Some Things Are Not For Sale

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“China-China-China. Made in China.” My 8 year old son seemed agitated turning over every plate, cup and utensil he could reach. “Why is EVERYTHING made in China?”

No malice was in his voice, just a natural inquiry. I kept quiet.

Ironic? Not really.

“Mom, is everything made in China?” he continued. This time he leaned his head to one side expecting an obvious answer.

I had none.

The kid was right. Apparently everything on our table was stamped with those three words. I had noticed it also — been noticing actually for a long time how the other three words “Made in USA” was becoming a thing of novelty.

Depending on who you ask, business owner or a U.S. worker, products made abroad can be a blessing or a curse. And depending on who’s on the receiving end, an average consumer not paying attention or a mom on vacation with a precocious 8 year old, finding a way to explain why many things are not made in the United States anymore could be benign or confusing as hell.

“Everything is not made in China, sweetie,” I started slowly trying to find the right words. “Many products that we use every day are but not everything.”

Maybe, if I smiled extremely hard he’d be convinced.

“It’s not,” he seemed sincerely interested. “Like what?”

Uh-oh.

“Like you!” Oh gawd am I reaching here?

“Me?” He seemed caught off guard.

“Err-yea!” Where was I going with this?

“People from all over the world come to the United States every day hoping for a chance to get the one thing that you have as your birthright – citizenship. It’s not something easily fabricated. You can’t make that on an assembly line, package it, and ship it to the local SuperMega store.”

Was this working? Seemed like it did, a little.

“I get it!” he declared. “You can’t make an American in China.”

“Something like that, ” I laughed a little. Not exactly what I meant but not a bad understanding of global economics, migration and immigration for an 8 year old’s perspective. We continued our talk, I felt the topic warranted further discussion. I decided to save the African ancestry in America talk for a later time.

“Mom, when I grow up I’m going to make things in America,” he seemed adament.

I believe him.

With that he grabbed his toy rocket  — that was made in China– and went off to play.

4 thoughts on “Some Things Are Not For Sale

  1. “Maybe, if I smiled extremely hard he’d be convinced.” Love that, Knowledge Maven. 🙂 I recently watched part of a show where a family agreed to have everything that wasn’t made in the U.S. removed from their home. It was basically empty by the time they were done. In a few years, we’ll all be counting on your son to make good on his promise. 😉

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