I have visited little tiny pieces of the Peoples Republic of China but actually when I was there, I am not sure you could call these places China. Hong Kong was China but the Brits were running the joint. Macao was China but the Portuguese were the pit bosses in that little gambling mecca, and Taiwan used to be China before Chang Kai-Shek was sent to his room by Chairman Mao.
The British left their mark, they still drive on the left side of the road in Hong Kong, but a scant few leagues away on the island of Macao we go it American style. I don't know what they do in Taiwan, they might drive down the middle of the road. Taiwan can't afford to piss anyone off or there could be a new flag flying at the CKS airport before you could say "steamy dumplings". But this isn't a travel piece, this is about a question that I think of often, I am not politicizing it, I am not beating my chest in angst over it, I am not trying raise up a nationalistic battle cry. I just want to know.
Try this on and see if it fits. It seems that 99% of all non food items in the 99 Cent store are MADE IN CHINA.
My question is how do they do it? Give me a cause and I can easily become one of those hand wringing liberals that feels a personal obligation to every human being on earth. However, let's just get the "The Godless Commies use child labor and political prisoners as slave labor", out of the "mix". Not that it doesn't happen, I am accepting that it has to be part of the program.
Here's my dilemma, I happen to know for a fact that the 99 Cent store will pay a maximum of forty cents for any given item from it's wholesalers. You got it, that five pound kielbasa sausage you bought last week, for less than a buck, was purchased for 40 cents or less. That's the max, not the bottom price. (feel free to use this info at cocktail parties, it's very impressive to other people that you are "in the know") So, I am assuming that the entire Chinese manufacturing team is positioned in some sort of Walmart inspired Gulag and is getting paid "zero", "zilch", "nada". Labor free!
Here's the rub, that 8" by 10", curved glass and aluminum picture frame with the etched likeness of Betty Boop you bought last week is made out of "real" materials. Materials that have to cost something even if there is no cost of labor to get the material. Someone in China is selling the raw goods and someone is buying them. Money is crossing palms.
Then that completed item is shipped to the U.S. The ship and the fuel for it to get here were not free. We know that as soon as the unloading of that boat began and the first truck hit the road, the "no labor" ride ended. The Teamsters don't ride for free. Then, there has to be a middleman between the Chinese producer, along with payment to an importer. The delivery company has gotta have his "pound of flesh". And this is "All In", "Done and Dealt" for less than 40 cents.
Could someone please explain how this can possibly work economically. The possibility of any "loaves and fishes" scenarios have already been ruled out as improbable.
â€œIt is completely unimportant. That is why it is so interesting!â€
WORLD - AN EDGE IN MY VOICE
Copyright © 2010 Steven Lane
The 99 Cent Store, Made in China?
Copyright © 2010 Steven Lane
Read more articles on: china
About the WriterWant to write articles too? Sign up & become a writer!
4 comments on The 99 Cent Store, Made in China?
Rate This Article
Your vote matters to us