Monday, April 07, 2008

Spot the China

Want to use your wallet to express your displeasure with China's foreign policies or economic policies? Good luck. This woman tried, and she never knew if she succeeded or not:

Chinese merchandise was the only option for many things, forcing us to do without. Try finding birthday candles that aren't made in China. Or a coffeemaker, a toaster, or a baby doll like the one my husband wanted to buy for our daughter. Spend a week checking labels and you'll get an idea of what we were up against.

And yet I see now that we were dodging only the obvious bits of China, the stuff that announced itself as Made in China with a label. I was clueless that so much apple juice comes from China, and we drank plenty of that. For years, one of our kids has eaten cereal with freeze-dried strawberries, another big import from China. I recall a trip to the drugstore with my son when he held up a bottle of cough syrup and asked me if it was made in China. I peered at the box from every angle, but all I could find was a Rhode Island address.

"Not from China," I said, and tossed it in our basket.

I don't know if that cough syrup had ingredients from China or not, but now I see that I had no way to know -- and still don't. Which brings us back to the reporter who called for advice. She figured a year of obsessively reading labels would give me some insight into consumers' predicament.

[hat tip]

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