can tolerate it.

sage said...

I certainly don't want to be considered a protectionist, but I think we should have strict standards on stuff coming into this country--to prevent both terrorism and also unsafe protects--and the cost for the testing should be passed along up front making goods from off-shore more expensive. The idea of a 50 cent doll selling for 20 bucks is insane. But the idea of the doll selling for a buck is also insane because we certainly have too much stuff in this country.

Balloon Pirate said...

This is yet another instance where the 'What's good for business is good for America' lie is exposed. The small-government/big business factions that have run this country since the Reagan years have allowed this to happen.

They offered us bread and circuses; we didn't notice the bread was poisoned.


Leesa said...

I thought adding radiator fluid in tooth paste was a good thing? You mean the ADA did not endourse that additive? I have tried boycotting most products from China for now - but you know, it is hard to know which products are from China. I did not know how many products were out there until recently.

mal said...

Ed- eeyup *G*

Not So- I am not sure how long we can stand either of them.

Sage- I think of all the land fills that are closed now because they are full. We really need to rethink what "Standard of Living" means

BP- "Whats good for General Bullmoose"? *L* I grew up with Al Capp. He sure had a lot of it right

Leesa- physical properties wise, Ethylene Glycol and Propylene Glycol are almost identical except one is poisonous, one is not and one is more expensive than the other. Want to guess which is which? Hint: go read the label on your vanilla extract

AndiJF said...

It's instructive to compare and contrast the attitudes to accountability and "finding a bad guy" in this "Made In China" piece and in August 7th's "Hind Sight".

Retailers make judgement calls on the safety of products sourced from China, because their customers (That's *us* BTW) like cheap stuff. Public authorities make judgement calls about crumbling bridges because their constituents like cheap stuff (AKA low taxes). Would it be possible to test and fix every plastic toy shipped from China, and every rusty road-bridge? Possibly. Would we be prepared to pay the price?

Oh, and getting caught is not the greatest sin in Chinese business alone; it's true everywhere.