Monday, March 1, 2010

A connection to the people who let us live cheaply.

What is that strange thing in the image above? It's a candy wrapper for a banana-and-cream sucker from China. Not something you typically see outside of Asian markets, unless you're, well, in China.

This was found inside a newly opened box of shoes last week, at the store where my roommate works. She was putting new shoes on the shelves, and opened a shoebox for the first time, and found this tucked inside.

This is a connection to the people who made that pair of shoes, the people who work and live in substandard conditions so that we in the affluent west may spend a little less money on our belongings. I don't mean to come off as preachy when I say that. I'm sadly aware that my clothes, my electronics, most of my belongings, were all made by cheap labour so that a big company could save on production costs. Alas, I don't let have all the skills I need in life to make my own clothes properly to cut down on things like this.

But when my roommate showed me that wrapper, I really started to think. It's one thing to think of some faceless mass of underpaid workers toiling to make cheap goods, but it's completely another to think that the person who made that shoes left a little something of themself behind. Did they have to sneak in that little treat? Where did they buy it? Do they like banana-flavoured things, or was it just a random grab from a box of suckers?

That faceless worker suddenly got a face, and it made me all the more aware that they all have faces. We tend to forget that, and lump them all in together because of a similar condition they all share. But they're all individual people, driven to the factories for one reason or another, trying to live their lives as best they can. They all have failings, foibles, fantasies. They're all individuals, and I'm going to try even harder to keep that in mind from now on.

After all, I've got hard evidence sitting in my hope to attest to that.

1 comment:

  1. Wow this post has me thinking!!!
    Sending good vibes to you and your Mom.
    She is too young to have this happen, but I guess there is no age boundary.
    Keep us updated.