Made in the USA or… Ode to my White Corner Shelf Unit

In this troubled economy, it seems to have become popular here in the U.S. to “buy American.” Now, I think it’s ideal and patriotic (and all that crap) to buy stuff that says “Made in the USA” whenever possible… However, apparently the mere EXISTENCE of these words on the package of a product, does NOT necessarily ensure that the product is of better quality than something that says: “Made in China.”

Recently I purchased a white, corner shelf unit to put in my dining room. Ohhhh, White-Corner-Shelf-Unit, how I’ve longed for this day when you and I would be united and you would stand up for me in the corner of my dining room and I could place lovely little knick-knacks upon your surfaces! You will make my dining room look like a page out of ‘Martha Stuart’s Living’, and I, in kind, promise to dust you, and clean you and protect you from children, pets or vacuum cleaners that might color on, spill on, scratch, chip or ding you.

OK, sorry to be so dramatic, but it is imperative that you understand the extent to which I have pined for this shelving unit. I dream of it… how perfectly it will complete the room. It is my passion. It is my madness. The day finally comes. I find it! I have a gift card! I purchase it! I take it home! I can’t wait to put it together! I collect and purchase JUST THE RIGHT bric-a-brac in which to place on the shelves once it’s assembled! I open the box! I slide out the contents! I locate the pieces! I read the directions! I do not see all of the pieces! What the #@%$?!?! How can this be? How can it be MISSING pieces? I PAID for it, did I not?

It was enclosed in a box, on the shelf of a reputable store, IN AMERICA! This IS America, after all, land of plenty. Meaning, there are PLENTY of foreign-made goods for us all! Let me be honest… I don’t REALLY care where it comes from, just so long as I can decorate the rooms of my dwelling with calm assurance that the purchased item will look just like it does on the box. America: We want It = We seek It = We find It = We buy It = We have It! How can this be happening? It is an outrage. It. Is. An. Injustice.

This is really terrible. My parents are coming over later this evening to see this thing assembled and adorned, and for crying out loud… My mom made BROWNIES! Now I will have nothing to show them… nothing but an empty corner with a stray ball of cat-hair in it… sort of reminds me of a tumble-weed blowing down a long, lonely desert road.

Several heavy sighs and slanderous-remarks-about-the-incompetent-retail-chain later, defeated, and with slumped shoulders, I pack up the box with the pieces that ARE there, and start to re-calculate my game plan. As if peering into a crystal ball… I can see my future… an agitated phone call to customer service (waiting on hold for at least 10 minutes)… an angry rummage to find the blasted receipt (IF I still even have it!!)… A trip BACK to the store (wasted gas money)…

So I’m angrily SHOVING pieces back INTO the box, packing it up and calling my Formerly-Cherished-White-Corner-Shelf-Unit all kinds of nasty names and I think I happen to include the phrase “stupid-Made-in-China-piece-of-crap”… when I happen to notice stamped right on the bottom of the box: “Made in the USA.”

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