(Oct. 1, 2007) — I have been an active subscriber of Plastics News for as many years as you have been in print. Every week I review all of the recent articles and especially the Mailbag and Viewpoint sections, as they are an indication of the industry's opinions. In an Aug. 27 Mailbag [“Mattel Inc. deserves punishment aplenty,” Page 6], Lonnie Maxcy is simply mirroring what a lot of us who work in the plastics industry have been saying for a long time — that this it simply the tip of the iceberg.
Have you taken a walk through any Wal-Mart throughout North America lately?
I will venture a guess that better than 98 percent of all of the shelves throughout Wal-Mart are stocked with items that are not manufactured in the United States, but rather, China, Vietnam, South Korea, Taiwan, India, etc.
I really can't allow Wal-Mart to take all of the blame for it, however. Wal-Mart in its purchasing directives has slashed its budgets to such a degree that manufacturers in this country cannot afford to make products anymore if they want to sell to Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart's competitors and still make a profit.
Wal-Mart's directives have dictated that value and quality are second-tier issues when compared to price.
Maxcy's letter regarding Mattel doesn't surprise me in the least bit. What does surprise me is it hasn't come to this point much earlier.
The cost of labor and materials are so cheap in China — and most of the Far East for that matter — that you can't help but make record profits in dealing with Chinese manufacturers.
When in the hell are people in this country going to wake up and smell the coffee?
This has been coming for quite a few years. People in this country who are shocked by all of the news regarding quality issues and contaminants found in products produced in China should not be pointing their fingers at companies like Mattel.
What they should do is stand in front of a mirror and point that same finger forward and blame the person whose image is found in the reflection. Yes, America, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
For years now, Americans have gotten greedy and very lazy. By allowing Wal-Mart to dictate its pricing strategies to manufacturers, those manufacturers are given two choices: compete or go out of business.
The cost of doing business in this country has risen to the point that manufacturing organizations will not survive unless they move out and have their products produced in countries where the profit margins make it worthwhile.
Gentlemen, America must put its foot down and make it more difficult for manufacturers of product lines made outside of the USA to make these record profits. If not, Wal-Mart will continue to grow, more and more manufacturing corporations will close their doors here in the USA, and more bad-quality products will be brought into this country to be handled and potentially ingested by our children.