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It’s not easy as I thought it would be

I need to start journaling again, at least for awhile, and I’ve had two recent obstacles: lack of a journal and lack of a bedside table lamp. (I’m a bedtime journaler, and I don’t like having to get out of bed to turn the light off when I’m done writing in my journal.)

So the other day at lunchtime I went shopping and I bought milk, yogurt, bananas and a journal. It happened to be my first day of boycotting products made in China, but I completely forgot about that until AFTER I bought the stuff. Moments after purchasing the journal at Staples, I saw Megan on Bank Street, and seeing her reminded me that I was boycotting China. So I checked my bags, and fortunately the yogurt, bananas, milk and journal were not made in China. Phew.

Last night I went out for dinner with a friend and my friend had a car and he offered to take me to Canadian Tire to buy a lamp. Perfect. We arrived at Canadian Tire at 8:50, and made a beeline for the lamps. I found a nice little lamp for $12 and was heading for the cash when I suddenly remembered it had to be made Anywhere But China. I checked. Made in China.

We hastily returned to the lamp aisle and checked the origins of every single lamp, and every single lamp was Made in China. Meanwhile, the intercom was saying “Good evening Canadian Tire Shoppers. The store is closing now. Please take your items to the cash immediately. Thank you for shopping at Canadian Tire.”

As you can see, I was under intense pressure to make a critical split-second decision between ethical and practical considerations. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this, but decision-making is not one of my stronger suits.

“You have no choice,” my friend said, probably in an effort to alleviate the pressure, “they’re all made in China, so you have to buy one that’s made in China.”

“There are other stores,” I said.

“None that are open,” he said, “and their lamps are probably all made in China too.”

“I do have a choice though,” I said, “I could not buy a lamp today. I could look for a lamp another day.”

“Yes,” he said.

“Or,” I said, “I could buy this Made in China lamp today and feel guilty about it.”

“Yes,” he said.

I decided to buy the lamp and feel a little bit guilty. And I decided to offset some of the guilt by telling myself that it would have been environmentally irresponsible to drive all over Ottawa looking for a lamp that wasn’t Made in China.

6 comments to It’s not easy as I thought it would be

  • Carmen

    Zoom, it is indeed really really hard, and sometimes EXPENSIVE, to buy things that are NOT made in China. I do my best to moderate, rather than totally ban “China purchases”. One fact that did annoy me the last few winters, though…I could not find garlic (!!!) that did not come from China. I refused to buy it. So this winter, I must find a garlic source close to home.

  • It can crimp one’s cart alright. I tried boycotting everything from the U.S. That made me aware of imports at least.

    So have you written in it yet?

  • Carmen – I had no idea about the garlic! The CCOC landscaper, Gary, has a brother who is an organic garlic farmer in the Ottawa area…maybe he can get us through the winters?

    Pearl. I did write in it last night, but you know what? Karma’s a bitch. The light from the new Chinese lamp was hitting the page in such a way that my hand cast a large, dark shadow over the part of the page I was trying to write on. And my pen (which was probably also made in China) was not a good, fluid pen that skimmed across the page – it was a dry, sticky pen that dragged on the page and had very faint ink. It was not a satisfying journal-writing session. I will try again tonight, with a different pen and with the lamp pointed to the wall. Thank you for asking. :)

  • Hello!!!

    Just to say hello and wish a good weekend :o)


  • U shudda got a pda with a backlite, made in Singapore. Then you could text in the dark and post to your blog later.


  • Best pen, never skips — fisher space pen from Lee Valley (and other places). I may have to buy mine again. I seem to have mislaid it. Happy journaling.