The “I Don’t Knowers”

These are the days.  The days when we can ‘know’ everything, but understand very little.  The days when we can find out anything, but don’t really bother. Knowledge, information, statistics, data; grasping hold of these are but a click away thanks to the wonderful world of internet and television.  These contain a universe of constantly updated information, not just about here and now, but knowledge about then and before and faraway regions; places and peoples that most of us will never meet, at least not face to face.  WWW and TV-the god’s of our present day.

These amazing ‘information stations’ are able to bring life, stories, cultures, peoples, tastes, sights and experiences and plonk them right down in the middle of our cosy little homes.  So with all of that unlimited knowledge sitting right in our living rooms we are the generation of ultimate “knowers” right?  Ummm no.  I think not.  Despite all of that information on tap do we even know where our shirts or shoes come from or how they were made?  Do I even know where this lovely, flat little piece of technology that is making perfectly formed letters appear on a virtual page as I ‘write’ is from?  Ahem, no.  I could guess?

When given this assignment to go out and talk with shoppers, I knew that for me this would probably be counter productive.  I am not really what people would call socially inclined.  In fact I am the mostly the opposite and strangers seem to know this and will gladly step into puddles or will dodge into unplanned shops to avoid being caught in unwanted dialogue with me.  However, all is not lost and thanks again to the web I decided to throw out a little survey asking anyone and everyone I know some questions about their shopping tendencies and more importantly what do they know about the purchases in their bags.  Well, it turns out not much.

Exhibit One

Question 1: Do you know how the products you buy are manufactured?/if so how did you find out?

Answer: Ummm…no not really.  I mean, I know that most of the stuff I have is made in factories.

Question 2: Do you know if any of the things you buy are made in China/if so what types of products do you own that are a Chinese make?

Answer:  Well, yeah I think a lot of the stuff I buy is made in China because they all have those little tags that say “Made in China” on them or it’s like stamped on the back of stuff.   I think my phone is a Chinese make…and my shoes…and my bag…and my headphones…and my top says “Made in China”, yeah pretty much everything I have on me right now.

Question 3:  What do you think about the quality of products made in China vs. those made in the west?

Answer:  Ummm I don’t really notice a difference.  I guess they both have stuff that is good quality.

 

Exhibit Two

Question 1: Do you know how the products you buy are manufactured?/if so how did you find out?

Answer:  I know how some my things are made because of watching TV documentaries but I guess apart from that not really.

Question 2: Do you know if any of the things you buy are made in China/if so what types of products do you own that are a Chinese make?

Answer:  Mostly no.  I mean I know that my Ipad was made in China and I think my shoes might be a Chinese make but that’s about it.  Isn’t most stuff made in China though?

Question 3:  What do you think about the quality of products made in China vs. those made in the west?

Answer:  I don’t know I think they are about the same.  I think it just depends on how much you pay not really where it’s made.

 

It appears that many of us are guilty.  We don’t really care about the ins and outs of how are stuff came to be or by whose hands.   Quality does not seem to be an issue either.  As long as we have bills in the bank and our products do not immediately perish it doesn’t really appear to matter where or how they were made

Whilst a few of the people who took part in my mini research project were slightly more clued into the origins of their purchases and how they came to life, I have to say that most (like myself embarrassingly) were almost completely oblivious about the beginnings and birthplaces of their stuff.  I mean I don’t know about you but I was pretty sure all of those, computers and t-shirts and mobile phones just sort of appeared when needed and restocked themselves on the shelves of the Apple store and Topman.  Right?

I read a quote recently that said something along the lines of “ This is the generation of smart computers and lazy people”.   Although this can not be said of the faces behind the factory fences in places like China, for many of us on the ‘western’ side of things, it seems this statement pretty much sums us up.

 

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