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Sunday, Mar. 1, 2015

Made where?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hi neighbors. Have you noticed changes in some of the larger stores around? If something isn't a big seller, they stop carrying it.

Of course, that "something" is always the one thing you really want often enough that you miss it when it is no longer available.

As I grow older I notice I rely on my habits to fill most of my zone-out time. For instance, grocery shopping is not an interactive event for me any more. I know what I want, I know where it is, how much it costs and have in mind at least one readily available and handy, acceptable alternative.

I pick items off the shelves or out of the bins in a somnolent, almost zombie-like state. Without all the moaning, outreaching arms and loss of rotting tissue usually associated with zombies -- thank goodness.

This mindset allows multi-tasking. Not only am I shopping, I am also going over what I forgot to do before coming to the store. Some times I'm remembering what I have to do after leaving the store. Whatever I'm doing while actually at the store seems irrelevant. I do it by rote.

Lately though, I've decided I should be awake while shopping. I've slipped back into my youthful habit of reading labels.

Whether buying food, clothing, tools, or anything else, it pays to know not only what it is composed of, but where it came from.

Believe it or not, there are still SOME few things with a "made in America" label on them.

Be careful of some articles that only have an American "distribution site" listed. These products usually come from some other country and are shipped across the United States after being delivered to a company's home base.

Finding out where things actually come from is a bit like finding out who actually runs a corporation. It can be tricky.

Take the American pride and joy Hershey Chocolate Company for example. I visited 10 pages on their home Web site and found no mention of any plant other than those within the United States. However, the wording was sensitive, "best seller in North America" was the term I think.

I had to search old newspaper articles from 2007-2008 to find that Hershey had moved hundreds of jobs to a new plant in Monterey, Mexico. That plant makes York Peppermint Patties and 5th Avenue and Zagnut candy bars and Jolly Rancher hard candies. Hershey also has plants in Canada, Australia and a couple of other countries, and in the United States oddly enough.

Mars candy, as well as Uncle Ben's products, Kal-Kan pet supplies and Dove's frozen treats also sport plants in Russia and other countries, as well as here in the U.S. of A. I would imagine the foreign plants probably make candy to sell in the European market.

Other than food, almost every thing we Americans wear, use or look at is made in the Far East, China is top dog in that pile.

I saw a show the other night about Russian and Chinese spies who focus on not only military secrets, but technological secrets that American companies are trying hard to keep to themselves.

It didn't make a lot of sense until I saw another show about the global economy. Although invented in America, ALL cell phones (millions of them) are now made in other countries -- take time to digest that. Only the programming for those cell phones is still the property of American-based companies'.

The manufactured cell phones have to use American technology to function, which means foreign cell phone production companies only get a small percentage of the sale price of each cell phone.

Boy, if they just had that American technology they wouldn't have to give the American companies any of the money they make producing and selling cell phones. Makes sense to me. Scary sense.

Oh, about those stolen military secrets -- according to this news show, I believe it was "60 Minutes," it seems China has already acquired our complete technology for thermal-nuclear devices.

My son said he couldn't understand why China had to have spies to find out these things, as all they would have to do is buy them. Apparently they have had that idea as well.

Remember when President Ronald Reagan wanted to sell the plans for the stealth fighter to China? Someone convinced him that might be a bad idea.

Until the next time friends remember secrets are hard to keep -- almost as hard as jobs it seems.

Nancy Malcom
The Third Cup