I purchased a product from a firm in the United States and to my surprise I received a telephone call to confirm I was satisfied with my purchase. It was a small purchase and thus an unexpected follow up.

I told the vendor I was impressed with the quality of the product and very satisfied with my purchase. However, I also expressed my disappointment when I determined that the product was partly made in China.

He explained that his observation was that products which are designed and manufactured by Chinese companies for sale in North America are often of low-quality and commensurate low price.

On the other hand it has become common for North American companies (and presumably other nationalities) to spec a product and then outsource the purchase or production of that product to China. By following that procedure and applying quality control on arrival at the local distribution or assembly plant the quality is as good as any other origin. He commented that Chinese manufacturing can be as good as any other place in the world as long as specifications are supplied and enforced. In the case of the product I had purchased he commented that the cost to his firm was at least 60% less then he could purchase locally.

For reasons of employment and overall prosperity I will continue to attempt to purchase products which are manufactured in Canada or the United States. However I am probably being naïve and quickly acknowledge I struggle with understanding global economic trends.

Some of us are of an age where we remember that made in Japan was synonymous with shoddy production. Today made in Japan is usually synonymous with quality.

Unrelated to the above I still shake my head at the efficiency of FedEx. The product I ordered came from the southern United States and by selecting expedited shipping it arrived in two days. If I mail a letter to my next-door neighbour who lives 200 m from me it will take five days to arrive via Canada Post.