Sunday, May 11, 2014

Proudly Made in the USA. Ha!

I bought a kitchen gadget, a pepper mill, as a gift item.  Amazon delivered it on schedule and the package was waiting for me on the front porch.

Yes, I live in a neighborhood where homes have front porches. Like in the old days. When neighbors stood around or sat on their porches and actually talked with neighbors.

So, where was I?  Oh, yeah, on the porch.

I brought the package in, and made sure that it looked the same in the real world as it did on the computer monitor.  Which is when I noticed the American flag sticker on the package.

I was pleasantly surprised that the gadget was made here in the US, when I thought such small things (as is the case with most big things too) are typically made in China.

Curiosity being my middle name (no, that is not my legal middle name; I don't have a middle name) I looked at it again.

Do you see what I saw?

Not made in the USA, but "PROUDLY FILLED IN THE USA".

That is correct; we are immensely proud to have developed the capability to know how to fill in the peppercorn.  Can't you hear Springsteen singing, "Filled in the USA!"

What a cheap gimmick to try to fool the consumer who might be a fan of "buy American."  Pathetic.

So, where was it manufactured?

Of course, right?

But, did you notice how the label makes it clear that pepper is not from China?

I wonder which executive came up with this brilliant idea!  Yet another instance when we need to be reminded about the market economy--caveat emptor!

BTW, I wonder where the pepper came from.  Could not have been proudly grown in the USA.  Come to think of it, shouldn't they have made clear where the pepper is from?  "Proudly imported from Kochi, India" maybe!



Ramesh said...

Of course, very little can be made in the US of A these days - you guys have simply outpriced yourself out of all manufacturing.

Yes, made in China and filled with stuff from India might be a good taste of the future. That is, if the future is not already here.

By the way, if you buy anything, look at it all over, feel the thing, throw it up, analyse it with a mass spectrometer, lick it, smell it, ... If something is what it appears to be, I shall die with shock - no marketer ever has presented a product as it truly is.

Sriram Khé said...

Ah, yes, marketing. And you MBA guys even schooled in how to do it, right? hehehe ;)

Speaking of MBA, I am sure you spotted the chart in the Economist on the return on investment in an MBA credential ...
Your own IIM-A ranks high there ... their alumni might produce marketers who decide on crazy labels, or package derivatives that nobody can understand but the public will pay when they go belly up, but dammit the return shall be high on their investment ... muahahaha ;)

Ramesh said...

Oh Yes, I made a fantastic return on my MBA investment. Remember, those days costs were very low and in any case the government subsidised it like crazy.

The government also made a brilliant investment subsidising my MBA. I have paid back in taxes a colossal amount over the years - their return on the investment outweighs my own. Way above what I would have paid in taxes had I not got a MBA.

If there is a better argument for the state investing in education, I haven't heard one. The best investment any state can make anywhere in the world is to invest in the education of its young. A great pity that the US does not consider it fit to do so. Especially considering that it easily has one of the best education systems in the world.

Sriram Khé said...

Hey, you should do some back of the envelope calculation and blog about how much the government might have invested in you and how much you might have paid back in taxes. (I think you might be able to do this without revealing your income and wealth details, right?) That will be so phenomenally valuable for people to think about.

A little while ago, when talking with father about a cousin's daughter having done awesomely well in the XII exams, father noted that the annual tuition fees alone (is this right?) at the RECs (now the NIT) is about 70,000 rupees. If I include the living expenses also, then four years of engineering at the RECs is 300,000-plus rupees? If I use the PPP method, that is roughly 30,000 US dollars for four years. Have colleges become pricier, or are subsidies now lower, or both?

Here in the US, the same Republicans who critique that higher education subsidy is a waste of taxpayer money have no qualms spending gazillions on bombs and bases. No point trying to engage them on the rational logic of investment and returns :(

Kalpana said...

lol.. I was wondering the same ;) I had my friend buy me an Ipod from the US and I was so happy and proud at first to have something bought from the US until I found the "Made in china" at the back of my ipod.

Sriram Khé said...

Pretty much every smartphone is ... as an old Seinfeld line goes, "not that there is anything wrong with that!" ;)