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First of all, I finally got a response from General Pencil company:

"As you have mentioned, our claim is "MADE IN THE USA" – and we are very
proud to be providing jobs in the USA as well as continuing traditions of
handcrafting artist pencils and products in our factory in Jersey City, New

However in a handful of our products, such as the kneaded eraser, we have
sourced the very best artist products at a good value for our customer. Our
Factis® eraser line is from Spain from a long tradition of eraser makers
since 1919, also a family owned business."

So, I was unfortunately right about this. General Pencil still makes pencils in the United States, the letter goes on to say, but that's about it. How sad. And I don't know if it's just the fact that I'm noticing it more or what, but I looked at about 40 products in a store today, and out of those 40 products, I found 2 that were made in the USA. It's getting to the point that if I see a product that is made in the USA, I will buy it. No matter what it is. That's why I have some glasses and some foam insoles right now that I don't really need. I'll never use them, but it's just so rare.

It's crazy. Try it the next time you are in a retail establishment. Any retail establishment. I've been to dollar stores, drug stores, shoe stores, high-end stores, appliance stores, department stores, closeout stores, etc. A vast majority of the products all of these places carry now are made in China. Number one, I know there are 495 Bajillion people in China, but come on now. How many factories do there have to be in China?

So now, no matter where you go, no matter what price you are willing to pay for anything from Doc Martins to Plasma Televisions, you are going to get a product that has been made in China by some people being underpaid by American companies to turn out stuff that we would be perfectly able to produce here in the states, except for one thing; we have grown accustomed to cheap products. We are no longer an industrialized nation. We are a nation of white-collar jobs, and retail workers. We are a service industry nation. We are moving all of our manufacturing overseas to the point that if there were another World War, we would be grossly unprepared to manufacture even some of our needs here in this country. Hell, if we just piss off China, we are up a creek.

And please don't write me off as a wack-job, but Wal-mart really is to blame for this mess we have gotten ourselves into now. Wal-mart had the claim to sell low-priced goods. Lower than anyone else. Well, guess what? In towns where they have run out almost all other businesses, their prices have increased. Wal-mart also had the claim a few years ago that they "Buy American". Which might be true. I'm sure they have a few products like insoles that are made in the States, but they are now, and have been for some time, the number one importer of goods from China in this country.

Goods from China are cheap. The quality is cheapened so that the retail can be cheapened so that Wal-mart can charge you less for it than someone else. The problem is, now everyone must buy their goods from China, just to keep up with the world's largest retailer. The American public as a whole will probably agree that we should buy American, and that we should keep manufacturing jobs here in America and all that. But I seriously doubt that Americans are ready to pay what will undeniably be an increase in price on almost everything they buy every single day.

You really do get what you pay for. Eventually.


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If you aren't completely appalled, then you aren't paying attention.

This Month on Tacofish

June 2006
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Public Discourse

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Jonathan Woolbright on Amateur Hour
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Craig on Unfaithful