Fonticulus Fides

Monday, November 17, 2003

This is old news about a crib toy made in China that utters a rhythmic "I hate you" message over and over again, but it just came to my attention.

A mother interviewed in the article speculates that the Chinese put the message in on purpose. "China is no friend of ours," she says.

Well, you wouldn't think so if you inspected most of the products on today's store shelves. I tried to do some Christmas shopping over the weekend (I want to get it all out of the way before I get too enormous pregnancy-wise), and while I was able to easily pick out some board games for nieces and nephews that were made in the U.S.A. and a couple other friendly nations, I struck out on infant toys. I must have looked at every single infant toy available, and without fail, they were all made in China.

Because of Chinese policy on family size, euthanasia and religion, I do my best not to buy anything made in China. And boy, it's tough to do and still maintain a budget. I buy almost all my kids' clothing used, except shoes & undies. Well, I might buy a pair of dress shoes used, if there was little or no wear showing on them, but not for every-day shoes. But I can't afford to spend $38 on a pair of kids' shoes that my young ones will wear less than a year. The obvious choice is to go to Payless, but every single pair of shoes that I've ever inspected there have been made in China. (The web site doesn't tell you this, btw. You have to look at the shoe itself.) And even though I'm just representing one small U.S. family, I feel compelled to "vote with my pocketbook" and avoid Chinese-made items when I can.

Still, I have had to give in on occasion. Edyn's wearing a pair of Payless shoes right now. I regret it, but at the time it was a choice between a shoeless child and buying one under-$10 item made in China. Siiiigh.

I wish more people who are opposed to Chinese policies would be more diligent about the items they buy. But it is sooo hard. You can't even count on a Catholic bookstore to avoid stocking China-made merchandise. I bought some Christmas ornaments at our local Catholic bookstore last year, thinking for sure that they'd be okay, but when I got home and took them out of the packaging, I was stunned to see every last one of them was stamped "Made in China."

But does this woman in the article have a point that the Chinese are purposely trying to hurt our kids? Well, thinking back on the recalls I've seen, last year there were Gymboree stuffed toys made in China that had to be recalled because they had needles and sharp metal chards sewn into them. And just a few weeks ago, there was another recall for Chinese-made Lamaze toys coated in lead paint. In fact, Chinese manufacturers routinely have recalls due to lead paint. They keep painting that crap on baby toys and sending it over. Are they trying to hurt our young?

I wouldn't put it past them. After all, they gamely slaughter thousands of their own babies every year.

Please, if you disagree with Chinese policy like I do, pay attention to the items you are purchasing and find alternatives to "Made in China" whenever you can. If enough of us do our part, the trade relationship our nation has with China will soon begin to crumble. You can also write companies like Gymboree and Lamaze, who are supposed to be family-friendly, and ask them to be more careful in choosing their manufacturers. Meanwhile, know that the more you support U.S. manufacturers, the more they will be able to compete on price.



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