The Only Products Still Made In America Are Fortune Cookies!


Ok… so this is a bit of an exaggeration.

But as I was siting at Fong’s Chinese restaurant a couple of days ago here in snowy Utah, I noticed that my Chinese food happened to be served on a plate – from China. Then I saw that my plastic water cup was also made in China. My knife and fork? China. The salt and pepper shakers? You guessed it… China.

Finally, at the end of my meal, I was presented with the bill – which was delivered in a fancy black folder similar to ones in many restaurants. Though it had no country of manufacture listed, it appeared to be made in “Mastercard”, since that was the only writing on the folder.

With the bill, of course, came a set of two fortune cookies.

Now, one of the most interesting things about fortune cookies is that they are an American tradition, with roots in… America. The Chinese don’t eat fortune cookies unless they are Americanized! Somehow this ritual of a deep fried batter cookie covering a tiny rectangular paper with a usually inaccurate fortune on one side and some randomly generated numbers on the other has become a tradition with the purveyors and connoisseurs of Chinese food.

Naturally, after attaching “…in bed” to the end of my otherwise typically droll fortune, I examined the wrapper to verify that everything I touched on this delightfully oriental evening had its origins in some other country.

But I was shocked to find out that these cookies were actually made in America! National City, Illinois to be exact. The Baily Fortune Cookie Company. Hmmm…

Now, one might think this was unimportant or hardly worth mentioning. But then I had some shopping to do, and went to a couple of different stores around town. As much as I don’t like shopping at stores like Wall Mart and Target, these happened to be the stores I frequented this night.

As I was searching for a few household necessities at my local “Super Target”, I began to read the labels of the things I was interested in, thinking that maybe I should start practicing what I preach and make sure that I am buying American made products. Now, this is not to be confused with products that are distributed by an American company, for that is just deceptive marketing to hide the country of export by these huge distribution companies that do not ever buy American.

And so, as I glanced at the labels to verify the pride of the U.S.A. in my purchases, I was… disappointed, to say the least. In fact, I was absolutely shocked! There were almost no products in Target that were made in America. Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and other known sweatshop imported products filled the shelves. And while an occasional Made In America product was prominently featured, most of these were from tried and true conglomerates and mega-corporations that no doubt manufacture in such bulk that their prices can barely (just barely) compete with those of the enslaved third-world. And so the thought of seeing a mom-and-pop produced gadget or gizmo, or at least one that hasn’t been bought up by these large monopolistic conglomerates – who keep the “local” or “small town” name on their hostile taken-over products for marketing purposes – flew right out the window.

In the end, I couldn’t help but buy non-American. I wasn’t sure what I could do about this, but I wondered if this was the case at the other low-price stores…

Wall Mart…

Man, I walked into my local (and I use that word quite ironically) Wall Mart store – again a giant Mega Super Wall Mart – and was by now not so surprised to find the same situation – foreign products distributed by American companies at extremely low prices. On a side note, this whole Wall Mart thing is really eerie. The majority of people who shop there are… interesting. That’s a nice way of saying, “Oh my God! What the hell has happened to Americans?”

And just then, in the middle of a conversation with my roommate about plastic containers, a woman with high died red hair and big glasses buzzed by on a little scooter, slightly slumped over and almost zombie-like in her demeanor. Her legs were crossed and her foot was moving up and down in the passing air as if impatient to get wherever she was going, appearing to be lounging while in motion. We both stopped mid-sentence to bask in the surrealism of this sighting, as would the watchers of a rare bird on expedition. As the scooter traveled past us, contrasting the eerie silence of the monstrous store, we watched in wonder as she circled the center displays with her head unmoving – as if she were too lazy to look left or right. She preceded to circle one small display twice without stopping and then buzzed away into the vast expanse of the mega-store.

Once the belly laughing subsided, we carried on…

Besides the bizarre feeling of walking into this amazingly sterile and yet unfinished warehouse, full of helpers of which half could barely stand on two feet without a walker or some type of mechanical or other support structure due to their obesity or vast array of disabilities, the sheer size of this building was absolutely imperceptible. As I commented on the impossible depth of this particular Wall Mart store to the check-out girl on my way out, she actually noted as if it were a perfectly natural state of being that this was one of the smaller Super-Mega-Wall-Mart’s in the area! I couldn’t comprehend that statement, and so I left with the dour realization that the Made In America label was not to be found in any of these low-budget chain stores.

And so, out of a strict curiosity, mixed with a bit of alarmist disposition, I decided to upgrade…

I went to Macy’s!

Now, surely the reason that Macy’s is so damn expensive is that this chain store is as old as the history of department stores themselves. I mean, the store that is able to put on the all-American Macy’s Day Parade each year that is so cherished by America, must be because they are selling higher cost, well made American products instead of importing from sweatshops overseas… Right?

Wrong.

I was deeply disappointed to find out, as I examined the labels on most of their popular products, that these too were made in China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc, etc, etc…

Now, why is this such an important aspect of the economy of our great country, and important enough to devote the time and energy to write about this to the 3 regular readers of my humble blog?

Why indeed. Let’s start with what is being ridiculously called the “jobless recovery”. There are some words that cannot be used in a sentence. Jobless and recovery are two perfect examples of these types of words, especially if they are back to back. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule, like: “How in the hell can you have a jobless recovery you stupid dumb-head num-nums?” I’d say in this case, the combination works.

But all jokes aside… the fact that we as the American people have been slowly manipulated into consistently buying foreign, cheaply made, disposable (to ensure repurchase) products is a most heinous consumerist conspiracy, whether is was intentional or not (and it was intentional), it is and has been slowly destroying the economy and the manufacturing and production value of our entire nation. And at this point, that value and pride of production is almost completely vanished. A whole generation is now being brought up thinking that this is somehow normal and acceptable. And these same kids will grow up with their only job options being in the service industry. Bankers, customer service, check-out clerks, police, government, forced volunteerism (Obama-corps)… or in other support functions such as IT, computer software, computer programmer, technical support, or any number of non-producing, non-relevant jobs. And as the products they continue to blindly purchase from increasingly less quality sources become more poisonous and more disposable, they wont have any frame of reference to compare their way of life and their consumerism to in order to save their own economic viability and for that matter, their humanity.

In fact, I’m not sure why this country is even still in business. The money is printed (electronically) out of thin air based on a fractional reserve system that recently decided to allow banks to make loans with zero percent monetary reserves in its accounts, meaning banks can now just loan all of the imaginary money they want at the behest of our government and the private corporate Federal Reserve with just a note in their little journals. Imagine that! Free money! Well, free except for the debt attached to that imaginary money that will enslave this whole generation of service industry workers to their beholden corporate-government rulers.

And don’t even get me started on the government’s derivatives, which will attach so much debt to this generation that their great-great-great-great grandchildren will wonder at the ignorance of their forefathers of today as they scrap for tidbits of food left over from the most recent bankers convention.

“All restaurants are now Taco Bell…”

I wonder at this phenomenon, sometimes as if I’m the only one that can see.

I hear my friends say: I love the Martha Stewart collection, and isn’t her show just wonderful? She can do so many things. And I have to stop what I’m doing and thinking and tear off into some angry rant! You think Martha Stewart cooks? Give me a break. Her people do that. You think those pre-prepared dishes are done by this Benedict Arnold of a Judas? You think Martha makes all of her clothing and accessories for the home? No… she sold her name like so many other celebrities for millions of dollars plus royalties to a conglomerate U.S. corporation that purchases everything that Martha Stewart ‘s name gets placed upon in third world sweatshops and factories. Then, while she laughs all the way to the bank, us stupid Americans consume these cheep foreign products without even a hint of their origin, as American companies continuously lay off their own factory workers who are then forced to shop at stores like Wall Mart for their low low prices, which then in a full Euroborus (snake devouring its own tail) type of circle forces more American workers to be laid off due to their purchasing of almost exclusively foreign made products.

I can’t go on. I see… but I am in a room full of blind people eating fortune cookies and I am trying to describe the color red… as in red alert!

God save us all.

.

Clint Richardson (realitybloger.wordpress.com)

January 28, 2010

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