a new exclusion act


My son Henry, who was adopted as an infant from Taiwan in 1980, recently told me he is ashamed to be Chinese. He is not ashamed to be a Chinese person, but ashamed to be associated with so many shoddy goods that our country is importing from that nation.

He was specifically complaining about light bulbs for a nightlight he had purchased. It took him three visits to Lowe’s, and the purchase of three packages of two bulbs each, before he could put together two light bulbs that worked. All the remaining bulbs—two-thirds of them—were defective.

One could easily dismiss his experience with light bulbs as an aberration if it were not for the fact that so many US consumers have had the same experience with a wide range of defective goods. Several years ago Chinese outsourcers were blamed for producing bad “premium” dog food. (Otto’s hair was fried in that one.)

In 2008, China’s largest provider of milk powder recalled 700 tons of baby formula after one child died and more than 50 others developed kidney problems. In September of this year, the New York Times reported that 90 million drug capsules that originated in China were contaminated with chromium, a heavy metal, and distributed. The defective ignition switch that led General Motors to recall 3.4 million large sedans in early June 2014 was manufactured in China, according to a report filed with safety regulators.

My neighbor complains about car parts that used to be manufactured in the US, but are now imported from China and experience high failure rates that were not common with the old American-made parts… and on and on.

I recently have had an experience with two models of generators made by the same Chinese company. Out of two of the original generators and a replacement, all three were defective. Since early September, I have had a warranty claim outstanding with the Chinese manufacturer—Jaing Dong North America (JDNA), manufacturer of the “All-Power America” brand—but the manufacturer has been ducking repeated follow-up emails and phone calls asking for a resolution of the claim. Additionally, in order to “improve” customer service, JDNA has recently instituted a new automated phone system that makes it impossible to speak with a customer service representative. The only “improvement” I can see is not being lied to.

Is anybody besides me feeling like a chump? How long are we Americans to allow ourselves to be accustomed to being a dumping ground for shoddy goods? Inexpensive merchandise, when you consider the extra aggravation and expense, are not worth the “savings.” My All-Power America generator burned out a printer, two television sets, a phone system, three computer speaker systems, and a new battery charger—worth much more than the cost of the generator which caused all that damage.

Maybe it is time that we consider a new Chinese Exclusion Act—not an act targeted at excluding Chinese persons, but shoddy Chinese imports.

The original Chinese Exclusion Act was a United States federal law signed by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882. It was one of the most significant restrictions on free immigration in US history, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers. Someone should figure out how to ban crummy Chinese products.

I realize that major importers like Wal-Mart would fight such a law tooth-and-nail, but I am fed up.

It is a problem the importers and retailers have brought on themselves. When Henry (a conscientious consumer) brought up the problem with the light bulbs to a Lowe’s customer service rep, she looked at him like he was a freak from the other side of the moon.

Why would anyone complain about such an inexpensive purchase?

china 3


Groove of the Day

 Listen to Ji Wei, Yu Hongmei, Chen Yue & Zhao Cong performing “Jasmine Flower”

Not everything from China is crummy.


1 Response to “a new exclusion act”

  1. November 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    I do not see why you are so surprised by the poor quality of certain products, coming from China or elsewhere. The phasing out of customs barriers and trade agreements have facilitated international trade. But they have also opened the door for commercial companies, always on the lookout for a maximum profit, to flood the markets with cheap products.
    Each of us should be aware that inexpensive is often equal to less-quality. And accept to pay a reasonable price in order to have a correct product that will work better, safer and longer than its bottom-of-range equivalent.
    No one will change the treaties that allow this kind of products to be marketed around the world and return to protectionism. But if consumers were making the choice of quality rather than of the price, this junk would cease to flood the markets. And the economy, in most countries, would get better.

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