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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Those Low Priced Import Trinkets, How they Hurt the U.S. Economy.

I believe that import trinkets have had as much to do with the destruction of the US economy as our love with wasting gasoline and the wars we fight to keep that right.

What are Trinkets?

Trinkets are a small step up above junk, a very small step. On second thought they may be worse than junk simply because we believe they are not junk. Certainly todays plastic import trinket will be tomorrows landfill junk, no? The older junk you sell or try and give away today is no doubt worth more than the current trinket you buy today and try to sell or give away in the future.

I recently observed a "Reduced to Sell" sign on several boxes of import trinkets outside of an indoor mini mall store. It made me think of what a silly waste this was. This business had other, newer, lower priced inventory to put out for sale and needed to fast sell it's previous line of import trinket junk.

The goal for this business was to now try and find a buyer for these low priced trinkets. In turn this trinket seller would then have to find a place for what in many cases were probably "new and cheaper" trinkets, or basically worthless products ready to replace the trinkets that had yet to sell.

Suddenly this whole process seemed stupid to me. Products are cranked out in China in what probably are slave like situations. These products are then shipped across the Pacific Ocean, imported at various U.S. docks, then trucked in to stores. The store then makes room for this out of the country product at the expense of more expensive, better quality products that used to be made in the United States.

Do you prefer to fill your living space with very low cost items, or do you prefer to wait and slowly buy more expensive items? Do you prefer to buy several low costs products cranked out in an environmentally squalid situation at less than slave wages, or can you wait, and buy higher quality, hand crafted products instead?

Or, is your goal to quickly fill your living space with low cost junk, then slowly over time replace that junk with nicer stuff? Or is the low cost junk for youngsters, yours and your friends, to help you stay within budget? Or, would you be better off buying ONE more expensive but decent product, then several lower cost products that are not made very well?

Is the plastic crap being dumped on the US market something that also goes on in Europe, where space is more of a premium. or is it more of US phenomenon?

Are low cost plastic imports the equivalent of the Star Trek episode, "The Trouble with Tribbles"? Maybe it's time for a remake called "The Trouble with Trinkets" in which the original Star Trek script is kept intact, except trinkets replace the tribbles. Is it possible that we are building false wealth on the backs of products that really don't offer either quality or usefulness, but do require additional dependence on oil needed to ship products from overseas. Lets also factor in all the oil being used to ship raw resources to China so they can be turned into a trinket.

Over time, Chinese products have gotten better and better, the question I have is, did the Chinese economic revolution have to happen so fast? I wonder how many hard earned U.S. Dollars were simply shipped off to China to create businesses that literally sucked the life out of American manufacturing and the very people who did business with the banks.

In the next article I would like to further explore how trinkets are destroying the US economy, your comments are welcome.

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