Wednesday, 24 September 2008

What Do You Mean, "We"?

I find this post a bit disturbing in the wake of the latest Chinese food scare. Sounds like some one had a bad day.

This "it's not them, it's us" mentality can't really be applied to some of the victims. Xinhua highlighted a mother from a family with an annual income of around 6,000 yuan (US$882) who could not afford foreign-made baby formula that's three to four times more expensive.

I buy milk products from big names: Nestlé, Magnolia, and Marigold because I trust them. San Lu is not some two-bit bootleg operation; the majority state-owned joint venture with New Zealand's Fonterra was exempted from inspections since December 2005 because it was believed to be a standard bearer. Yili, another affected company, was a partner of the recent Beijing Olympics. People trusted them - and were betrayed.

Some of the suppliers knew what they were doing - and couldn't care less. China Daily quoted one of two brothers who sold doctored milk to recoup losses after earlier shipments were rejected. "I've never asked and never thought about it. I only know it's bad for health."

We buy (often) crappy broadband because we don't have better. My buddy buys parts for his Fiat Coupé from Europe because they can't be found here. There are times when we want cheap (economy rice, anyone?), and times when we want the best, but can we get it all the time? What can we really do when big names associated with quality, through their fault or the fault of their partners, turn rogue?

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