Any computer geek or geek-in-training can use Google to search for a plethora of funny pics to commemorate any celebratory event to post, re-post or send along to others via text, e-mail, etc.
One such pic found through a simple Google search contains the slogan, “Let’s proudly wave our American flags made in China.” This tongue-in-cheek picture was to celebrate the recent Independence Day July 4th holiday in the United States. The same, no doubt, can be stated in regards to Canadian flags for Canada Day or to celebrate Canada’s 150.
This simple slogan can indeed provoke thoughts about the state of the world, especially in supposed “traditional,” “patriotic,” and “good ol’” North ‘Merica.
It’s hard to imagine a world where stuff was made in a country of origin, especially for patriotic purposes. An American or Canadian flag made in a country across the globe for Americans and Canadians to show their patriotic spirit is hard to swallow sometimes, but it is reality.
Walk into any dollar store or big box department store, and aisles are full of Made in Another Country goods and throw-away merchandise. That’s the North American way, it seems in 2017. Sure, there are some “Made in Canada” and “Made in America” products to purchase, but more often than not, many products are not made in North America.
For example — looking back, a few years ago a certain Canadian federal political party, concerned about the environment and keeping it local, gave away merch to members. The swag had “Made In China” etched on the bottom of it.
Canadians and Americans enjoy a good bargain. Dollar stores, discount boutiques and gift shops have popped up on every corner of the North American landscape. Visiting Banff or Waterton or any other Canadian National Park and their gift shops feature Canadian keepsakes made somewhere else. Luckily, it is hoped, maple syrup isn’t shipped in. Of course, there are some “Made in Canada” exceptions, which is great.
In any United States or Canadian tourist city or attraction souvenirs state, “I Love New York” or “I lost my shirt in Las Vegas” or “I Survived the Capilano Suspension Bridge,” or “Niagara Falls or Bust.” Most souvenirs are made somewhere else in any location. One often has to shake their head and wonder why? Answer: It’s cheap.
Has North America become cheap at its core? Perhaps. Has selling and buying cheap products become our destiny? Or are products expensive at the market place, therefore we need to find ‘em at the cheap? It is sadly a vicious circle. The cost to making products has gone up, therefore retailers need to charge more and there are so many other reasons products are more expensive than they used to be. On top of that, buying on the cheap is what the most of us tend to do and it has become our buying behaviour, for a high percentage of consumers.
There is no easy answer or resolve — other than trying to be somewhat of a conscious consumer. Know where products are made. Shop from retailers that have products to sell that you are OK with buying. And so on.
Many North Americans live paycheque to paycheque and don’t have a lot of extra cash to be a conscious consumer. That is why patriotic Americans and Canadians sometimes choose to buy that flag at a discount store Made in China — to show their pride or happiness. Because of that, maybe buying “Made in China” or elsewhere products is OK and has become a part of North American buying culture. Or, perhaps it’s just a phase?
A very long phase.