It was a typical sit down after prayers in the synagogue kitchen. A gentleman was seated across from me, and was in a foul mood for some reason. He looked at me and, apropos to nothing, said “Nothing is made in America anymore.” I looked at him blankly. “Nothing?” I asked. “No,” he said, “Everything is made in China now, everybody knows that.”
Great — except for the tiny fact that not one thing that he said was correct. Firstly, there are many products that are made in the United States — which is what he actually meant when he said America, though I didn’t want to point out that what he was saying included Canada and every country in South America. Not only are there many products that have always been made in the US, there are new products that regularly spring up that are specifically and intentionally made in the United States. There are countless web sites that have directory listings of said companies.
Secondly, not everything is made in China. Thirdly, clearly not everyone “knew” that because my knowledge was completely different. I showed him a couple of web sites that I liked to use on occasion and he suddenly changed his tune. Well, he said, a lot of things were made in China. I said that I made an effort, whenever possible, to buy things that were made in the United States and how it actually saved me money in the long term — I showed him my Zero Messenger Bag, which had long outlasted any of the cheaply made bags that came before it. He responded that he bought whatever was on sale or cheapest, regardless of where it was made.
In essence, he complained about a problem but then admitted that he was part of it. If you don’t like that so many things that are sold by US companies are made elsewhere, vote with your dollar and shop with the manufacturers that don’t outsource jobs to labor camps.
The larger picture I am trying to paint here is that it is too easy to fall prey to the temptation to make broad sweeping generalizations like this one — nobody smiles at you in public anymore, everyone is too busy on their phone to look where they are going, all people in the millenial age group are self-centered and rude — every one of these statements can easily be proven false. When you are having a conversation with someone and it veers into doom and gloom, ask yourself what purpose they seek in making these statements? Why are they speaking so harshly about a large group of people, perhaps on the basis of a couple of negative interactions?
Pull away from such negative spirals and bring yourself to spend more time with people who actively try to find solutions, not problems.