Friday, August 03, 2007

What's a mom to do?

I'm really bothered by the recent news stories of dangerous products coming from China. First it was pet food, and now toys. Thankfully, we don't have any of the toys listed on the recall list of Fisher Price toys, but that's only because on one shopping trip Stephen decided against a Diego play set and got something different. What bothers me most this time is that it's toys. Fisher Price nonetheless. I'd bet we'd be hard pressed to find a home with a small child in it that didn't also have some kind of Fisher Price product. I can think of several things, just off the top of my head that we have right now. We trust in names like Fisher Price to make safe toys for our kids. We spend so much time, energy and money keeping things safe in our homes and then we go to our nearest department store and unknowingly let our kids pick out something covered in lead. And now I look at everything my kids touch with a suspicious eye and a sick stomach.

My mom told me about one family who boycotted all things made in China for a year. The mom of the family had the idea and she said that her husband and kids were a hard sell at first (here's a Reuters story about them). They didn't do it because they have any negative feelings toward China (who would blame them if they did considering the way human rights are treated?) but she wanted to show Americans how "deeply tied they are to the international trading system". When I first heard about the boycott, I thought it was a little extreme. But now I wonder....

Here's an article about another family who boycotted all things made in China for good. This family boycotted because of the "corrupt" Chinese government among other reasons. It's a thought-provoking and convincing read (although, even though the writer said she's Catholic, I didn't like her references to "Mother Earth").

So here's what I struggle with: Would it make a difference if we boycotted Chinese products? Is the myth mentioned in the second article actually true that it wouldn't matter if we did? Should we get a behind a boycott on anything made outside the US in hopes of making a difference for our children and for the children workers half way around the world? Would only buying American made bust our budgets? Is it even possible???


Anonymous said...

I did it! I think you are right!
I boycott things all the time. I e-mail them and let them know I am boycotting and why.
Your mom is a smart lady. And funny too!


Kelli in the Mirror said...

Dude. I love that your mom is commenting. Hi aunt C!

I don't have a problem with boycotting in general. Even if it doesn't make a difference in terms of changes being made, you can feel good about not contributing to the problem.

One concern I have with this particular case is that I've heard things about companies that do the slave labor/horrible conditions/ zero pay thing in places like the Mariana Islands, which are US territories and fall under the umbrella of "made in the US", but basically are still exploiting poor people and don't offer jobs to people in the states. I know that's not even the reason for you wanting to boycott, but I just felt like throwing that out there.

And now I'm curious if boycotting Chinese stuff WOULD make a difference, if everybody got behind it. :)

Kelli in the Mirror said...

Have you thought any more about this? Because with yet more recalls, I'm seriously considering it. I read a poll today that said 1 of 3 moms would boycott all Chinese products. I don't know where they got that data, but it really would make a difference if so many of us refused to buy them.

It's hard to find stuff that isn't made there though!

casual friday everyday said...

I won't be buying anymore toys that aren't made in the very least until things are done the right way...if ever they are.

I don't put vaccines in my sons bodies and I certainly don't want the toys they put in their mouths to be loaded with lead!