Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Labels

Just check the labels before you buy. It's easy. Made in China. Put it back. Not worth it. Screaming kid in the cart will be ok. Can't find a lamp under $400 NOT made in China? Use candles. Be steadfast. Easier said than done.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Think Global, Buy Local

It seems I can only manage a few posts on this blog every couple months. There is not much to say when you set your mind on not buying American-based company products made in China. Even though the 365 days of not buying stuff from China is over for the year 2011 I continue my mission well into 2012. Be that not always successful but definitely more conscious of what I choose to spend my money on and what I choose not too. While I am limiting myself to purchasing products not made in China I do make a point of purchasing US-made, locally produced, or fair-trade whenever possible. I will continue this type of consumer-consious purchasing empowerment 365 days of the year for the rest of my life. It's the only way I can honestly live in a society so driven by thoughtless consumerism.

Most recently I celebrated a birthday milestone. My family put together a small party and presented birthday gifts as is our tradition. However, on this birthday I recognized that every single gift from each of my family members was either locally-produced, fair-trade, hand-made, or organic. After blurting out my observation all agreed they did not collaborate on birthday gift ideas. I loved all the little treasures I received that night and vowed to continue the tradition of purchasing only locally-produced, hand-made, fair-trade, or organic gifts for the future.

It's amazing so many gems hidden right under ones nose. If only we all could wipe the lenses of our glasses to see things more clearly. Our health, our community, our world would thrive once again.

 I always loved this bumper sticker:

THINK GLOBAL, BUY LOCAL


Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Convenience of China

Holiday shopping has never been easier for me thanks to amazon.com's one click buying option. Open your laptop, pull up amazon.com (you're automatically logged in), and voila, based on your previous viewing history the fine folks at amazon.com have recommendations for you!  So what did I do? I clicked on the recommendations and within two minutes had most of my holiday shopping done. All of my nieces, nephew, and son are getting Melissa and Doug stamp sets for Christmas. It was SO easy and cheap I nearly patted myself on my back at how effective I had been at Christmas shopping this year. What kid wouldn't like a brand new stamp set? Melissa and Doug are a good company, right? I mean there name is Melissa and Doug. Two very typical American names. Their toys are often sold in natural and eco-friendly toy stores. Their packages often read "crafted by hand." I even remember watching a clip  on tv about how Melissa and Doug got started. As a budding business owner I found their story inspiring. If they could start a toy business out of the basement of Doug's parents house than I could start my own Pilates business in the basement of my own house! So you can imagine my surprise when I looked at the packaging of each stamp set I received only to find "Made in China" printed neatly on the back. I should have known better. Melissa and Doug are a huge company now, you can find their toys in all sorts of stores not just the eco-friendly ones. Of course they would need to produce all these toys in China. That doesn't work well for me and writing this type of blog. But now what do I do? I ponder sending back the stamp sets. I have almost always taken back an item to the store if I later find it's made in China. Exceptions being the school bus, the Elmo book, and a couple Thomas the Trains. My love/hate relationship with Thomas and Friends will have to wait for another post. Otherwise, I have stayed honest to my commitment on purchasing items NOT made in China. However, it's not exactly the most eco-friendly decision to send back the stamp sets as that would waste more oil in fuel. So I decided to wrap them and give away as presents.

It is very easy to lose oneself in the fast pace of today's society. To be drawn in to media, spoon-fed mis-leading information, convinced that these ideas are our own, and expected to keep up with the latest and greatest technology is the greatest failure in human history. Lack of awareness is destroying our planet. However, the key to change IS awareness. Everyday is an opportunity to create a better life for oneself and a more promising future for our children. Some days you one-click buy toys on amazon.com and find out they're made in China and other days you decide to enjoy the experience of shopping locally for unique toys handmade by skilled craftsman.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Help Wanted! Requisite - Must live in China.

From an email I received today...

General Electric is planning to move its 115-year-old X-ray division from Waukesha, Wis., to Beijing. In addition to moving the headquarters, the company will invest $2 billion in China and train more than 65 engineers and create six research centers. This is the same GE that made $5.1 billion in the United States last year. but paid no taxes-the same company that employs more people overseas than it does in the united States.
So let me get this straight. President Obama appointed GE Chairman Jeff Immelt to head his commission on job creation (job czar). Immelt is supposed to help create jobs. I guess the President forgot to tell him in which country he was supposed to be creating those jobs.
 
Check it out: GE Moves to China from Bloomberg Businessweek - Bloomberg.com

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cost Plus China Market

The umbrella on my outdoor patio set broke last summer. Instead of running out to buy a new one I actually made an honest attempt at fixing the broken umbrella. However, I couldn't figure it out and decided it was a lost cause. An umbrella for my patio set is not at the top of my list of things to purchase right now so I've been keeping an eye out for just the right one at just the right price. Every once in a while when I'm walking through Home Depot or Target I'll check the prices and country of origin on their umbrellas but have never been satisfied with the price tag and with the fact that each one is made in China.

Recently, I needed to get my home ready to host a wedding shower for my best friend. I knew it was going to be nice outside and wanted to have an umbrella for the patio set on the deck. I wasn't sure where to look since I didn't want to spend a lot of money when I remembered that the previous summer I had seen colorful cloth umbrellas at Cost Plus World Market. In true Marissa fashion, the wedding shower was only a day away and I had little time to prepare for the party so I drove over to Cost Plus World Market, found the display of umbrellas, picked out a brightly colored red one, paid for it and drove home. In my rush to buy some frivolous item for the party I didn't even think to check where it was made. In my subconscious mind I thought that all the products at Cost Plus World Market were made in India or Tibet. Why else would they have so many Buddah statues and figurines and other eastern odyssey expressions?

At home, I immediately opened the umbrella and noticed a small tag hanging on the top of the pole. "Made in China."

Shoot!

Once I had the umbrella situated over the patio table I notice a part of the frame holding the umbrella was broken.

Figures.

I duct taped the broken part of the frame and continued with my party preparations. After the party I closed the umbrella and took it back to Cost Plus China Market. Browsing through the store I checked every item that caught my attention. All of it was made in China. All of it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Who's throwing the tantrum now?

It has been almost 3 full months since I started NOT buying products made in China. I've only written 4 posts. Why? Because there's not much to talk about when you don't buy ANYTHING!

However, I have two confessions to make. A tiny yellow school bus. And a Sesame Street Elmo toddler book. When I said in an earlier post that the way I shop has changed completely, now I mean it even more. I can't even take my toddler son into stores with me now. If I do, a tantrum will surely ensue because I can't/won't buy this truck (made in China) or that ball (made in China) or a book (printed or manufactured in China).

Walking through Target in early February I had my son in the cart with me, we headed straight back to the aisle where the diapers are held. I picked up my item and started to head toward grocery (past the toy aisle). He spotted a plastic truck and wanted it immediately. I told him no. He screamed. I gave in and said you can hold it until we get to checkout. We picked up a few items in grocery and I remembered that the last time we left a toy truck at the checkout he screamed at me the whole way home so I decided to head to the toy aisle to put back the truck. Big mistake. He screamed again. And I was really getting "the look" from shoppers passing by. I derailed him to the book section and said "let's pick out a book instead." I found a cute search and find Sesame Street book with Elmo on the front, On Sale. So I grabbed it and told him to look at the pictures while I pushed the cart to the checkout line. It worked! No tantrum. Happy toddler. Happy momma. Got home and remembered that I didn't check where the book was made. Please don't let it be China. Yep, China. Oh shit, I thought. Should I take it back? But it was such a cute book. I should take it back, (my guilty conscious bubbling inside me). I can't post this. What will people say?

 Say what you want. I'm human and I'm a mom.

Weeks later I got myself in another situation where my son absolutely had to have this stupid yellow school bus. I had agreed to meet a friend at the mall to look for a casual bridesmaid dress. While we waited for her to arrive at the mall I saw a toy store nearby and pushed Alexander's stroller inside. I thought I would look for those refrigerator alphabet magnets. I found some nice wooden ones but they were made in China. I found some plastic ones too, but those were made in China as well. As I was talking to the store clerk about my dilema (not being able to find magnets not made in China) Alexander found a huge display of little toy trucks/cars/buses you name it, it was there. He specifically spotted a bright yellow school bus, which is one of his infatuations lately. He had to hold it. So I let him hold it. Big mistake #2. My friend showed up and I told Alexander we must be going now and it was time to put the school bus back.

Now here are the reasons for purchasing the $5 school bus: I don't have a lot of time to shop for things and I rarely make dates with friends so I needed a calm and happy toddler so we could accomplish the tasks during our shopping trip. What I've learned is that to be really disciplined in this mission I can not take my son shopping with me, until he's four. Now for anyone who is thinking, "just be stern with your child and say no when he wants something." Be assured that he is told "no" more often than not and has a very consistent father who doesn't give in as easily as me. Alexander's smart. He knows that a shopping trip is just another excuse to test the waters with me. Sometimes I win. And sometimes he wins. But most the time it's the damn American companies who manufacture their products in China that win.

You want jobs in America? Keep the money in America.