Monday, October 07, 2013

I don't understand.

I work for a pretty big time chain and it sells toys. Usually just a few but with the whole Christmas thing coming up we've stocked a ton of toys and they're already selling. That's not my point. Toys are great. I had some growing up. I have some now. No worries.

The toys come in two colors of boxes red for anybody and pink for... well, those appear more targeted at a specific market. I'll let you decide which. They're primarily dolls. There are a couple pink box toys that floor me. There's a box of "cleaning" toys with tiny mops, sponges, scrub brushes, and a pail. Pink Box. There's a box of cooking toys with pots and pans and dishes in it. Pink box. There's a shopping box with a lot of plastic food in it that we don't carry... you know, fresh veggies, anathema to the American diet. Pink Box. Those strike me as weird.

The main point is that every box of all the toys, almost all of the plastic, are from China. They're currently priced at X. Buy 2 get on free. So, for 2X dollars you get three toys. If history is any indication at some point they will go to buy 1 at X (the same X) and get TWO free. So then we're selling 3 toys for the same price we charge for one. And they're from China. Across the biggest ocean in the world.

How the hell is it cheaper to make all these toys in a country a bazillion miles away and then ship them here by ocean liner, train, and semi-truck to get to us with gas & diesel at the price they are, than to make them here in the US? I don't understand. What is wrong with our country that we can't make things here for us to use?

The people in China that make these toys and see them every day at the factory who know we will make more in an hour than one of these toys costs, who will get three of these for less than an hours work... they have to hate us. I can't imagine the conditions of the factories in which these people work or the pay these people get. I'm not advocating for toys beyond the cost of what is affordable but at some point we, as a society, have to accept some responsibility for the things we are doing, or allowing to be done. Yes. We all want cheap products, but at what cost? Will it make parents happy to see the conditions the factory workers are living and working in so they can afford to get Little Timmy a plastic truck he'll have broken and lost in two weeks? Or Little Tammy some nice plastic cleaning supplies so she can learn to be a better wife later in life? (Seriously? WTH?)

We want affordable stuff, but at what cost are we getting it?
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