Fair is fair: Blaming China?

I’m slightly annoyed about something I read on another site. Before I get into that, I want to ask you a related philosophical question.

Would you say a good contractor is someone who does what you say, no ifs and or buts? Yes? No? I say no. In my opinion, a good contractor (supplier, pattern maker etc) will refuse to do certain work, they should turn it down.

This is my case in point. It’s a blog post from NTA (National Textile Assoc) about four more recalls of hooded sweatshirts. Here’s an excerpt, emphasis is mine:

Children’s Hooded Jackets about 2,400 units Manufactured in P.R. China.

…These latest recalls bring to almost a quarter of a million of number
of articles of children’s apparel recalled so far in 2010 due to health
hazards. All recalls so far this year have been of foreign-made
clothing.

I’m not happy that most of the business went to China but fair is fair and this isn’t. For each recall, the country of origin (contractor) was cited, namely China. Completely off the hook -in this entry, but not for the purposes of sanctions and penalties- were the responsible parties, i.e. the importers (manufacturers) and retailers of record. In other words, all were US companies. This entry should have said something like this:

Children’s Hooded Jackets
Responsibility: Franshaw Inc., of New York, N.Y. USA
Retailer: Burlington Coat Factory USA

Back to whether a contractor should do whatever you say, the Chinese contractors were merely fulfilling the requirements of the job they were given. But then we’re back to my opinion that a good contractor won’t. I can’t tell you how many jobs I’ve turned down because of this.

One thing you all must understand is that most DEs aren’t like you. F-I isn’t exactly a bastion for people who don’t like to think or read. Most DEs are heavy handed and unreasonably demanding. We have to go through 20 of them to find one of you.

We need the work, we have to make payroll and rent. Some contractors will weigh the value and take it or turn it down depending on their priorities. So in this case, I would say that a good contractor won’t necessarily do whatever you want. I don’t know where the balance lies but I would avoid recommending someone who let their customer do something like this even if the consequence meant losing the job -but in which case they wouldn’t have been a bad contractor and I wouldn’t know about them after all. Just another reason why a good contractor won’t take someone’s work…

There’s another reason this post from NTA annoys me. NTA has its own problems and misplaced priorities. Being a horrible, heartless, callous person, I’m having a hard time stirring up any sympathy for them. If NTA thinks the problem is foreign made products, it’s certainly within their purvey to help turn that around. So,  the myopia isn’t just on our side of the aisle. There’s plenty of blame to spread around and neither wants to meet in the middle. I  can’t get them to talk to you or you to talk to them because both parties have respective targets in their sights. Marvelous.

As an aside -here’s the heavily edited rant- how many recalls have affected Burlington Coat Factory over the past year? This is beyond a bad joke. BCF has a serious problem in their buying office, there are no two ways about it. Forget poor buyer training. At this point I would think that corporate policy should dictate that buying children’s garments with drawstrings would be a firing offense considering they have been banned for 14 years. Is there no oversight authority? I’m not saying manufacturers should not be levied with the final responsibility but the number of recalls affecting BCF are over the top.

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