I enjoy listening to Scott Adams. He’s one of the only ones consistently beating the drum on how China has been waging war on the United States on two fronts: virtual opium in the form of TikTok, and literal opium in the form of fentanyl.
He’s right, of course. British opium poured into China in 1839 and destroyed the will of their young people to work or fight. China seems intent on returning the favor on two fronts. And unlike the leaders of the Qing Dynasty who recognized the threat, today we have Joe Biden and Janet Yellen swooning to Chairman Xi, telling him to be sure to wear some flowers in his hair.
(Oh, and no, he’s not a racist).
This morning he presented his list of 2023 holiday gift ideas. I wasn’t surprised to see that at least 7 of the 10 products on his list were made in China. His voice reaches thousands of people, and more than a few of them will no doubt heed his advice and buy stuff from his list. The result? More money flooding into the coffers of the CCP.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not knocking Scott here.
Just reiterating the point I’ve made on so many of these posts—that tracking down stuff that’s not made in China is HARD. Even someone who is passionate like Scott about not supporting the CCP can inadvertently influence thousands of people to buy stuff that ultimately helps them. And these days it can take a LOT of work to try to figure out even where a product is made, much less find alternatives for popular ones.
That said, being newly unemployed, I have a lot of time on my hands. I challenged myself to go through each of Scott’s picks and to see if I could find an option for each that is NOT made in China.
1. Automatic soap dispenser
- Scott’s pick: simplehuman 8 oz. Touch-Free Sensor Liquid Soap Pump Dispenser (made in China)
- NMIC option: ASI 20333 Deck Mounted Automatic Soap Dispenser (made in Taiwan)
As we’ve seen with other small, cheap consumer electronics, it’s virtually impossible to find ones that aren’t made in China. Generally speaking you need to go up-market; in this case, my suggestion would be to find a plumbing fixtures store that has products from companies like ASI, Toto, Moen, or Zurn.
If you’re looking for hand sanitizer dispensers, this one looks like a decent option.
2. Hessaire Swamp Cooler:
- Scott’s pick: Hessaire Evaporative Air Cooler with 3-Speed Fan (made in China)
- NMIC “option”: Swampness Monster Portable Evaporative Cooler (made in USA)
I put “option” in parentheses because “portable evaporative coolers” is one of those categories where China has run the table—don’t get thrown by brands like Honeywell which just license their name to China manufacturers. If you can afford it, Skyblade Fan Company / Swampness Monster has a good name, and it’s apparently made in the USA.
3. Podcasting Starter Kit:
- Scott’s pick: Various
- NMIC options:
- High Table: VersaDesk Standing Desk (Made in USA)
- Chair: Herman Miller Aeron Chair (Made in USA)
- iPad Stand: Belkin Tablet Stage Stand (Made in Taiwan)
- Lazy Susan: Wooden Lazy Susan (Made in USA)
- Ring Lights: Elgato Ring Light (appears to be made in Taiwan)
- Wireless Lavalier Microphones: Sennheiser (appears to be mostly made in Germany or the Philippines)
Again, note that choosing Not Made in China sometimes means paying more, but usually you get what you pay for.
4. Airmoto for filling your tires and your balls
- Scott’s pick: Airmoto Tire Inflator Portable Air Compressor/Pump (made in China)
- NMIC option: Markwort Volcano 120 Volt Air Erupt Inflator (appears to be made in Taiwan)
To this day I use a tire inflator that I bought from The Sharper Image (back when they still were The Sharper Image), and it still works perfectly to this day. From the looks of it, this Morkwort Volcano looks just as heavy duty.
5. Roland electronic drum kit
- Scott’s pick: Roland V-Drums Electronic Drum Set (unclear country of manufacture)
- NMIC option: Drum-Tec (made in Germany)
6. Bose headphones
- Scott’s pick: Bose QuietComfort 45 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones (made in Thailand)
Bose’s over-the-head noise cancelling headphones have always been a winner, and they’re made in Thailand. (Their ear buds, no so much).
7. Coffee warmer
- Scott’s pick: Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer (made in China)
- NMIC option: Smart Temperature Control Mug (made in Taiwan)
What most of us who grew up watching Joe DiMaggio hocking coffee makers don’t realize is that Mr. Coffee has been Comrade Coffee for years now. The same, of course, is true of all their accessories.
As I said above, with cheap, mass-produced electronics it’s going to be next to impossible to find one that’s not made in China. The closest I could find was on this Taiwanese site which has a product made in Taiwan (I normally don’t like to promote sites with the word “pinko” in the title, but I did confirm that this one was from free Taiwan). It doesn’t ship to the US by default, but you can contact the manufacturer to see if they’ll send it to you.
8. Indoor putting green
- Scott’s pick: FORB Professional Putting Mats (made in China)
- NMIC option: Star Pro Greens (made in USA)
I called Net World Sports (the makers of FORB Mats) and the customer service agent told me that they are made in China.
On the flip side, Star Pro Turf and Greens is one of the leading companies for putting greens, they do offer home models, and they are made in the USA.
9. How to Fail at Almost Anything and Still Win Big
- Scott’s pick: How to Fail at Almost Anything and Still Win Big (made in USA)
I don’t have a copy of this book (yet), but when I look at the front cover of the Google Book version, it does say “printed in the United States of America”.
In another post, I’ll share my recent experiences of attending the Scholastic Book Fair in my daughter’s school. Let’s just say that it was unnerving to see the vast majority of books there printed in China.
10. Reframe your Brain
- Scott’s pick: Reframe your Brain
This one I do have a copy of, although it’s a Kindle version. Which is a good way of making sure more of your money goes right to an author and not the weasels at a publisher who are each taking a bite of the pie before it gets to the author.
I threw this analysis a little more quickly than my usual ones, so forgive me if I got something wrong or missed something obvious. And as always, if you find better suggestions, please feel free to share in the comments.
- scott adams