Many San Miguel expats, including Stew and I, travel north of the border and make shopping one of the main events of our visits. When it’s 102 degrees outside in San Antonio, what better place to be that in an air-conditioned store or a movie house?
We continue to be dazzled by Walmarts so large you can’t see the back wall when you come in, and where physically handicapped, older or more physically ample customers are provided with electric carts to navigate the endless aisles comfortably.
Bulging grocery stores are stocked with three or four kinds of whatever you’re looking for, from sea salt to sardines. Lowes, Home Depots and other home improvement stores offer tools and appliances you didn’t even know existed or needed. Six brands of kitchen trash disposers, with an arsenal of tools to unjam them when they seize up? Bring them on!
Locally, expats are rejoicing by the opening, in nearby Querétaro, of a Texas-size grocery store by the San Antonio-based behemoth HEB. It will join the Home Depots, Costcos and Walmarts already in the neighborhood. But I doubt they will ever match their cousins north of the border in volume and selection.
Problem is that a large proportion of the merchandise offered is unneeded—stuff sitting on the shelves, wolf-whistling at us, sirenlike, until we surrender and put it in the shopping cart, only to trigger buyers remorse later.
Kitchen gizmos that are forgotten two weeks after we buy them; electronic gadgets and wires we never quite figure out how to use.
And an even bigger problem is that a sizable portion of that stuff is made in China. Even Virgin of Guadalupe medals on sale at the gift shops of the historic missions around San Antonio, we found, are made in China.
We can’t seem to be able to stop, like an addiction that keeps adding to the U.S. trade deficit with China.
The present U.S. administration seems to be convulsing over the growing negative U.S. trade deficit with China, and what to do about it.
The numbers are huge and alarming—billions, trillions, babillions, who knows?—numbers so large only the very stable genius leading the country can fully comprehend them.
But any more, even the genius-in-charge seems unsure and confused—not that he will ever admit it. Dramatic strategies keep belching from the White House daily, only to be reversed the next day.
The rest of us can only watch, perplexed, and wring our hands as the stock market keeps galloping upward and downward in increments of 500 or 600 points.
But back to Stew and me, and a mea culpa, our share of the blame for the balance of trade crisis with China.
While ambling through one of San Antonio’s enormous Lowes, a fountain caught Stew’s attention. A fountain consisting of two crows with water spurting out of their beaks.
Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OBwV9R7Zno
Tacky, probably. Unnecessary, definitely. Ridiculous, quite likely. Made in China, course.
And destined to become a conversation piece among friends who will be oohing and aahing, while muttering to themselves: These fools paid $24.95 for that?