Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Pledge


I love nothing better than a 
great flea market or antique store
and my kids get equally excited
to while away an hour or so there, too.

  To them, it is like discovering treasure.


My daughter is always on the hunt
for vintage dog figurines to add to
her collection.  My son likes frogs
as well as other boyish collectibles,
such as spy-glasses and compasses.


On a recent trip to an antiques mart,
I was struck by their surprise whenever
they turned an item over looking for
a price tag or an identifying mark,
crowing,  Mommy, it's made in
the USA!  In their young lives, this
has been the exception and not the rule.


Which got me thinking about how 
ubiquitous the Made in China sticker
has become in our lives.....

While I love 

Chinese
tea


games



history and culture



food


fireworks


even dogs and cats....



There is one Chinese thing I do not like: 
 the prevalence of their manufactured
 items found in our U.S. stores. 




The Chinese dominance in manufacturing 
makes me mourn the days when our own
craftsmen and artisans created 
millions of items with pride and our
domestic corporations churned out typewriters 
and washing machines, televisions and telephones.


{This is one reason that I'm so drawn to vintage.}


Low labor costs in China mean lower wholesale 
expenses for companies and lower retail prices for us, 
the consumers.  Sadly, inspections and standards
of working conditions in China are not as rigorous 
as they are in the USA and sweatshops and child labor 
are a still a reality in that country.  China also has 
environmental problems that continue to get worse every
year due to factory pollution.  And, China is a communist 
country, diminishing the hard work and goodness 
of some of its people in order to benefit others.

Chinese children making toys

Chinese children making fake designer boots

Of my international friends, I ask:  
Do products made in China dominate 
the stores in your countries?  
If they do, what are your feelings about this topic?

For me, the true cost of these low price 
items is too high.  
I believe that my family can choose
alternative things to those made in China.  
So, for the month of October, I am 
pledging not to purchase Chinese manufactured goods..  

Nada.

Zilch.  Zippo.

It will take awareness.
It will take intent.


What are your thoughts on this subject?
Care to to join me in my challenge? 

 I'd sure love your company.



[mages: 1-3, P&H;
4-17 flickr {click for attribution}
18-20 Google sources {click}]

48 comments:

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Certainly something to think about and strive for!!! The fact that the Chinese impose restrictions on how many children their citizens can have, and yet "allow" these very young children to work, is the worst part of it to me.

Jo said...

Wonderful post!
This is a topic that is often discussed in our home. I support you and will happily join you!

Jo

Laura said...

A few years ago, high lead levels in toys was a hot topic... I was a new Mum and so was understandably worried. That Christmas I brought only toys made in the UK or USA... they did come with a higher price tag, but the peace of mind was priceless and it simply meant that there was a little less that year... Years on, my daughters still love the tea set we brought and it has stood up to a good battering over the years! Quality over quantity wins hands down every time! Lx

Jill said...

Good Morning Suzanne,

I avoid the dreaded "Made in China" tag at all costs...it's one reason I rarely shop at Pottery Barn anymore! Great post on an important subject.
Have a wonderful day!
xo~Jill

traci said...

way to get our minds thinking this morning. i will admit that i am not always checking like i should. but thanks for waking me up a bit my dear.

and i just love the song that's playing. I love Lee!

Claudia said...

I absolutely will join you. I already try to avoid these items, but I must admit that some things get by my radar. I agree about the abhorrent conditions that prevail in China. If more of us stopped buying these things, the demand would fall.

xo
Claudia

Farmgirl Paints said...

You and my dad could join arms and march through the streets together:) To be honest I don't really think about it, but I should. Such a good post Suzanne.

vignette design said...

My daughter won't buy toys made in China because of the lead scare. Also, for all the reasons you stated. I agree with you Suzanne. I will also pledge to only buy American. We only buy local food right now too, another important subject. We're going to Italy mid October and I'm going to see if Made in China is prevalent there as well. I'll report back...

Blondie's Journal said...

I once bought a bag of sand at Target and was shocked when I turned it over and read "Made In China"! As if we don't have sand in the U.S.

As consumers, we need to buy American. This is a great post and a point well made.

XO,
Jane

* French Farmhouse 425 * said...

~*I'm with you Suzanne~*~*Such a touching post~*Rachel

Hilary @ Sweet as June said...

well said! I am up for the challenge.

Seizing My Day said...

So beautifully written! I am with you - nada in the month of October!! I have been pretty good over the last few years ... my kids point out... "oh mommy... it is made in china" I think I have made my impact! Perhaps I will let my little girl read this post! to open her little mind a wee bit more! =) I love a good antique shopping day !! =)

hometown girl said...

my husband and i talk about this all the time. more and more i look for the made in the usa and when i find it it makes me smile.....which is a reason i love vintage too. hugs, susan

Anne - Fiona and Twig said...

I am so with you on this, Suzanne. This too is one big reason I am so drawn to vintage goods, myself.

Important post, I love how you always make me think. :-)

Have a wonderful Thursday!
Hugs,
Anne

LuLu & Co. said...

We I vintage i always turn it over and look for the made in USA or England... love my english treasures too. This is a great post and hope more and more are aware of it.
xo,
LuLu

Blooming Rose Musings said...

This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I definitely pledge not to buy Chinese manufactured goods in October. A couple of years ago there was a pet food scare and I lost a very sweet little kitty because of the cat food...a very well known upscale American brand but had been made in China! I hardly ever shop at Pottery Barn or Home Goods because almost everything is made in China. Believe me, I miss those stores but I resent everything being made in China. Let us support our economy by trying to find things made in America. Fabulous Post!!!

Alisa said...

Great post, Suzanne!
I think I will try it this month too.
By the way, I also think you should be writing a "food for thought" column for a magazine or newspaper... just sayin'. :)

Beach House Living said...

Bravo! Well said. The one thing that gets me is the re-usable bags so many purchase. It takes a lot of uses to negate the carbon foot print it took to make and get them to the US. Surely there is some old tote bag laying around the would suffice just as well. What gets me is the new American flag purchased for our office flag pole was made in China.

Olive Cooper said...

I am with you. I am afraid we have sold the countries soul to China.

Tamarah said...

Oh Suzanne I SO AGREE....When I was packing my bags to leave for the US Mr SVJ asked if I was going to take some Aussie souvenirs with me....I looked at him as if he had just THROWN OUT a precious piece of my junk & squarked, "Are you FREAKIN' kidding me....They're all made in FREAKIN' China....???"

In Oz over the last few years manufacturing has 'moved offshore' at an alarming rate....I have REFUSED to buy anything made in China, India or Thailand for several years now but it's getting harder & harder.... ** sigh ** What in the SAM HECK are our governments thinking....THANK HEAVENS for vintage is all I can say....!!

Cheers for now from a TEMPORARILLY AGRO Aussie,
Tamarah :o)

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning dearest friend.....about my post that you visited last night, I just posted it last night but wrote it last weekend! THAT IS WHY it looks as if you missed it, but not really! I am so glad that you got MARIE and that you enjoyed her. I love taking my drawings, scanning them and then making copies to give out. I SO AGREE WITH THIS POST SUZANNE; in fact, just yesterday, I was thinking about how GREAT it is to try to buy vintage, recycled, or antique in order to avoid buying anything new these days. You are SO ON TARGET with the right reasons why we need to avoid these products. I remember a while back when the pet food contamination just broke our hearts...and how this nation's industry was to blame. I vowed to never buy any food products made there...I used to buy for example, garlic powder from the market without even reading the label...MADE IN CHINA?????? No thank you, DANKE NEINE.....so I found that Trader Joe's brand is not from there.....thank you for this informative, ALWAYS WELL-WRITTEN and challenging post. I do miss the days when a label said, USA. I just think about all the people here that need work, and the loss of AMERICAN CRAFTMANSHIP. Thank you dear, dear friend.....Anita

Miss Sew & So said...

brilliant post suzanne!!

i agree 100%!!

the wonderful things about china are washing over our younger generation who think that china is all about *plastic*...my 5 year old will state "no this is made of wood so it's not from china"!!!!

i do think about these things...and since moving to britian i have found it alot easier than australia in terms of shopping as i, and my kids, are not faced with huge shopping malls, targets or the like where chinese *rip-offs* made by children are everywhere!

i'm sure i can't think of the last *chinese* item i bought that was not tea or paper...i lived in japan and we have a thing for oriental papers...

but i am standing beside you and taking the pledge my dear friend...and will be checking with vigilance all my purchases...

as you know i have just done my christmas shopping and i feel great knowing that all was made in britian, europe, by myself...or is vintage...

love your posts...

melissa xoxox

Flaviana said...

Hi Suzanne
I so appreciated your raising awareness on this topic !I don't know the rest of Europe but Italy is practically invaded by Chinese products. They're everywhere from clothes to home supplies,toys and what's worse is that once a week we hear on the news that entire containers of goods -mostly toys or FOOD- have been confiscated because they're dangerous for the health. it drives me nuts, really.

I'm the fist in line to join you on this challenge !
Your posts are always insightful, thank you !
xxx a big hug

Cashon&Co said...

FANTASTIC POST.
something i don't think about often, sometimes, but then i go on my way. we do need to make a change in our consumption of import products to give our own country jobs and to keep equality and make a statement to the other countries that we support fair trade. GREAT post friend.

Days at Buttermilk Cottage said...

I'm accepting your challenge and pledge NOT to buy anything from China during the month of October. I'm afraid I've become somewhat unaware in the past few years of where things are manufactured. Thanks for twekking my awareness.
Susan

pretty pink tulips said...

I agree that we should support our own artisans and craftsman. Talk about a boost to our economy! I can't promise I'll go cold turkey, but my awareness is up now and I will absolutely turn things over to see where they are made. Awareness is the first step to change! Thank you for this thought provoking post, Suzanne!!!
xoxoE

Linda in AZ * said...

* !!!!! A H*U*G*E "H*O*O*A*H" & "WAY TO G*O", Suzanne!!!!!!

Lori Miller, Round barn Potting Co. said...

Suzanne, I am with you! HATE the
-made in China- label.

~Long Live Vintage !!!

Thanks so much for visiting and leaving the fab comment...I'll see you at the Barn.
Lori

SHERRY HART said...

Even more reason to recycle, reuse and repurpose! I have been to China and seen the conditions that most Chinese live in. It truly is eye opening and really makes you appreciate the USA. I was in Beijing which is FILTHY beyond words. I will do my best to be conscious of where my purchases are coming from.
Good post.

Anonymous said...

Great post! We agree with Sherry... recycle, reuse, repurpose!!

E+J

Jeanie said...

Love the photo of your sweet kitty in the towels! I think it's terrific your kids love to go antiquing -- it can be a history lesson or just fun and collecting is such a blast. (Of course, we may be developing a generation of clutter hungry hoarders, but we won't go there!)

China -- I'm of mixed feelings but by and large, agree with you. Sometimes you have to buy it -- but I always feel a little dirty when I do, and frankly, if the price differential isn't too bad, will avoid it. But I am going to give your pledge my best shot. It's one worth heeding.

Anonymous said...

Hugs hugs hugs to you my dear! I am so excited to be in the company with others that have the same interests! I am so thankful for the blog party that brought so many of us together!
I am so inspired.....my list is so long! Sew quilts for my boys' beds vs. buying from PB, redo my bedroom furniture, and travel to more flea markets, etc.
Would love to have coffee again.

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

This made in China driven way of life scares me to, but it seems inevitable...which I know sounds terribly pessimistic of me. I must say I,personally, am paying much more attention these days to where things come from.

Fearless Nester said...

Yes Suzanne I too love vintage and I find myself preferring always a natural material such as glass versus anything plastic. I do need to wean myself away from my bottled water even though I recycle, but I most certainly will join you in your wonderful pledge! Got my thinking cap on now, thanks to you! ~Lili

koralee said...

Well said and great point..I will follow along my friend.

Those images of children make me soooooo sad.

Thank you so much for this today. xoxoxoxo

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Sign me UP!

If you have a moment, please stop by and enter my FAB FALL FRENCH GIVEAWAY.

My Grama's Soul said...

Good morning Suzanne....you have certainly hit upon a sore spot in our country.....because we produce so little for the world market anymore...it is going to affect the future generations greatly....Let's hope Americans wake up to this fact and realize the importance of staying loyal to American products and reusing those that can be recycled. I'll jump on this bandwagon with you.

Well said.....friend.

Xo

Jo

Dovecote Decor said...

I am way at the bottom of this conversation, Suzanne. I have been a witness to this transition living next to High Point, N.C. Dedicated American manufacturers have held on as long as they could. You cannot blame the manufacturers, in this case, at all times. Sharing the blame with government bureaucratic over-kill. OSHA and its counterparts have created untenable requirements for American businesses, creating a default mode that creates a uniform code based on the lowest common denominator. Responsible employers, and wonderful smaller businesses have been penalized beyond belief, for the bottom of the barrel, making commerce in America, an impossible dream. Read Phillip K. Howard's: The Death of Common Sense, to understand the full scope of this situation. It is a quick, but penetrating read and I recommend it to everyone. We can all agree that vintage and repurposed buildings is a more satisfying and sustainable way to live, but we still imagine and satisfy the American consumer craving for the new, and some of it is stunning, not to mention extremely well priced and accessible.
That's my gigantic .10 cents,
Best,
Liz

Happy Homemaker UK | Laura said...

What an intriguing challenge. We just moved to England from the US and I have to say things are made in a larger variety of countries. As you would expect, the prices are a lot higher and as a result, everyone just does with less.

I found your lovely blog through A Place For Tea

XO Laura

{Amy} said...

I could not agree more. And my feelings are that yes, far too many of our items are manufacture din China, but more that that, they are not made in the US. We need the jobs, money and stability here in our own country. great post!

lisaroyhandbags said...

Great post!
The unfortunate thing is that people want to spend less and so places like Walmart have become shops of choice for so many. The only way to eliminate Made In China items is to boycott stores that primarily carry this cheap merchandise and sadly I can't see that happening. I prefer vintage and handmade goods from sites like Etsy to support artisans and others who feel the same way but they also cost more and sadly in this economy, price is overriding ethics. xo

Teresa said...

I do love to see the words "Made In America". It makes me proud, and definitely more inclined to buy.

Holly @ Roller Coaster Life said...

I love buying made in the usa stuff! I hate that children work like that over there! I hate that it is a communist country... BUT some of us can not afford the amazing things that were made here in the US... Some of the things made here are just too much money compared to something that was made over there... so sad and I hate it but my kids matter to me too!

It is a tough subject! If i have a choice and can afford the USA product that is most certainly the one I buy! We do support our local farms and businesses here though for sure! I don't buy flowers at home depot I buy them from an amazing woman who grows her own flowers in the ground like they should be!

Now I am rambling!

kerrie said...

This is a worthy pledge you are making and I will join you...but not just for October. It is in my thoughts while shopping and I do try to pay attention to what I'm purchasing and choose made in USA as often as possible. I've tried to teach my children the importance of our choices also...read the labels, like we do on food for ingredients too. It is one of the reasons I like vintage too. It makes me sad how much our country has/is changed/changing. I've been trying to return to the simple ways...I think many of us are. One person does make a difference.

Amanda said...

Great post Suzanne. It is a worry isn't it? Even some of our iconic NZ food brands are now sourcing and packing in China, and I just can't go there. Sometimes it is worth paying a little more to keep our own artisans in work. I think this, but unfortunately not all of my customers do when they query the price of some items. xx

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

"Awareness and intent". What could be better? Love this.

1 Funky Woman said...

What a fantastic pledge and post. I have often been bothered by how many things are made in other countries particulary China. Can I take that pledge, not sure but I am really going to start looking at everything and let you know if I end up passing on the item or not!

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