While I’m sorry to see world-wide shipping plummeting, which has implications not only for Panama, but for much of the rest of the world that has been inundated by cheap crap made in China. And it’s all crap! It doesn’t make any difference if it has a so-called brand label. Cuisinart … used to be a respected brand. We’ve had two coffee grinders that quickly died, and my daughter had another. Guess what? All made in China. All crap! You think I’m going to buy another product with the Cuisinart label?
Bought a belt with the label Nautica, very handsome but made in China … and the so-called genuine leather turned out to be some synthetically produced, maybe out of genuine leather scraps, that disintegrated and came apart.
I bought some beautiful, again “genuine leather” TRUE office chairs at Price Smart. I’ve looked and the same furniture is for sale in the US at Costco and Sam’s Club. Nice design. Looks good. Easy to assemble. Comfortable. Almost convinced me, and did for a few months, that China could turn out good products. But within two years the “leather” started pealing off like a snake shedding its skin. All this stuff really looks nice sitting on the floor in the big box stores, and the same company churns out this stuff under a dozen different brand names, but when you start doing research, in this case a law suit in the States against the manufacturer that carefully listed all of the various product brand names, you find out it’s all the same stuff … from China.
Just try buying a light bulb, any light bulb, any brand name that’s not made in China. There are a few I’ve found that are made in Mexico. Give me Mexico any time! In Panama we’re stuck since almost everything comes from China. We have what we call China stores, min-supers and hardware stores usually also run by Chinese Panamanians, some whose families have been in Panama for over 100 years. But everything, imported and … you got it made in China. And so it’s junk. But you have no choice! I bought parts the other day to repair some toilet tanks, tried two different local Chinese hardware stores, both times the parts were defective. And try, just try, returning a defective product in Panama!
To help be socially conscious and not waste electricity, I bought energy-saving lights to try out. Brand new! And right out of the package … didn’t work! So, try taking it back to Do It Center. If they do take it back, and once in a while Do It Center does, you will have invested more time in the process than its worth.
Getting ready to travel … The Samsonite luggage, made in China … were else? … I bought that seemed well-deigned and light weight and was “guaranteed for life” … the supposedly indestructible fiberglass shell split. The guarantee turned out to be worthless. I got nice emails from Samsonite in the US telling me that I had to deal with Samsonite in Panama, who, after repeated attempts, never responded. So I got the message loud and clear and will never buy anything with the Samsonite brand. Problem being Samsonite manufactures suitcases for a lot of different brands making it really challenging to find luggage not made by Samsonite and not made in China.
So I’m ready to go on a trip … and the new Balanzza Mini Digital Luggage scale my wife bought at the airport doesn’t work. Of course it is made in China.
The big goal of Chinese manufacturing is to make a product that looks exactly like the product its knocking off, but no one seems concerned that the product actually works as promised. It seems that every day I get an unsolicited email from a Chinese manufacturer offering to manufacture everything from medical equipment to blow-up, life-sized companions … cheaper and faster than anyone else.
So the chickens are coming home to roost as demand for Chinese junk products decreases, the Chinese economy slows, and shipping declines. Unfortunately because of all the trade that goes through Panama, we’re stuck with tons and tons of Chinese crap. And we haven’t even started on medicines, children’s products, and food that comes from China!