Tuesday, October 20, 2015

October 20, 2015--Globalization

I'm a creature of deep habit so when I need new underwear I order them on line from Jockey.

I like them because they shun printed labels and come in long sizes. Unless I have long undershirts, they ride up and out pops my plumber's crack.

Part of my obsessiveness has me doing this twice a year--early fall and early spring. Each time 12 pairs of briefs and 12 v-neck tees.

My recent order just arrived and I was pleased to see stitched-on labels in the shorts but, alas, printed ones in the tees. I should have ordered a few more dozen and stashed them away because the trend in labels is clear.

I did notice on them that all the underwear was made in Cambodia.

Cambodia? Not China? Not the Philippines? Not Sri Lanka? Cambodia? Isn't Cambodia Pol Pot's country? The evil butcher of uncounted millions of his own countrymen? The head of the Khmer Rouge? The communist monster?  Now they're making Jockey shorts?

I know he was overthrown in about 1995 and I suppose it's good news that Cambodians are making underwear for Americans, though I suspect workers are probably fortunate if they are making more than $5.00 a day.

Also, for years I have been using Bic razors for shaving. Metal ones. In fact, my favorites are called just that--"Metal." They haven't been for sale in drug stores for at least a decade so I've bought them mainly on line through eBay. They come in packs of five and so, when I can, I order as many as possible. The last time, a few years ago, I bought a dozen packages and have been using them very carefully, knowing the time will soon come when they will no longer be available from anyone, anywhere.

But I keep searching the Web.

About a month ago a treasure trove of Bic Metals was offered for sale--20 packages of five! One-hundred individual razors. All for about $48 dollars, including shipping.

By my calculation, since one razor lasts me three months, using four a year, I would have a 25-year supply.

For me, virtually a lifetime's amount because I'm assuming if I'm still alive in 25 years I'll probably have a beard down to my waist and no longer have need for a Bic or any other kind of razor.

I'm assuming that Rona will give me a trim with a scissor when she visits me in the nursing home.

But then there was my mother who lived to three days past her 107th birthday. If I have her genes . . . who knows. But for razors, one way or another, I'll be all set. As to underwear, that's another story.

It took forever for the razors to arrive. After about a month, they were waiting at the post office. Rona went in to retrieve them. Usually when there's a package (mainly books from dozens of different booksellers and of course Amazon), it takes her about five minutes to gather what's waiting for us (mainly me) at the postmistress's window. This time Rona was inside for at least 15 minutes.

She was shaking her head when she finally emerged, clutching to her chest the package of what I assumed were the razors.

"You won't believe what they put me through."

"Put you through?"

"Yes. I had to show them two forms of ID and . . . "

"ID? They known you for years. But still they carded you?"

"Yes. And I had to fill out and sign three forms. Homeland Security forms." She collapsed in the passenger seat.

"Homeland Security? Those are the razors, right?" She nodded. "I can understand not being allowed to take them on a plane but these are just razors for shaving. Bic Metals."

"I know what they are and how you're obsessed with them but . . . "

"But what?"

"They came from the Ukraine."

"From where?"

"Ukraine. I think you say it without the The."

Skeptical, I said, "Can I see the package?"

And sure enough it did come from The Ukraine. I mean Ukraine, where the Ukrainians and Russians are fighting. It had Ukrainian and U.S. customs stamps all over it and was wrapped and double wrapped in brown paper and transparent tape. So totally taped up that I knew it would take me half an hour to unpack it.

"I'll bet it not the razors. It must be something else. Do we know anyone who lives in The . . . ?"

"Not as far as I know," Rona said. "Let's get home and open it to see what's in it."

After unloading the car I asked Rona to unwrap the package since I'm not good with those that are all taped up, especially one that was likely to contain something delicate.

But, it turned out, it contained my razors. As advertised, one-hundred of them.

"You mean you didn't realize the razors were coming from Ukraine?"

"Obviously. All I cared about was getting a big hoard to last me forever. It didn't matter where they were coming from."

"The ladies at the post office are dying to hear what's in the package. They're very professional and discrete and never would ask. I assume they know, if they're interested, that they're mainly books. About this one though . . ."

"What a world," I said. "And of course it's OK to tell them about the razors. Even my underwear if you or they would like."

Rona siad, "If you behave like this I won't be coming to the old age home to cut your beard."

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