So I did a really bad thing. I taught my son something I can’t seem to undo. I taught him China doesn’t care about us. The thing is, and sorry if I am about to offend anyone, I really believe big corporate China doesn’t give a rats arse about us and I’m pretty sure I am right-on about that. I’m not talking about the Chinese people. I am talking about its Government and its Corporations. Let’s face it, I’m pretty sure China doesn’t care about its people either.
Remember the great Lead Scare of 2007? I shouldn’t call it a scare, that implies it sounded worse than it was. I actually believe it was worse than they made it sound. Meanwhile, China issued a statement, “They would ban lead in all toys imported to the United States.” Hmm…. did they ban lead in all toys sold in China? Nope, in 2011 Greenpeace found that 33% of all toys sold by Mattel in China contained Lead. There is also an inordinate amount of lead poisoning in China. I mean really? The People’s Republic? On the Back of the People is more like it.
So being a conscientious mom, anytime my child would try to put something into his mouth I would yell, “Don’t! It’s China!” I mean at this point who knew what toy had lead and arsenic, or what toy didn’t? Later it turned into blanket statements like “Of course it broken, it’s China. They don’t care about us in China.”
On the home front, we have had a series of unfortunate events. My son begged and begged for a cheap dart gun at our local grocery. I told him it was cheap, and A China Toy – so I wouldn’t buy it for him. Come on, you don’t have to be a fortune-teller to know what would happen to that gun. I know it was only $6.99, but disappointment has no price-tag. He just would not let up; he decided to dig into his piggy-bank for it. Well forget that, I will not let him waste his money on some cheap China toy when I fully expect him to pay for college with that money! So I made him a deal. If he wiped his own butt from then (Thursday), until Sunday, I would buy it. (Yes my son was still not wiping his own butt – don’t judge). He thought this was an awesome deal, because to him $6.99 could be 1 million dollars for all he knew, and he complied. That Sunday he got the gun. I have to admit it; it was a lot of fun. It had this great plunger action and would stick to ANYTHING. He played with that gun non-stop for 3 days. Then it broke – SURPRISE! His disappointment was so great – I had to replace it. I know, I know, I knew it would happen. But it had only been 3 days, that had to be a fluke, right? Nope, gun #2 – 3 days. It’s like it had built-in obsolescence for 36 hours of life. After gun #2 – he was done. He walked around muttering about China, and telling anyone who would listen about his China Gun. (You know he is 7, this is not baby talk, this is mom shortened “Made in China” to “China” talk.)
Then it happened, only one week later. The big IT. The boy got a Huffy Green Machine for Christmas. Dude, what boy would not want a Green Machine! Of course we live in Chicago, which means the Green Machine would live in the garage until the snow melted. Not until late April this year. Once all the snow was gone, this kid, who will probably be a BMX biker, mastered the “Handle Shift 180” the Green Machine is famous for. He got about 2 good weeks out of that Green Machine. Two weeks until he was doing a 180, the tires flew off the bike and he landed sideways. Two weeks. But this kid is nothing if not Tenacious. I told him not to worry, his uncle (super-handy-man) would fix it for him on the weekend. Nope, the kid who pretends he only knows how to take things apart, collected all the pieces and put that SOB back together. But the next day it happened again, and again, and again. This had been going on for three weeks when we had an un-fortuitous meeting. We happened to be sitting next to a lovely Asian woman and her 1 yo son at the tennis courts. She was very chatty, I learned in our conversation that they had only been in the country for 4 months. I also learned they had just moved here from Shanghai. China. You know where this is going, don’t you?
She was very friendly towards my son and asked him what he likes to do: Do you play sports?
Nice Lady: Oh, so what do you like to do?
Boy: I like to ride my bike.
Nice Lady: Oh that sounds like fun!
Boy: Yeah, its fun. I really like to ride my Green Machine. But it’s “China” – so it broke.
Nice Lady – somewhat taken aback: You mean it’s Made in China.
Boy: Whatever, it doesn’t work because it’s China, and they don’t care about us in China.
HOLY CR*P! My son just told a woman, who just recently moved here from CHINA, that they don’t care about us in China. Back pedal, back pedal, do a 180, anything!!!!
I turn to her and ramble quickly: I am so sorry! It’s just, it seems, well all the toys we have that are Made in China break after a very short while, and we have had more than a few recent bad experiences. He is just very frustrated.
Cold Eyed Lady: I understand.
Me: I realize now I should have been more careful about the way I explained it to him, it’s just he was so young when the Lead Scare happened.
Cold Eyed Lady: I understand.
Me: I really am sorry.
Warming-up Eyed Lady: My children weren’t even born then, as a matter of fact, we weren’t even living in China then.
Me (in my head): What???!!!
Nice Tricky Lady: I’m Japanese, and I was living in Germany then, that’s where I met my husband.
Dude. I had been duped. Or punked. Or schooled. She was crafty. I did learn a lesson though. OUT OF THE MOUTHES OF BABES YOU WILL GET YOUR BUTT KICKED TO THE CURB!
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