Grey Market - Unauthorized racquet discussion

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by racingdad23, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. racingdad23

    racingdad23 Semi-Pro

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    I dont know if TW will let this thread stay. I talked with Babolat today on this and they didnt feel it was a problem that affected their bussiness or reputation at all.

    Before I start I am not going to reveal in this thread where to buy or even how much these cost but I will say it was a ridiculously low amount.

    I'm in the import motorcycle bussiness. I import motorcycles and parts directly from China manufacturers. There has been lot of talk about counterfeit racquets, fakes, unauthorized copies etc. I talked with one of my motorcycle suppliers, discussed this with him and asked him to refer me to a company since there are literally hindreds that make these racquets. He did and I contacted them and asked for a price list and models offered. While being skeptical I asked if the racquet would meet manufacturers specifications. I was assured it would. So I went and bought two racquets from them. Keep in mind I wasnt expecting much more than a cheap, poorly made and barely recognizable as an official product you would buy from you local pro-shop and something that you or I would recognize very easily as a fake.

    What I got was two racquets identical in specs to each other and to manufacturers listed specs. The finish was absolutely flawless. Nothing out of place, bar codes, holograms. even the covers and cardboard inserts were identical to manufacturers original covers. Nothing out of place, grommets perfect, absolutely identical in every way to an official Babolat racquet.

    I called Babolat and told them I had purchased a racquet that I believed to be fake. We went over the racquet, he had me take the buttcap off and inspect the inside, asked about the staples used, about weight etc. The serial numbers were a non-issue since he said they could easily be copied. He told me it sounded like I had an official babolat racquet but....
    finally we found a very very small item that confirmed it to be a unofficial Babolat racquet. Undeneath the size on the buttcap is a three letter code
    about a 1/8 inch in size that determines which factory the racquet was made in. this buttcap didnt have it. ohhh... he informaed also Babolat no longer places holograms on their racquets.

    I did not tell him that I bought the racquet directly from a China manufacturer but instead told him I bought it off ****. I asked him if the person selling them was breaking the law. He told me NO. He said he could call **** and get the listed removed but outside of that no law was being broken. He also said it just wasnt worth the effort for Babolat to go through since it really didnt affect their sales and to be honest he said unofficially it almost works as free advertising to them. Just these racquets were considered private sales and would have no warranty.

    I told him the racquets I bought were Aero Storms which surprised him since he gets alot of calls about it and mostly it is pure drives and aeropro racquets. He also said their racquets are manufactured in several China factories and it is not uncommon for racquets to slip out the back doors and sold privately. It was really no big deal.

    Ok so now I'm even more confused about grey market racquets. Its not against the law to sell them or buy them, the manufacturer could care less about their products being sold out the backdoor of their own plant or even copied and sold. I was all set up to have all my suspicions confirmed that these racquets would be poorly produced cheap knockoffs, not meet specs and the manufacturer would be up in arms about this. None of this happened.

    The point of the discussion was to get fellow players views on this. The practice of producing, buying, selling and playing with these racquets and the ethics of this. Whats your opinion?
     
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  2. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Interesting stuff. I've always wondered why there's so much paranoia about fakes on this board, since one is getting a racquet that may play just as well, perhaps better, at a fraction of the cost. It's surprising that the manufacturer isn't more concerned; seems like lots of companies pursue copyright infringers pretty vigorously.
     
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  3. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    If these racquets were manufactured in America or Europe, I gaurantee stricter controls when it comes to 'shrink' -as they call it in the manufacturing and retail business.

    Since these products are made in China, low federal-taxes for foreign invsetment, with low-labor costs, no labor-unions and no employee health-care programs--these companies gain a huge upside in terms of profit.

    The 'shrink' that occurs --i.e.--racquets slipping out of the backdoor-- is a negligable drawback.. and would actually cost the manufacturers more money to investigate employees and/or hunt down and prosecute private selling of authorized or 'immitation' products.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2009
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  4. no_dark_things

    no_dark_things New User

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    For the companies it is far cheaper to have their products made in China knowing full well that trademarks and patents will be infringed, product stolen and the specs made into knock-offs and fakes then sold throughout the world than to have them made in America.

    Same thing with the golf industry.
     
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  5. samster

    samster Legend

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    You pretty much summed up the situation!
     
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  6. monomakh

    monomakh Rookie

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    Did it even have the serial number under the grip? You obviously have to take the grip off to find out, but on Babs, there should be a serial number under the grip that matches the one on the throat.
     
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  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think 2 issues are being intermingled. One is the problem of a factory sneaking out regular frames thru a back door and selling them. The other is a factory which is actively making fakes.
     
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  8. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

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    ^ Indeed, it would appear so.

    Also... while the original post does go into some detail, it does not state whether the two racquets purchased were actual 'fakes', or real Babolats that were 'snuck out the back door'.
    It would seem the latter, but...

    And nowhere is it mentioned how the two racquets played. Just because they appear ok on the outside doesn't necessarily mean that they will hit anything like the original - or even that they will hit decently.

    Lastly, it is quite convenient to discuss all of these racquets made in China without mentioning the working conditions of those making the racquets - working conditions which very likely are considerably less than what would be accepted in North America.
    It's quite a sad commentary on our culture today that such subjects are quietly and conveniently swept under the rug. But the fact is that every time one purchases an item made under less than acceptable working conditions (as is the case with much that is made in Asian countries), one is encouraging the unacceptable working conditions to continue.
     
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  9. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    Ouch, Deuce, that hits close to home (pun intended)!

    I particularly feel some remorse at buying a Chinese acoustic guitar. . . a slightly better American model came out a year after my purchase, only a few bucks more, but better finish, resale value.
     
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  10. stormholloway

    stormholloway Legend

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    I find it amazing that there is a market for fake tennis racquets. I understand why counterfeit gold coins exist. But these are pieces of plastic. Makes ya think that tennis racquets are grossly overpriced. I wonder if it would be so easy to make fakes if wood were still the standard.
     
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  11. jetlee2k

    jetlee2k Banned

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    I've done many business in china and it practically can copy ANYTHING.. Many rackets are selling in South East Asia are fake or Wilson standard but make for Asia.. There is not one manufacture can duplicate but many.. If you find the right one, they can make one FLAWLESS.. They can copy many items much more high tech advance than racket.

    One day I was in Shang Hai, I need urgently one electric generator for a client in Vietnam and we run out of it.. One chinese guy approach me and said gave him 2 hrs. Yup, 2 hrs later I was reading and see the exact spec and detail diagram of the thing.. It turned out even better than the one manufacture in Singapore.. and it's like 10 times cheaper..
     
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  12. LESider

    LESider New User

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    one of the reasons I'm using a Yonex frame is because of the Chinese work situation. Yonex = Japan
    I only wear New Balance made in the USA.
     
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  13. Lefty78

    Lefty78 Professional

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    Any one know the name of the factory where they make Dunlop AG 100's? lol
     
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  14. dunno

    dunno Rookie

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    I want whatever factory is making Prostaff copies lol!
     
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  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is why I was surprised that someone would find it strange that the back door frames are equally good. They are the same frames, just transported out thru the back door instead of the front! Very common in electronics. That is why many companies get the read-only memory in chips programmed outside China - that way, the back door chips are of no use because they don't have the boot up code.
     
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  16. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Only 25% of NB shoes are made in the USA. It could be (don't know) that the remaining 75% is what is subsidizing this 25%.
     
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  17. monomakh

    monomakh Rookie

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    Some models are made China. Just FYI.
     
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  18. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

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    I agree. Those Chinese workers should go back to their village farms. It doesn't matter that they might starve to death, it only matters that we feel smugly superior.

    The people that work there are making a choice to work there because what they were doing before was worse and working at the racket factory gives them a chance at a better life.
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    He posted one extreme view, you posted the other. Reality is these factories provide jobs to many who would not otherwise be employed, and the wages they get are not all that less in their environment. Reality also is that farmland is forcibly taken away from them to build factories, and their old livelihood is destroyed, forcing them to take such jobs. There is no easy answer. It is played out in many parts of the world today.
     
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  20. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    So the advice is....don't purchase the Asian products so that living conditions there become more impoverished?? "Demand" better conditions for Asian workers? Sure!
     
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  21. ReopeningWed

    ReopeningWed Semi-Pro

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    It's okay Deuce. I enjoy reading your opinion :)
     
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  22. ac3111

    ac3111 Professional

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    In China people sell half litre of their blood for a few dollars...
    The greediness of the Western world never changed or deteriorated, it just changed its mask (facade) from colonization and violent wars to capitalism and globalization of financial wars.
     
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  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Then why is it that India is crying foul about Obama's perceived protectionist policies? They want more free trade with the US, not less. Other way too - if China and India were not buying my employer's products, I would be out of work this moment in the current economy. Globalization holds up the economy in one place if the other goes under, and vice versa. Why is this any different from a company in LA wanting to expand it's business to Arizona?

    Along with free trade comes cultural and political ideas, as it has throughout history. Free trade is very old. Ships were plying goods and people even BC. That is how science, culture and ideas spread. A closed country becomes prone to dictatorship and tyranny.
     
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  24. mary fierce

    mary fierce Banned

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    Notwithstanding more obvious affronts like murder and violence, isn't it cultural imperialism (or let's call it societal imperialism) to insist that the entire world adhere to the standards of one's own country? And what is the "right" standard? Is the standard of living too high here or too low there? I couldn't say, but the notion that the rest of the world needs to adhere to American ways of doing things has been the soft underbelly of our foreign policy disasters for many decades.
     
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  25. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

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    If, based on what other posters write, we are not 'allowed' to be of the opinion that they have low standards of what is acceptable and of what is possible, then we might as well pack this entire message board up right now.

    'Political Correctness' is desperately trying to ruin civilization - while laughingly claiming to be trying to protect it.
     
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  26. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    True, but in certain cases the rest of the world cannot and should not keep quiet. Examples are:

    Europe during the Third Reich
    Apartheid in South Africa
    Treatment of women in some religious fundamentalist nations
    Horrible dictatorship in North Korea and Myanmar
    Ethnic cleansing in the Balkans
    Ethnic cleansing in parts of Africa

    This has nothing to do with the standard of living per se. Also, war is not justified unless provoked but numerous other ways are available to put pressure.

    If you are talking only about trade, you are correct the US should not insist on countries signing treaties and agreeing to convert farmland into factories and call-centers to serve the West. But it is often the other countries who are desperate to reach such an agreement. In that case, the MNCs needs to socially responsible in their operations abroad.
     
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  27. racingdad23

    racingdad23 Semi-Pro

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    Im carrying this over from a different thread to revive this one to shed some more light on these racquets...

    Why pay $60??? I can give you at least 100 websites that have them for $35-$38. All counterfeit. All made in China. APD, APDC, PDRC, ASC. Any brand any model including newer brands like Becker, Technifibre etc.. You name it..they copy it. I wont promote them and I wont give names. Dont email me I wont answer. Find them on your own if you must and buy at your own risk. And let me add the risk is very substantial.

    If you buy it direct from China and the holes arent drilled right, weight off ...anything wrong your money is lost. They dont give it back. Paypal cant help you. Your credit card company cant help you. Besides it will cost you $40 just to send it back to China...and they'll say they never got it or they will refuse it.

    There is a very high risk in buying racquets this way. Its just not worth it. Why am I doing it? Well it started out as curiosity now its become an obsession with compiling research in order to provided credible information regarding the risk of buying gray market, fake, counterfeit (whatever you want to call them) racquets. I have a full article that will be coming out in a Tennis publication in the near future. Essentially this is a spoiler but thats not the reason I posted this.

    Personally I'm sick and tired of hearing "Did I buy a fake?" If you bought it off fleabay for half price its a damn fake. Plain and simple. If its not a authorized dealer its very likely it could be a fake. Dont be fooled by barcodes and holograms, they are easier to copy than the racquets themselves.

    If in doubt dont do it. And if you do and get burned dont go whining about it. you knew darn well that it was possible. Man up and take some responsibility for your reckless greed.

    The 3 racquets below all appear to be from different well known manufacturers. all three spec out to manufacturer listed specs. All come with all labels, barcodes, factory included dampeners and and thing else they come from a authorized dealer with. ALL THREE ARE FAKES. The cosmetics on these racquets are flawless. I challenge anyone to pick one up, feel the heft, inspect it and declare that it is a fake.

    More to come.....


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  28. ac3111

    ac3111 Professional

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    If they match the unstrung weight, balance and flex specs of the real ones then Wilson and other manufacturers will face big problems because no one will be buying the real stuff if the fake plays and feels the same.
    But racket is not just a piece of wood or furniture where you only need a good carpenter to make it.
    I think if Wilson is not giving-lending or whatever the know-how I don't think it is that easy to build identical to the real ones rackets specwise.
     
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  29. taiketsu

    taiketsu Rookie

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    Wilson's tolerance for specs is so wide that I wouldn't be surprised if these fakes are improved enough to match the standards of the real thing.
     
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  30. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    How do they play?
     
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  31. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    The Chinese people HAVE to work cheap. If they didn't, companies would automate and replace them with more modern manufacturing systems. China has a huge population. Automation and modernization could put a huge number of people out of business and unemployed. Would that be good for China? Would that be good for the workers who just lost their jobs? Like everything economic, it boils down to supply and demand. China has a huge supply of workers. If wages went up, automation would cause the supply to increase even further, and wages would have to drop to create equilibrium. I guess they could get unions and artificially drive up prices to a point where firms would look elsewhere for production. Would that help them? It's taken awhile, but this is what has happened to US carmakers.
     
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  32. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

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    ^ Do they HAVE to be treated like slaves, too?

    The stuff that goes on there would never be openly tolerated in North America.
    Is it ok because it's 'just them'?

    The higher the standards we strive for, the better for everyone.
     
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  33. Alien

    Alien Semi-Pro

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    Anyway, has anybody actually reviews a comparisonbetween a fake and a true stick ?

    lets forget about economic and politics here. The fact is, chinese workers acceptwhat they take because they canlive better that way, it is offer and demand, and they are not slaves. But not our matter, it is up to them and our decision to buy ot not.

    So,appart from same specs, how do they play ?
     
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  34. Eiffel59

    Eiffel59 Semi-Pro

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    Just tried a fake MG Rad MP...aesthetically very well done BUT...removing the buttcap reveals his almost 100% fiberglass composition..has a ridicolous RDC flex of 42...weighs some 330 grs strung with some very cheap 15ga. syn @45lbs...and shoots rockets everywhere but RARELY in-court :p

    Bought by a friend on the Evil Bay, paid 50USD plus shipping (10bucks) the only remarkable thing is the cover (probably more expensive than the whole stick ;) )

    BTW the string literally exploded in the middle after 3 hours of training...
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
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  35. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Some are, some are not. Read an article about prison labor used to manufacture umbrellas - 18 minutes per umbrella, 15 hours a day, and physical abuse if not completed.

    Is it true? I don't know. It is from a weekly magazine published by overseas Chinese who are opposed to the government. They could have their own agenda as well.
     
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  36. Danstevens

    Danstevens Semi-Pro

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    That's not as surprising as you may first think. Fakes have no reason to have quality control measures so you never know what you could be getting. It also tends to be that the paint job isn't too bad but underneath, the racket is much worse than the real thing.

    I would take the "There's nothing we can do" from Babolat with a pinch of salt as I'm almost certain Yonex took legal action against some sellers/producers of fake badminton rackets.
     
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  37. James L

    James L New User

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    wow, prince rackets are copied too...
    someone said that prince rackets are difficult to copy because of their o ports...

    i wonder how these fakes play compared to real ones...
     
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  38. ripperfranky

    ripperfranky New User

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    Well, they don't have to be treated like this, but they have no choice at all. I'd like to invite you here in China to see the real picture. The turth is that 10 times more income for those who are working in the factory than those in the farm. Also, the term "slaves" only fits part of the situation
     
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  39. ripperfranky

    ripperfranky New User

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    Off the tennis topic, but I wanna say that the relationship is clear - China purchases the US Bond, then the US uses the money raised by the Bond to purchases "Made in China"
     
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  40. Alien

    Alien Semi-Pro

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    Forget it. I live in a Third World country and lets say your standards of labour conditions dont apply here, it is a different reality and people accept them culturally or voluntarily or because otherwise they die of hunger. Almost everything you consume is produced elsewhere with certainly cheaper labour costs than in the USA, and you are happy to buy cheap. So really no reason for your concern for other countries working conditions, everybody does what they can to live better.
     
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  41. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Good to see the post from Alien because I'm always appalled when people advocate boycotting goods from countries where they feel workers are underpaid. It does those workers no good at all to apply your own standards of what you think working conditions should be. Conditions improve over time for entirely different reasons, fueled by shared information and increased options as a nation's economy improves.
     
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  42. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

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    ^ BS. (not unusual for your posts)
    How dare you state that we should not apply 'our' standards when it comes to things like suffering and compassion; that we should accept a much lower standard with a comfortable "ho... hum...".
    Would you accept those working conditions if it was YOUR son or daughter or sister or brother there?
    It's so much easier for you to say that we should 'leave them alone' from your nice comfortable living room over here, when the people overseas are just 'those people'... comfortably distant...

    It's easy to say that the workers over there "accept it". But that is only because they have very little choice. And they have very little choice because the absolute greed of the Western world demands that things remain that way for them.

    Human compassion dictates that we not contribute to nor tolerate the suffering of others.
    Try joining the decent part of the human race for a change, ollinger.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
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  43. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

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    Yes, ollinger. Be human, don't buy their products so that they starve. That way, they'll be dead on their farm but at least you feel smug that you didn't buy their products.

    Seriously, ollinger is correct. Is it inhuman to expect people to work 6 days a week? That would be frowned upon in this country but it is routine in India. Traditionally people get half of Saturday and all of Sunday off. That is the way it is for pretty much all legitimate factories. The only people that are hurt when you boycott products is the very people you are trying to help.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
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  44. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

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    ^ Again - more BS.
    Nice of you to twist things around and totally ignore the culpability inherent in continuing to selfishly buy their products (most of which you don't need).

    Buying their products ensures the unacceptable status quo - or, often, even worse.

    Again - you wouldn't accept your loved ones working under those conditions... but it's so very easy of you hypocrites to advocate low standards for others and say that it's fine for these people because you have no emotional connection to them.
    And by buying and buying, you also get all the 'stuff' you want.

    How bloody convenient.
     
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  45. James L

    James L New User

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    I'm just curious, how does buying their products ensures the unacceptable status quo?

    Instead of boycotting, how about selling all your possessions and donating it to them?
     
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  46. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

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    You honestly don't see how buying the products ensures that their working conditions won't improve (and may even deteriorate)?

    Honestly?

    Do you understand how continuing to buy a poor quality product helps to ensure that the quality of the product will not improve?
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
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  47. James L

    James L New User

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    I was just curious.
    And, no I do not see how buying the products ensures their poor working conditions. If I did, I wouldn't have asked.

    Are you talking about poor working conditions or poor quality products?

    You seem to be confused.
     
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  48. Deuce

    Deuce Banned

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    If I seem confused, then you're in another orbit altogether.
    I was simply trying to give you an ANALogy, in order to help you understand.

    But I see it's of no use.

    Fine.
    We've established that you are incapable of comprehending the obvious.
    Move along, then...
     
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  49. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

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    My loved ones also work 6 days a week in India. My inlaws have a ceramic workshop where they run kilns(and work alongside their employees) that run day in and day out even in 100 degree weather. Should I tell people not to buy their products because their working conditions aren't up to your standard? You have no concept of what is "low standards" because it changes according to customs and cultures. It is typical of these type of do-gooders of the "You should listen to me, I konw best" types that end up hurting the very people they are trying to help.

    The people who work in those racket factories are free to quit and go back to the farm and starve if there is a bad year. The fact that these factories(in the large cities--so no farmland is taken away from some rural farmer as someone has suggested in this thread) can get a ready supply of labor indicates that the people that work there see it as a step up from what they have now.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
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  50. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Hall of Fame

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    Instead of insulting him, why don't you answer his question, mainly: how does buying their product ensure that the worker's conditon will not improve. If that is the case, then tell me how not buying the product will improve the lives of those working in that factory?
     
    #50

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