It really bothers me thinking about the direction that this country is going in. Little mom & pop joints are what got this country started, but now they get dumped on every time they turn around. This country makes having your own business less of a dream, and more of a nightmare. For the moment, there’s a bit more freedom for those of us working online, but we still have our troubles too.
Auction sites are one example. People buy cheap foreign made junk in bulk, then resell it at insanely low prices with outrageously high shipping (which is a dirty trick that a lot of people don’t pick up on until it’s too late.) so that people who want to sell their handcrafted goods have to price theirs even lower, or go out of business because they can’t make enough profit, or any profit at all. The shoddy foreign made junk that is flooding our markets is a big problem for most small business owners. If you can buy an item that’s mass-produced by some underpaid Taiwanese corporation slave for $3 at Wal*Mart, why would you pay $10 to buy the same type of item from a US crafter? No one cares that the items we make are better quality, last longer, and cost us not only materials, but time as well. They want it cheap, and they want it now! And everybody has an online store these days. Most of them are cheap resale goods too. They flood the internet with these resale shops, and no one can find legitimate crafters’ shops. And don’t forget what I mentioned in an earlier post about how ISP’s and big companies want to charge people to have their sites load for that company’s customers. And there are yet other ways that the Big Business Machine is trying to crush the little guy, especially if they have something that goes against the mainstream grain.
Of course, if you want a shop in the “real” world, then you have all kinds of other problems. Zoning, handicap accessibility, and all that mess, plus you have to deal with the fact that you may not even be allowed to have a shop because of what you sell. Goddess forbid you want to open a Pagan/earth religion oriented shop. The religious zealots will be all over you. Of course, you’ll never be told that it’s the content of your shop that’s the problem; someone will find some impossible legal loophole to shove you through and say that’s the problem. Like “You’re doorways are not wide enough for wheelchair access, you need to renovate or leave” rather than the truth of “We don’t want that evil, ungodly filth being sold on our street.”
Another thing that upsets me is that we can make American products, but it’s near impossible to do it with American materials. Do we get every single thing from somewhere else? I look in my supplies… Round Party Beads – Made in China… Metal Spacer Beads – Made in China… Rattail Cord – Made in Taiwan… Gold Paint Marker – Made in Japan… And the list goes on. Do you mean to tell me that we can’t make rattail cord in the USA?? We can’t fabricate some little round bits of plastic with holes in them?? It’s nuts!! But hey, it’s cheaper to have it outsourced, right? As if you could get an American to work for $10 a week. But really, they should make this stuff here. We have the technology, we have the skill, we have millions of people out of work, bring the industries back here! There’s no excuse for it. Those company CEO’s aren’t working for $10 a week. They’re not on welfare either. They’re lining their pockets while we all starve and die. I say if you want to use cheap Asian labor, go to Asia! Sell your goods to them, and see if you can still be so rich. If you’re running a business in America, have American workers. All of them! Forget having parts from Taiwan, phone reps in India, and half the assembly done in Bumdiddle Egypt. Do it all here. All American parts, with all American labor and all American support staff. I bet even American born Asians and Indians are sickened by the way big business uses their people back home. I would be.
I think that people should start doing their utmost to cut the cord of big business. If you want jewelry, forget chain stores, forget the mall, forget them all. Go to a local jewelry crafter. Or go online to someone who makes it right here in the good ol’ USA. You need food? Grow or raise what you can. I would, if I could. Get produce from local suppliers rather than the grocery store. Sure, it costs more, but it’s worth it. Look for other ways to help Americans too. Make and sell stuff that people want or need. Buy from people that make stuff themselves. Honestly, I’d rather spend $20 on a shirt made by hand, by a local, than spend $10 to get one from Wal*Mart that’s made in Indonesia. And bring back the barter system! Why pay out the nose to big business when you could trade goods and services with other Americans?
I know shopping at chain stores and the mall is easier and cheaper than going through locals or US sellers on the internet, but it’s worth it. If you have the money, do it. Support the mom & pop type places that started this country. Every piece of foreign junk you don’t buy is one more hole in the pocket of big business. Every American made product you buy with pride is one more slap upside the head of big business that we’re not going to take this anymore. Don’t be lazy. Don’t let it go on like this, because you know it’ll only get worse. Stand up and show that you want it brought back here!