May 25th, 2024

Paying the price for wanting ‘cheap stuff’

By Letter to the Editor on September 18, 2020.

You reach a certain age. Then you hear a voice: “Life is too short to drink cheap wine. Buy the best: Ignore the price.”

I think that the conundrum Canada is facing with China began long before Meng Wanzhou and the two Michaels, the result of our obsession to get everything cheap. We are drowning in the sea of cheap stuff “Made in China.” Once I went through mentally every item I had on me. I found only one that was not from China: a pair of Stanfield’s. The decline of the West began with our desire to pay less for our clothes. Our insatiable craving for everything cheap made China rich and powerful.

China is now the world’s No. 2 economy. In 2020, China is the second-biggest foreign owner of U.S. Treasury Securities after Japan. The United States owes $1.07 trillion to China. It is, with Japan, one-third of the U.S. foreign debt. Meanwhile, China is investing heavily in Africa and other Asian countries, expanding its hegemony. It can be tough on Hong Kong’s democratic movement and ignores the ire of the West. The West makes noises but China doesn’t care. Our obsession to pay less for our clothes made China strong.

Japan was once seen as the country of cheap stuff. Decades ago, a friend went to Niagara Falls and bought a miniature totem poll. When she was back in Japan, she found it was “Made in Japan.” Then Japan was still poor and needed foreign currency. They were obliged to make cheap stuff to satisfy American buyers. Cheap stuff is not traditionally Japanese any more than it is Chinese.

Chinese people are proud of the quality in their traditional art. Their potteries to jewels are expensive and exquisite. I think it’s time for us to go back to emphasizing quality rather than price. In a long run, it will be cheaper because quality products last longer.

Tadashi (Tad) Mitsui


Share this story:

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

welcome to the made in china world. selling out to another country is nothing new for canada’s hapless business and political “leaders”; what we have lacked in leadership since the british presence began here we certainly have made up for with perhaps the world’s foremost followers.
in return for cheap – not only in price, but in shoddy quality – we get to trade with the unfree world’s worst human rights violator, along with our ridiculous and infantile dependence on the free world’s worst human rights violator, the usa. over 150 years old is the british conquered land of canada, and still a hewer of wood and drawer of water infant are we.

Citi Zen

Its not going to be easy to switch from buying Chinese manufactured goods. Many items, especially elecronic and appliance related, utilize some Chinese components. As do automobiles. Did you know that new Buick you just purchased is made in China??

Southern Albertan

Yes, it would take time, money and guts to make the changes to wean off Chinese manufactured goods.


agreed, citi, but is this not the best way forward? as it stands, we effectively support a wicked regime, and undermine our own ability to have enough decent paying jobs here. does canada never wean away from the teat of another?