Sunday, September 7, 2008

supporting child labor in every country

Since all the products at American Walmarts are made by small children in China, do Walmarts IN China get their products from here, too, or are they supplied by another developing country that's being exploited for its cheap labor?

I have no idea. My guess would be that it all still comes from China, but since all the product labels are in Chinese I couldn't say for sure.

Either way, I went to Walmart today with my friend Romy (she's the "Romy" to my "Michele") and it was fabulous. It reminded me a lot of home, just seeing that giant yellow smiley face and all the signs for "rollbacks". I don't even shop at Walmart in the States, but shopping at Walmart here in China comforted me.

Something that's always interesting when you're visiting (or living, in my case) somewhere foreign is how many mistakes you make from simply not knowing the language. So far I haven't really built up the courage to attempt full-on conversations with locals or anything, so it's not language mistakes yet. For the time being, it's mostly accidental purchases. Like purchasing sweet sliced bread instead of regular white bread. Or salty, sour-seasoned dried orange peels instead of "dried plums" like the package indicated.

It's really just a trial and error thing until I learn more than two characters (ni and hao, which are never on product labels anyway). Everything is an adventure in China, even grocery shopping! Every day I go in with my list of things to buy, wondering what little surprises I might encounter. For example, did you know that they don't sell ANY sunscreen in China? It's true. For as much as Chinese women like to walk around with parasols to protect their skin from UV rays, they don't have entire aisles devoted to sunscreen like in the United States. I found one bottle, after look at four stores, and it was 80RMB, which is super expensive, especially since it was only 2 ounces.

They have a wider selection (maybe four or five brands to choose from) of sunblock that doubles as a skin whitener, but putting bleach on my skin is 1. not necessary for me 2. not something I want to experiment with here in China.


Andy said...

No sunscreen? Maybe it's because of the large pollution they already have. Imagine if on top of that you add LOTS of sunscreen? Yikes.

I'm Frank said...

Do they sell parasols there? Maybe they have aisles and aisles of them like we have aisles of sunscreen :P

Anonymous said...

You should wear a sombrero.