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Only 14% of Mother's Day cards at CVS made in USA

nebish
(@nebish)
World Class Peach

This problem has been on my radar for several years now, the importation of greeting cards.

Today was one of the worst examples of where this issue is going.  I counted 72 Mother's Day cards at this CVS and only 10 of those were made in USA (13.88%).  Most were made in China, a few Vietnam and a couple Hong Kong.  I look at this regularly whenever I go to buy cards.  I'm not sure I have seen Vietnam or Hong Kong before.

Pisses me off.  All these cards should be made in the US! 

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Topic starter Posted : May 2, 2021 1:10 pm
jszfunk
(@jszfunk)
World Class Peach

To be honest, greeting cards,b day cards and etc are all a ripoff anyways. I quit buying them years ago. They are expensive and probably 9 times out of 10 they end up in the trash by the recipient anyways. If you really want to do something special for mothers day, sit down and write them a note/letter and express yourself that way.It makes it more personal and heartfelt, instead of giving a card that cost 5 bucks or more(getting thrown away) and that thousands of mothers will be getting the same one also. Just my opinion.....

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Posted : May 3, 2021 8:40 am
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach
Posted by: @nebish

 All these cards should be made in the US! 

But should they be? We live in an open global market, and until the economies of southeast Asian countries are on par with others they can continue to offer cheap production and manufacturing. Until that happens, I don't see the problem with these countries benefiting from US businesses and visa versa - especially paper printers. Also, I'm not sure what else to expect if you're shopping at a giant chain box store. There are greeting cards made in the US that you can find online or in smaller mom & pop retailers. All you can do is either buy US-made cards or open a print shop that can compete with southeast Asia.

www.porkchopbob.com

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Posted : May 3, 2021 10:03 am
Rusty
(@rusty)
Peach Extraordianire

Mathematically speaking - and to be completely fair, most mothers (in the world population) are probably Chinese. 😉

I agree with the sentiment that a hand-written note (or lunch out?) is more meaningful sentiment for a "Hallmark holiday".

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Posted : May 3, 2021 10:53 am
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

@rusty agreed, I keep blank stationary around if I need a card.

www.porkchopbob.com

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Posted : May 3, 2021 11:30 am
Rusty liked
nebish
(@nebish)
World Class Peach

Different people, different ways of doing things. Some people write messages in their greeting cards (I rarely just sign my name) and some people keep their cards (like old people) I also mail postcards. Children especially appreciate receiving those (they keep those also). 

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Topic starter Posted : May 3, 2021 12:41 pm
nebish
(@nebish)
World Class Peach
Posted by: @porkchopbob
Posted by: @nebish

 All these cards should be made in the US! 

But should they be? We live in an open global market, and until the economies of southeast Asian countries are on par with others they can continue to offer cheap production and manufacturing. Until that happens, I don't see the problem with these countries benefiting from US businesses and visa versa - especially paper printers. Also, I'm not sure what else to expect if you're shopping at a giant chain box store. There are greeting cards made in the US that you can find online or in smaller mom & pop retailers. All you can do is either buy US-made cards or open a print shop that can compete with southeast Asia.

One thing about putting made / assembled in USA as the #1 criteria it does limit select and actually makes decisions easier. And yes, everything that can be made here should be made here. 

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Topic starter Posted : May 3, 2021 12:43 pm
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach
Posted by: @nebish

And yes, everything that can be made here should be made here. 

But why? For whose benefit? You are drawing a line in the sand while ignoring the mechanics of the issue.

I get this sentiment in 1980, or if we're talking about steel or cars, but the world has changed a lot just in the past decade. Like it or not, we live in a global economy, and we are only talking about the printing process here. Hallmark HQ is in Kansas City, which includes illustrators, writers, sales, etc. A great deal of work that goes into these cards is still done here domestically. How do you move manufacture and printing back here without inflating the price of the product? How many people would lose their jobs at Hallmark HQ for the sake of manufacture here? Wouldn't this just be a pyrrhic victory for the sake of a Made in the USA label? More jobs here are always welcome, but they need to be jobs that make economic sense to both the business owner, the employee, and the customer.

www.porkchopbob.com

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Posted : May 3, 2021 12:58 pm
Sang
 Sang
(@sang)
World Class Peach

I have software called Microsoft Digital Image Pro 9 - used to make cards, banners, posters, etc.  I have been making my own birthday and special occasion cards for years.  I bought thicker (card stock) paper to print them on.  I use Google image search to find images on the internet to put on the card that are personal to the person I am making the card for - or relevant things like 'Happy 60th Birthday' items, or a picture, etc.  Much cheaper than buying cards at the store, and more personalized.

For Christmas, I use all the cards all the charities I have given to have sent me over the years.  I wish they would use the money I give them for their cause instead of sending me cards, pens, calculators, etc.  I also never have to buy address labels for the rest of my life (unless I move) ... 

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Posted : May 3, 2021 2:26 pm
nebish
(@nebish)
World Class Peach
Posted by: @porkchopbob
Posted by: @nebish

And yes, everything that can be made here should be made here. 

But why? For whose benefit? You are drawing a line in the sand while ignoring the mechanics of the issue.

I get this sentiment in 1980, or if we're talking about steel or cars, but the world has changed a lot just in the past decade. Like it or not, we live in a global economy, and we are only talking about the printing process here. Hallmark HQ is in Kansas City, which includes illustrators, writers, sales, etc. A great deal of work that goes into these cards is still done here domestically. How do you move manufacture and printing back here without inflating the price of the product? How many people would lose their jobs at Hallmark HQ for the sake of manufacture here? Wouldn't this just be a pyrrhic victory for the sake of a Made in the USA label? More jobs here are always welcome, but they need to be jobs that make economic sense to both the business owner, the employee, and the customer.

For who's benefit? Um,  hmmm, let's see...how about the 140 employees at American Greeting's plant in Philly that closed or how about the several hundred employees of American Greeting in Bardstown KY that closed?

See, globalist free traders do not care about jobs here in America.  Those people that lost their jobs, heh, they are just simply working at a printing process shop.  Hey you slackers, get a real job we have global economics to work out here.

That's the problem.  Free traders never think or worry about who's job was lost when they buy their made in China or made in Thailand or made in wherever country product.

Why do you think anyone at Hallmark would loss their job if we excluded imported greeting cards?  There is NO retail price advantage for the imported card vs the US card.  They cost the SAME.  But guess what, oh yeah, how about those profits?  Yup, those yummy profits for the outsourcing company.  Hallmark has cut 1500 workers at their Kansas City facility since 2007.  So the company must be on hard times right?  Nope.  How about six figure revenue annual gains.  Oh, that's just a lean and mean company in today's open global economy.  Spare me. 

Just printing process jobs.  Just textile process jobs.  Just some random job that doesn't impact you, so who cares, hey let's get ready for those jobs of the future.  Been hearing that for about 30 years now, all while those workers of today get left behind.  Don't need to make that here, oh no, much cheaper to make that in some other country.  Don't worry, your government will figure out something for you.

Be American!  Buy American!!

 

 

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Topic starter Posted : May 3, 2021 9:36 pm
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach
Posted by: @nebish

Why do you think anyone at Hallmark would loss their job if we excluded imported greeting cards?  There is NO retail price advantage for the imported card vs the US card.  They cost the SAME.  But guess what, oh yeah, how about those profits?  Yup, those yummy profits for the outsourcing company.   

That's exactly my point, no company is going to walk back profits. And if they did, someone is going to lose their job.

It's not that I don't sympathize with people who lose their jobs, come on dude, that's complete BS. The jobs simply need to be viable. Industries and consumers change and it's not up to the consumer to foot the bill for factories making products that are no longer popular. Should I buy cigarettes just because the Marlboro plant isn't doing well? No, of course not. Some businesses are left behind in the dust on time and changing tastes and people have to find new jobs. Private sector jobs in an open market are not entitlements. And the greeting card business is not what it used to be because they are dependent on brick and mortar stores.

https://www.businessinsider.com/hallmark-stores-closing-list-addresses-2020-1

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hallmark-cuts-staff-and-pay-seeing-no-end-to-rapid-and-steep-declines-11585944784

Some of these plants are closing because the market is shrinking and becoming more competitive. Not to mention, the cost of greeting cards has skyrocketed the past decade, what was $.99 a decade ago are $4-5, or even $10+ for a folded piece of paper thanks to increased cost of print production.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/why-are-greeting-cards-so-expensive/273086/

You and I might see 6-figure revenue gains (citation? I've only found reference to steep declines), but that actually seems incredibly slim for a major company that has product in stores across the country and beyond. Considering the writers, illustrators, marketing, distribution, etc, that goes into each card. Some companies, especially small startups, can only survive using foreign manufacturing.

So what I'm asking you is, how do you fix it? Outside of government subsidies to promote domestic production (which you indicated is not the answer) why not just let the market dictate the outcome? Isn't that as "American" as it gets?

www.porkchopbob.com

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Posted : May 4, 2021 9:31 am
nebish
(@nebish)
World Class Peach
Posted by: @porkchopbob

You and I might see 6-figure revenue gains (citation? I've only found reference to steep declines), but that actually seems incredibly slim for a major company that has product in stores across the country and beyond.

Forgive me, I had my figures a little wrong.  It was actually $300 million over a 3 year period, so 9 figures averaged annually. And I should've said 1500 jobs in KC since 1999, not 2007. Granted the story is from 2008 but still discusses the issues at hand (outsouring).  Excerpt in question:

As CEO, Hall has overseen the outsourcing of many jobs that used to be done at the Kansas City headquarters and at plants in Independence, Lawrence, Topeka and Leavenworth. Since 2005, Hallmark has eliminated 2,100 jobs worldwide, slimming to a workforce of 15,900 in 2007, according to O’Dell, Hallmark’s spokeswoman. The Kansas City headquarters, which had 5,700 employees in 1999, is now down to 4,200.

Meanwhile, the Hall family has seen its revenue climb — by $300 million in the past three years alone, according to Hallmark press releases. The company releases revenue figures but not profit numbers, so it’s unclear if the job cuts are to keep the company healthy or simply to increase the Hall family’s take.

https://www.thepitchkc.com/hallmark-cares-enough-to-send-the-very-best-jobs-to-china/

I read your first two links and will get to the Atlantic article later today.

The drop in demand is certainly real.  The government can't create demand (other than buying a bunch of something...like electric vehicles or something that they want to push - not that they would do that with greeting cards).  But what they can and in my opinion should do is to restrict outsourcing and imports that harm domestic jobs.

When those American Greeting locations close it is a big hit to the communities and the tax base those areas rely upon, and obviously the individuals.  Schools, police and fire levies, etc.  If they close because the demand for their products goes away, that is one thing.  If they close because the company is going to make that same product in China only to import it back here for sale, that is wrong wrong wrong.

The market doesn't always get it right.  We need what is best for America and outsourcing jobs as a whole is not right for America. 

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Topic starter Posted : May 4, 2021 11:10 am
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

@nebish

The article also mentions corporate layoffs and production artists included in that 2100, it's not just manufacture. This is what happens when a company outgrows itself. Sometimes it's just a matter of a soft reset, trimming the fat. You have to ask, what would their profits have been had they not outsourced or laid off workers? We can't know, obviously.

Hey, I've been to Youngstown, I get what happens when industry leaves. But I've also been to Pittsburgh, where a city reinvents itself. The answer is for communities to not become dependent on a single employer or industry. And greeting cards were not an industry just a few decades ago, and they might be a smaller industry a few decades from now. States often give tax breaks to companies that bring jobs, which is great for workers - you lose corporate tax but the state still gets taxes from those employed from their own spending ability. I don't think restricting companies from international manufacture is the answer - I think it will actually hurt small businesses.

www.porkchopbob.com

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Posted : May 4, 2021 11:46 am
nebish
(@nebish)
World Class Peach

It will hurt some businesses and entrepreneurs and it will have positive effects for others. 

What has taken place over the last 50 years can't be undone in 5 years. And maybe it just continues on the way it has. I think that's the wrong path. 

Guess what, was at CVS again last night buying a wedding card. There were 6 made in USA and I don't know 40 or more that weren't. Then I get to my Mom's condo and see sanitizing wipes made in Turkey and shampoo made in Canada!  WTF!!

I'm going to be on Florida's Atlantic coast near Jacksonville for a wedding Friday. @porkchopbob I think you are further south though?

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Topic starter Posted : May 5, 2021 8:39 am
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

@nebish I agree, Pandora's Box is open. But it's better to see the possibilities, what entrepreneurs now have access to, rather than see what we have lost.

ha yeah, Jacksonville might as well be in another state. About 4-5 hours away, would have been cool to meet up!

Historic Jacksonville is kind of cool, and you can check out the house where the ABB first jammed: 2844 Riverside Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32205

If you have extra time, Amelia Island is close by, lots of state parks on the outer banks or and beach-side seafood. Also, the United States' oldest city, St Augustine, is just down the road. Either way, have a blast!

www.porkchopbob.com

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Posted : May 5, 2021 9:19 am
nebish liked
nebish
(@nebish)
World Class Peach

I should have some time Friday to see what is around so thanks!

Did just want to touch on something here again, while the thread title, my original points and most of our discourse has been on greeting cards, of course the issue is much broader than that.

I'm not sure that people realize the scope to which jobs and outsourcing is taking place unless it is happening in your area.  Stories of storage bag manufacturers or consumer battery plants that are closing and laying off 100 or so workers only make local news and aren't widely shared.

So then, when things like zip lock bags are increasingly coming from Thailand (and now some Glad bags) and the popular reusable plastic storage containers, still mostly US, but the imported versions are being more widely seen, consumer batteries like AA and AAA are increasingly being found with Singapore or Poland or China on them instead of USA.  I can't honestly remember the last time I saw a 9v battery that was made in the US.  Band aids, toothbrushes, books - other printing process items, not just greeting cards, so many things we used to make here are gone and so many things we still make here are under threat of being offshored - there is a cost with that.  While some cities and communities can transform into tech centers or medical research hubs, or adaptive and specialty manufacturing - losing all those other job centers hurts because of the diversity of the worker's skills and sometimes lack of.  We are told retrain, retrain, retrain, I went to a trade school 20 years ago with guys who were there after their jobs had been sent to Mexico by Werner Ladder. People get left behind.  New opportunities aren't the same.  There is a cost to losing these jobs to other countries.  While the greeting card might be a dying product, others are not, and they leave.  The demand is still there, but the means of US production and jobs go away.  It's a big problem, and like you say you've been to Youngstown, I think largely the only people that really feel it or know of it's reach are the people that live or know somebody who lives in these communities that see companies close for foreign production.  I think it is the #1 problem in our country and something I am very passionate about. 

In circling back, it might not have been the most effective way to again open this topic, with a silly greeting card, when you drill down, the problem is mammoth and far reaching.

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Topic starter Posted : May 6, 2021 8:48 am
PorkchopBob
(@porkchopbob)
World Class Peach

Fair enough. I agree losing jobs overseas is an issue, especially in OH where manufacturing was once king, but I don't think it's as big of an issue as it was 20-30 years ago. And I don't think manufacturing jobs should be viewed as some kind of entitlement - no job is safe from being left behind. Communities have to change their way of thinking, just as other communities have adapted when their industries left.

As one door closes, another opens. There are ghost towns all over the world because whatever supported it dries up - whether its mining, lumber, agricultural, etc. Manufacturing towns are not unique, they are just the most recent and perhaps most visible. People who don't adapt get left behind, no one is entitled to their trade. Corporate jobs get slashed, HR and customer service jobs get outsourced to India, it's not just manufacturing work force that gets affected. Even a lot of TV animation is sent overseas for final production (smaller domestic animation studios have since opened that managed to change the industry). Almost any job requires re-training at some point. My dad worked his whole life at Oscar Mayer, first in the plant and then corporate. For decades it employed scores of people - not to mention the bars that surrounded it. Eventually the slaughter house closed, then the production plant, and eventually corporate. The entire campus sits empty, it's not just the blue collar workers that were affected. Today, the largest employer in the city is a software company. No one is losing their fingers on the killing floor, times change.

Youngstown began losing population in the 1930s - that's how long ago industry dried up, and it wasn't because of foreign production. The competition was domestic. WWII and the Depression didn't help, but transportation changed, being on a major river artery mattered less (even the dry dock near me in the Brooklyn waterfront is now an IKEA parking lot). Mansion sit vacant on the hilltops there, it hasn't figured out how to recover. Meanwhile Rochester NY was such a bustling city on the lake 100 years ago that it was building a subway before shipping lanes changed and its fortunes dipped. But today its turning itself around as an education and arts center. Green Bay had a tough time recovering from all of the paper mills closing, but today it's better off for it. The rivers were polluted and the air stunk. It took a few decades, just like Pittsburgh, but the city has recovered finding new job growth. The Rust Belt is no longer.

I taught at the Art Department at CUNY Brooklyn. There was an older faculty member who never taught, but he had the keys to every room. I found out he taught type-setting. I went down to the basement one day and saw rows and rows of print presses, all to be removed. Back in the 1960s, that's what the Art Dept's specialty was, the equipment was cutting edge and NYC was an epicenter of printing, advertising, graphic design - thousands of jobs. 40 years later they were all museum pieces, they no longer had any practical use, type-setting is now done by a computer program. It's not just manufacture where people can get left behind, technology causes every industry to change faster every year.

Meanwhile, foreign companies like KIA open manufacturing centers here. Perhaps that's the answer, rather than fight job loss, seek out the reverse. My point is, attracting manufacture jobs is great, but times change and communities can't wait for those industries to return any more than SF can wait for another gold rush (spoiler: they didn't). A lot of the products you list are mostly wasteful plastics or batteries that are begging for environmentally-friendly safe options - there are opportunities for competition rather than tightening our grip on jobs that will be dust.

www.porkchopbob.com

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Posted : May 6, 2021 10:47 am
nebish
(@nebish)
World Class Peach

I went to the Gray House and also visited some of the Lynyrd Skynyrd sights around Jacksonville.  I liked that.

My Grandfather lost his office job to a computer at Youngstown Steel in the early 1970s.  Technology advances, consumer needs and wants evolve, government regulations and policy changes.  It all effects something.  I focus on the government policy aspect because that is what I think can and should be in the best interest for our nation.  What are we doing, what are we not doing, what are we allowing our corporations to do, what are we allowing foreign corporations to do?

Allowing US corporations to seek cheaper labor by shedding US jobs is not in the best interest of our nation, allowing foreign corporations to import their products free of charge to this wonderful consumer market is not in our best interest.   You mention Kia, I love that Kia has invested in Georgia to build vehicles here, but I loathe that Kia is only building maybe 2 of their 10 product offerings here (by memory I bet it is 2 maybe 3).  So they build 2-3 vehicles here, import 7-8 others and put pressure on domestic manufacturers for market share and that pressure also forces domestic manufacturers to seek lower overhead costs to compete with the imported goods and they outsource.

Like you said, times change....but corporations laying off US workers just to make it in Mexico or Vietnam and importing it back here for sale is bad.  Foreign corporations undercutting US labor and environmental costs and standards to sell items here cheaper is bad.  

There are too many promises of the jobs of tomorrow for all the workers who need a spot all while jobs of today keep leaving.  The outsourcing problem isn't quite as bad as it was in 1990 or 2000 simply because of the sheer number that has already been thrown away, but for certain it is still happening. 

You might try to minimize the battery production jobs, or the disposable plastic jobs....or any job that puts an item on our shelf for sale, but there is a cost, a human cost.  When you pick up an item that is made in Malaysia instead of the US, made in Mexico instead of the US, made in China instead of the US there is a segment of the population that could be making, used to be making those products and it's gone and those people don't always blend back into the workforce better off, many time they do not.

I actually took economics twice.  The first time I slept through most of it.  I still passed.  Years later, I took Econ again and paid more attention.  It only works when all things are equal.  All things are not equal.  Capital seeking it's best return on principle is going to hurt American workers.  Corporations trying to be efficient are going to leave US workers behind.  Corporations are going to do what corporations must do, it is up to our government to tilt the table back, but they don't - because corporations control what the government does.   

The global economy has as much to do with our wealth inequality, our unemployment and participation rate, our stress and dependency on government social programs, our lack of reinvestment in community, our poverty, our troubled schools, the weight on wage growth, the death of unions.  Sure, we can buy some cheap stuff, we can throw some stuff away instead of getting it repaired and resusing. But the people that used to make that stuff are on food stamps and welfare.  They are retrained into fields that see too many workers chasing too few jobs with lower pay and benefits. 

A worker with a high school diploma can make more (in a factory) than a college graduate service worker (nurse), yet somehow we keep being told that the factory job isn't important and that job should be in Mexico or Taiwan and then the worker can make less at some other job.

Outsourcing makes sense when the worker has a skill set that can best be used to create a better return on investment.  But when employee doesn't control it, when the corporation seeks a better ROI moves to a lower cost labor market, the US employee is lost.

It is a problem, still a very big problem - and I think free market capitalism where corporations call all the shots is sending this country down the river. 

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Topic starter Posted : May 11, 2021 12:56 am
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