Monday, December 15, 2008

Watch What You Give and Get

China is back in the news, as a country poisoning our people. Another recall has emerged, for several toys made in the Asian country, containing toxic substances.

Last year, toys, pet food and more recently, even milk from China were all contaminated with deadly materials.

I personally always avoid anything made from that country. I’m sure China is a nice place to visit, but their lack of care for quality sends red alert signals through my veins. And it should through yours too.

Our government is comprised of politicians too pussy-whipped to take a stand on protecting us from products made in China. There was a proposed law on the books, Prime Minister Stephen Harper even said he’d put through the legislation as soon as possible. But, as with many things politicians say, nothing actually happened.

Now that the government is on vacation – some may say that since Harper took office it has been on permanent vacation – any hopes of having greater regulations in place to protect consumers from dangerous products from third-world countries may just be that – hope.

So, it is up to you and me to police ourselves. We must take matters into our own hands, and just stop buying anything which may kill either ourselves or those we care about.

It isn’t easy – you’d be surprised at how much crap a third-world country can churn out. Just about everything is made in China these days. Which may in some cases going without.

The key is working together as a population – if everyone in the country just says no to anything produced in China, eventually companies will stop farming off their production to that third-world country.

Maybe they will actually wake up, and realize that although it is cheaper to pay people in some other country to build their products, if no one in this country is purchasing those products because of where they are made, they will eventually bring production – and jobs – back to our country.

I remember a long time ago, I worked for a software company which at the time, started sending out some of our development to a third-party company in India. Instead of paying software developers here about $60/hour, they were able to pay $8/hour for the same job.

Problem was, all the software that came back from the Indian programmers was flawed. It either didn’t work at all, or it would have major crashes when interacting with other applications – or even just on it’s own. Everything had to be checked and sent back and forth between our development teams and the one in India just to get anything to work.

What was supposed to be a cost savings measure actually turned out to cost the company more, because it took longer to get products to market. Because of the software delays, the company lost customers and eventually went out of business.

Not all companies using cheap Chinese labour will go belly-up, nor will all suffer.
I am always surprised by how low prices often wins out over quality. Near me, there is a shopping mall with mostly dollar-type stores. These stores sell things made pretty much everywhere but North America, for bargain basement prices.

You can buy a pack of four light bulbs at one for one dollar – though I bet they’d last no longer than one night, if that. They sell supposedly brand name products too – I saw a bottle of Tide laundry detergent at one, going for a couple of bucks. I read the label and found it was made in Sri Lanka and had a production date of July 2004 – over four years ago. Wonder if it would actually clean my clothes?

I’ve got to this mall early, to get a hot chocolate and a muffin on my way to work, and surprisingly, people line up to get into these dollar stores.
Bargain hunting is fun, but at what cost?

The cost of having to replace a couple of light bulbs that burned out the next day? The cost of buying new clothes after a laundry detergent destroys them? The cost of a person’s life, after consuming something toxic?

Don’t buy anything made in China – or other third-world countries. Unless of course, you just don’t care about yourself, or those around you.

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