The various offerings of the world

November 21, 2010 at 8:34 PM 2 comments

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Wherever you look — on TV, radio, newspaper or the Internet — just about every pundit worries about the economic and social decline of our country. It’s not only that we are living through the aftershocks of the credit default swap system, where banks, insurance companies, homeowners and brokerage houses played hot potato with each other’s mortgages. We also are living in a country where a mere ten percent of the workforce draws a paycheck from manufacturing jobs.

Some analysts argue that these jobs have been outsourced to countries with cheaper labor pools. Some say computers and robots have replaced semi-skilled work. While I don’t have the credentials to unravel cause and effect, I can say that I pay attention to the consumer goods I buy, and few of them are still made in the United States.

I did a little experiment. On Friday, I paid attention to the products I bought or used from the time I got out of bed to the time I went to sleep. In this post, I have made a list of these products and their point of manufacture as noted on the products themselves. When I couldn’t find this information, I noted the distribution center. I am still trying to figure out why some consumer product companies are shy about telling you where they produce their goods. Aren’t they proud of their factories?

I perform my morning ablutions

White Rain Shampoo. Corporate headquarters for Sun Products, White Rain’s manufacturer, are in Wilton, CT. Manufacturing centers are in Salt Lake City, Utah; Bowling Green, Ky.; Baltimore, Md.; Dyersburg, Tenn. and Houston, Texas.

VO5 Hair Conditioner. Made in USA.

Dove Soap/Unilever. Distributed from Trumbull, CT. Place of manufacture not noted.

Chandrika Ayurvedic Soap. S.V. Products. Made in Kerala State, India.

Colgate toothpaste. Made in U.S., Canada or Mexico.

Conair blow dryer. Made in Costa Rica.

Conair ceramic paddles. Made in China.

Clarin eyeliner. Made in Germany.

Decleor moisturizer. Made in France.

I am determined to age gracefully, so I do yoga, Pilates or Zamba at least once a day

Victoria’s Secret, yoga pants. Made in Vietnam.

Victoria’s Secret, tee shirt. Made in Sri Lanka.

Socks. I threw out the packaging a while ago and there’s no mention of the manufacturer on the sock itself.

Nike, sneakers. Made in China.

IBM logo product, neoprene yoga mat. Distributed by¬† Global Identity, a division of Staples Global Markets. It is not in the “Assembled in America” category.

Hand-made area rug, Persian-style (underneath the yoga mate). Made in China.

Nintendo, Wii. Made in China.

Netflix, streaming. Made in USA.

I try to be fashionable

Talbot’s, corduroy pants. Made in Bangladesh.

Talbot‘s, knit shirt. Made in Indonesia.

Victoria’s Secret, underwear. Made in Thailand; made in Sri Lanka.

Franco Sarto, ankle boots. Made in Italy.

Calvin Klein, jacket. Made in China.

I would prefer a bagel with cream cheese, but no can do anymore

Key Food Rolled Oatmeal. Distributed from Staten Island, New York. These are mushy, by the way. Better stick with Quaker Oats.

Bob’s Red Mill Flaxseed. No manufacturer noted, but you can write away for a free catalog at Milwaukie, Oregon.

Elite coffee. Distributed in Safed, Israel. No provenance noted. I don’t think coffee beans grow in Israel.

I put time and effort into cooking for friends

Ocean Spray, dried cranberries. Made in USA.

Ocean Spray, cranberries. Made in USA.

Manischewitz, Jason bread crumbs. Made in USA.

Naturally Good Kosher, pepper jack cheese. Red Apple Marketing, Farmington, CT. No provenance noted.

Schmerling’s of Switzerland, chocolate. Made in Switzerland. Can you believe it?

Chicken. No manufacturer noted.

Cream-O-Land Dairy, milk. Packaged at “Plant 442-169.” Distributed in Florence, NJ.

Tropicana, orange juice. Contains OJ from U.S. and Brazil.

Oneg, mozzarella cheese. Schiller Park, Illinois. I assume this is the distribution point. Do milk cows live in Schiller Park?

San Giorgio, pasta. Distributed by New World Pasta, Harrisburg, PA.

Bertoli, extra virgin olive oil. Contains oil from Italy, Greece, Spain and Tunisia. Bottled and packed in Italy.

Egg Starts. Distributed by Key Food Stores, Staten Island, NY. No provenance.

Spice Classics, garlic powder. Made in China.

International Spices, granulated onion powder. Packed in Yardville, NJ. No provenance.

Sweet paprika. Product information is in 6-point Hebrew type. I can’t make it out.

Fresh Express, baby spinach. P.O. Box 80599, Salinas, CA. How do they get the spinach to grow in a P.O. box?

Bought at Garden Gourmet, Bronx
Avocados, asparagus, mangoes, purple grapes, beets, limes, lemons, potatoes, one pear, garlic, one eggplant, mushrooms (Crimini, white and shitaake), walnuts. No provenance noted for any produce.

For the time being, I’m still producing Bookpod

MacBook Pro, Apple Computer. No manufacturing information on the machine or on the “About” tab. It may be manufactured either by Quanta or Asustek, both headquartered in Taiwan. (I am not including information about microchips or software.)

HP laptop with Windows Vista. No manufacturing information on the machine or on the “About” tab. (I am not including information about microchips or software.)

Rode Podcaster microphone. Made in Australia.

K-55 stereo headphones. Made in China.

Kensington mouse. Made in China.

Herman Miller Aeron chair. When I turned the chair upside to look for the manufacturer, all I found was dust — a lot of it. (I was mortified.) I did find a sticker that says the chair is approved for use in California, but you should not drop a lit cigarette on it. Incidentally, the ergonomics of this chair are over-rated — unless you do an hour of rigorous yoga before sitting in it. No other manufacturing information.

I drove to the food stores in a Honda that has Sunoco gas in the tank. It’s beyond the purview of this blog post to dissect how and where the Honda is manufactured.

As for Sunoco, it has refineries in Tulsa, Albert (Canada), Ohio and Venezuela’s Lake Maracaibo, among other locations. The company is headquartered in Philadelphia.

I dress for dinner

Ann Taylor, skirt. Made in Thailand.

Ralph Lauren, shirt. Made in the Northern Mariana Islands (USA) of imported rayon and elastane.

Franco Sarto, shoes. Made in Brazil.

Nordstrom, pantyhose. Made in Canada.

How are we doing?

In 1714 Alexander Pope wrote about the “globalization” of commerce in The Rape of the Lock. Back in the early eighteenth century, the “various offerings of the world” in Belinda’s toilet come from India, Arabia and Turkey, consumer goods that were emblematic of Britain’s wealth and imperial reach.

In the early twenty-first century, our consumer goods come from the East too, but, sadly, they only confirm how little Americans are producing.

Are you starting to worry too?

From Canto I, The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope, 1712-14

“And now, unveiled, the toilet stands displayed,
Each silver vase in mystic over laid.
First, robed in white, the nymph intent adores,
With head uncovered, the cosmetic powers.
A heavenly image in the glass appears,
To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;
The inferior priestess, at her altar’s side,
Trembling, begins the sacred rites of pride.
Unencumbered treasures ope at once, and here
The various offerings of the world appear;
From each she nicely culls with curious toil,
And decks the goddess with the glittering spoil.
This casket India’s glowing gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
The tortoise here and elephant unite,
Transformed to combs, the speckled and the white.
Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux.
Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
The busy Sylphs surround their darling care;
These set the head, and those divide the hair,
Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;
And Betty’s praised for labours not her own.”

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Entry filed under: Economy, Food, New York City, Shopping, Working. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Spam from me to you A shoutout to the unheralded victorious

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Harry  |  November 22, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    I assure you there are no milk cows in Schiller Park, IL! [Municipal code section 91.01 prohibits farm animals in the village.]

    • 2. Bookpod  |  November 22, 2010 at 4:54 PM

      Glad you cleared that up for me!


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