Category Archives: Consumer Activism

Why I Don’t Write About AIG Anymore

So someone asked as to why I am not writing updates about AIG anymore.  The simple answer is, my work is done.  The whole point was to draw attention to AIG, before the financial crisis.  I knew it was rotten and now, so does everyone else.  So I don’t have to write about AIG anymore, the word is out, my work is done and I am pleased to see people are paying more attention to the likes of AIG.

You should not trust this company, be cautious and be careful when dealing with them.  They work for you, not the otherway around.

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Filed under Business, Consumer Activism, Consumerism, Economics, Globalization, Government

Vitamin C Not Made in China, Updated

Ok, so some people want an update on the Vitamin C post.  It’s a bit dated, so this will help update the list.  For those of you who do not know, China produces the bulk of vitamin C in the world.  They got that way by the government of China subsidizing the production cost of vitamin C, allowing them to undercut everyone else on the market until they drove everyone else out of the market.  For your information, that’s a violation of the WTO of which they are a member of and are not suppose to do such unfair trade practices. 

 

This is in an update, so go read the old post and the comments and then read this one.  Don’t expect a long list since almost ALL vitamin C sold in the US, comes from China.  In all honesty, get your vitamin C from natural sources!  The Chinese in a Wall Street Journal article defended their practices of price fixing, they don’t want to play fair and they have proven to not care about your health. 

 

My best advice, advocate at the local, state and federal level for country of origin labeling for all products sold in the US.  Then you will know what you are getting and can make a real informed choice.

 

Here’s what I have found:

 

Vitamin C foundation 

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Filed under Business, Consumer Activism, Consumerism, Food, Globalization, International Trade

What AIG Doesn’t Want You to Know

You might have noticed, at least I did, that since we gave AIG way more money than we should, they don’t have commercials on TV. Oh, but wait, they do! They just don’t call it AIG anymore, they want you to think that the company is someone else. But since AIG is so damn cheap and their marketing always sucked, it was pretty obvious when I saw commercials for Matrix Direct and Century 21 Insurance that it was really, AIG.

First Matrix Direct was acquired by AIG in 2007. Their commercial is an AIG commercial in fact is almost word for word the same. They were so lazy they didn’t even bother to change the graphics that said AIG to Matrix Direct. If you are going to try and pretend you are not something you are, at least change the text.

Also in 2007, AIG about 21st Century Insurance, they are on TV for auto insurance. Now this is an actual new commercial but they style is classic AIG, lame, tacky and misleading, so it was obvious to me that it was AIG.

Both commercial are currently playing so if you see them, just remember, they are AIG, the company that stole our money. So don’t give them even more money because we know they can’t handle it, you might as well burn the cash with the way they operate.

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Filed under Business, Consumer Activism

The Price of Goods is Up, Thanks to Globalization

Here’s one of those little facts the free traders and globalizationist forgot to mention. Last week, Wal Mart said that its cost for shipping goods to the US had doubled and if oil goes to $200, it will double again.

So last year, it cost about $3,000 to ship a container from China to the US. Today it is about $6,000 – $8,000 and if it oil goes to $200 a barrel it will be estimated to cost $15,000. Of course Wal Mart or anyone else is not going to eat that cost; they will pass it on to you the consumer.

So, lets say a container has 1,000 products that have a cost of $30 before shipping. So last year, the shipping cost was $3 per item. Today it is $6-8 per item, if oil goes to $200, it will be $15 per item. So something that might have cost $33 by the time it hit the shores of the US, now costs $37 and could cost $45, a $12 difference just in the shipping cost alone and that doesn’t include the cost to get it from the port in the US to your local store, that’s an additional cost as well! Now times that, by 80% of the products in Wal Mart or Target and you can just imagine how much bigger your bill is compared to two years ago. Add to it your cost to drive there and your ability to buy goods has gone down.

Then if you really want to have some fun, factor in the weaker dollar that makes everything more expensive that is not sourced from the US. So overall, you pay more for the very same thing, yet get no added value for that extra money you just paid. The globalization people never mentioned this when telling people how great globalization is, because they knew you wouldn’t support such a system if you knew.

There is a way to combat this, a four step buying guide that is very simple to follow. First, source locally as much as possible. Buy from farmer’s markets or local Community Supported Agriculture. Go for local as much as possible and demand those producers source locally as much as possible. This helps to minimize the swings in global commodity pricing as well as gas prices because the transportation factor is less.

Next, go national; again, demand the seller sources locally as much as possible. Where I live garlic doesn’t grow so well, but they do grow garlic in California, so that’s where I buy from. I will pay more but I will not have to pay the extra $3-15 for it to be shipped from China. If that doesn’t work, source from responsible companies that practice on the global scale. Good luck finding them, most do not open themselves up enough to really see how they get their goods to you. Last, buy from retailers that are more focused on supporting the local community than with some global agenda.

Yeah, I can hear it now; people will say that is protectionism. No, it is responsible shopping. When goods from afar cost more and use up our vital resource, that is not being responsible. It is better to buy local, save our gas, spend less on oil and have more money to go further. That’s sensible shopping.

If you don’t want to be impacted by the rise in global energy prices, you need to adjust and force businesses to adjust by spending your money in different ways, being conscious of how you get your resources and how they get theirs. Demand transparency, believe me, most will not want to be transparent because they know you will not do business with them if they are. They got us into this mess so they don’t want you knowing that. But if you prefer paying an extra $20 with no added value, do nothing, it will come. If you like to have your money go further, simple changes can make a huge difference.

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Filed under Business, Consumer Activism, Consumerism, Energy, Gas, Globalization, International Trade

American Bitter

So it has been a while since I posted.  I know, I’ve been sick with this nasty cold and before that working for the man 10 plus hour days.  One of the things that caught my attention was Obama’s comment about American’s being bitter.  Well hell ya!  Bitter is just getting warmed up, he and everyone in Washington should be thanking God that’s all we are is bitter otherwise we would have a repeat of the revolution and lets face it, the guns do more damage these days and the tea would be from China.

 

I think this picture does a great job of showing why Americans are feeling bitter.  This is not a country of the people for the people.  It is a country for the corporate and Wall Street elite.  While homeowners go under, Wall Street gets bail outs.  We are told that home owners were not responsible when purchasing new homes at high prices.  Yeah, I will agree with that.  But so were the banks who gave out the loans that are now getting bail outs.  Why are they allowed to benefit from their stupidity while the home owner is made to suffer? 

 

Banks get lower rates but that doesn’t get passed down to consumers.  Our dollar is falling to make good cheaper to export, yet of course that means oil goes up, gold goes up and other basics go up.  So a few companies benefit while we all suffer. 

 

We are consuming less oil as a nation, in fact we haven’t increased our oil consumption in the past 5 years yet oil prices have doubled.  We are told to use less, we are!  We are told to use more fuel efficient cars, hey, why don’t you make more than 1!  If it isn’t 50 miles a gallon then it doesn’t pass the fuel efficient test in my book. 

 

Food prices are up, not because we are eating more but because we allow speculators to run rampant on the commodities market but no one wants to stop it because how else will the hedge fund managers make any money, so the rest of us get to pay $5 a gallon for milk.

 

Bitter, yeah, most people have a right to be, our leadership (which by the way I put Obama on that list since he is in the Senate) have failed we the people and we the people have a right to bitter and cling to anything we want that actually is working.  Got a problem with that Obama, then you should not be president.

 

 

Photobucket

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Filed under Consumer Activism, Consumerism, Energy, Government, Life, Politics

China Selling you Counterfeit Computers

It wasn’t enough to poison our kids and our pets, now Chinese companies want to sell you counterfeit parts for your computer too.  The US and EU are actually cracking down on this one, which is telling in itself, cracking down on computer parts but not food, but that’s another blog post. 

 

As a fair trade capitalist, I think it is about time we slap some real penalties on China, they obviously do not want to play by the rules so do like you do in anything, penalize those that break the rules.  In hockey if you do unsportsmanlike conduct, you get thrown out, do the same to China, throw them out of the WTO until they learn that safety and brand promises are important aspects to a business and it is not for them to make money at all costs, some costs are not worth it, like a consumers health and safety.

 

Article Link Here

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Filed under Business, China, Consumer Activism, Consumerism, Globalization, International Trade, The World, Trade

Monsanto Strikes at Ben and Jerry’s

I don’t eat Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, just not my thing, so I don’t have a dog in this race.  I do however applaud them for informing consumers about the quality of their products and the quality of their ingredients particularly if the milk comes from cows with hormones and antibiotics.  I like that and wish more companies would do that.  But then along comes Monsanto that for some reason feels that informing consumers is a bad thing.

 

A “farmers group” backed by Monsanto (that’s spin for, Monsanto partner farmers who would lose money if you knew which was which milk) say it unfair that you know what is in your milk, that it creates a bias.  Well, if Monsanto and these farmers feel their product is so safe, why not show us the studies?  Why not open up their farms and show us how safe their milk is?  But they don’t.  They don’t have independent labs test either.  So if their milk is so safe, why are they not doing what is expected in a capitalist system and show us why their products is better?  Maybe because they know we know better than to fall for it and ignorance is the only way they can sell their chemical soup they label as milk.

 

I wouldn’t buy from Monsanto because they don’t’ know what capitalism is all about.  The best product wins and that means informing consumers so the market can decide what is best.  Monsanto knows it has a bad product and doesn’t want to play by the rules; they don’t want you the consumer to be able to make up your own mind.  Of course if you don’t follow Monsanto’s made up rules, they sue the day lights out of you.  Be a good consumer, don’t buy their products. 

 

If these hormones are so safe, why are they banned in Canada, Japan and the EU?  Monsanto hasn’t answered that question and until they do, you have no reason to trust them. Use your consumer voice and demand more labeling and more choice.  We are told free trade and globalization is good for consumers because it gives us more choice, so why doesn’t that hold true for milk labels? 

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Filed under Business, Consumer Activism, Consumerism, Food, Health, Trade