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- The Leocard
(bill'-dungs-roam'-an, bill'-dungks-roam'-an) n. a novel
about the moral and psychological growth of the main character.
[from German bildung "education" + roman
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill %}
of life as displaced species.
(Not just the parrots.)
"Throughout the weekend I managed to play every single
game in the Little Experiment (Fluxx, Aquarius, Cosmic Coasters,
Chrononauts, NanoFictionary, Are You a Werewolf?, IceTowers,
Zendo, and Volcano), most games numerous times. I love demoing
these games. I love watching people as they catch on to key concepts,
and I love it when they win. It's awesome all around. I've not
met a Looney Lab game that I didn't like, and that love of the
games definitely helps me demo them. Players see how much I love
the games, how enthusiastic I am about them, and it catches on
like wildfire. One of they key factors of propagating Rabbits!" -- report on PenguiCon 3.0 by Lisa
||Why Not China?
Last week, I wrote at length about
the difficulties of getting small plastic pyramids manufactured,
and our refusal to cut costs by getting pieces made in China.
As you might expect, we got emails questioning and challenging
this policy, and since I know that every message we receive represents
many others that weren't actually written, we decided to devote
this week's article to a list of the reasons why we refuse to
go to China.
1.) We Believe in Spending Locally. Money that stays
in your community comes back to you, even if it's just in the
form of taxes from neighbors who are still solvent rather than
bankrupt and/or on the dole. It also comes back in the form of
money your neighbors can spend in and on the community in other
ways. It makes sense to me to buy from the little guy, rather
than making the rich richer. It makes sense to me to support
my local community, in whatever way I can keep things local.
When practical, I'd rather buy from a small local company rather
than a large corporation (no matter what country that corporation
is in) because giving my money to big corporations is like dumping
a portion of my money into a tube that flows far away from me,
and I prefer to give money to my neighbors as opposed to people
far away. Helping my community by spending my money in my community
supplies jobs, money, and opportunities to my neighbors. Spending
locally is better, however we define local... be it choosing
to eat at a mom & pop owned restaurant up the street (rather
than a big corporate chain) or trying to keep our manufacturing
in the US or Canada (rather than across the globe in China.)
2.) We Believe in Labor Laws. One of the reasons manufacturing
is cheaper in other countries is because they don't have as many
regulations forcing them to do pesky, annoying things like reducing
pollution and treating their workers fairly. Working conditions
in China are abysmal. Giving them our manufacturing work is giving
financial encouragement to a system that exploits its workers.
We'd rather keep our business in the States (or Canada?) because
at least we know there are labor laws in place that require a
fair living wage and don't keep the workers in virtual slavery
to the corporations by a system of debt and superfluity (labor
surplus). Some may say that outsourcing is good because the jobs
and money go out to a global community that needs it, but what
I see is money flowing out to a country and corporations that
treat their workers like crap. I don't see the money going to
those who need it, instead I see the money going to those who
exploit them. And I refuse to support that.
3.) We Believe In Our Products. We are self-confident
enough to believe that the products we create are worth the extra
price we have to charge because of our dedication to our ideals.
We are often told that our prices are too high, and I'm sure
we lose some sales as a result, yet we choose to set our retail
prices at a level that is cost-effective for us, given our American
manufacturing costs. Creating a market for our products won't
do us any good if we aren't making enough money to stay in business
selling them. We've seen a lot of other small game companies
come and go during the past 15 years, and we know we're succeeding,
in part, because our products really are better than a lot of
what we've been competing against. When we see how enthusiastic
our fans are about our games, it convinces us to stick to our
guns, and just accept the fact that our products cost more than
the cheap stuff being made overseas.
4.) We Are Control Freaks. This reason may not sound
as important as some of the others, but it does bear mentioning.
& I are the micro-managing type. We aren't comfortable with
a process if we can't walk right up to it and check it out for
ourselves, to keep a close tab on things and make sure everything's
being done the way we want it. We really like doing plant tours...
we don't have that option if we outsource overseas.
5.) We Are Patriotic. We love America. Even as we make
to move a few miles north of the national border, we love
our country and we wish for it to prosper. And we see the outsourcing
of American jobs as extremely detrimental to the health and well
being of this great nation. The rich get richer, the poor get
poorer, and more and more of the folks in the middle, who used
to have good jobs in manufacturing or computer programming or
IT support, can now only find near minimum wage work at places
like McDonald's or Wal-Mart - and must take on 2 or 3 such jobs
just to support their family. We see this trend as being very
wrong, and we don't want to be a part of it. We want to continue
proudly declaring that our games are made in the USA. (Note to
staff: we should start putting a US flag/Made in America logo
on our boxes...)
To sum up, we'd love to make our games more affordable, and
we're working on it, but we don't want to be left with the feeling
that we succeeded only by exploiting people in distant lands
and contributing to the collapse of other small local companies
like ourselves in the process.
a Great Week, and Thanks for Buying Our
Games - even though they are a bit more expensive!
|PS: Special thanks to Alison
for helping me write this article (large chunks of the above
text are quotes from emails they wrote).
||"Suburbia will come to be regarded as the
greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world.
It has a tragic destiny. The psychology of previous investment
suggests that we will defend our drive-in utopia long after it
has become a terrible liability. Before long, the suburbs will
fail us in practical terms. We made the ongoing development of
housing subdivisions, highway strips, fried-food shacks and shopping
malls the basis of our economy, and when we have to stop making
more of those things, the bottom will fall out. The circumstances
of the Long Emergency will require us to downscale and re-scale
virtually everything we do and how we do it, from the kind of
communities we physically inhabit to the way we grow our food
to the way we work and trade the products of our work. Our lives
will become profoundly and intensely local. Daily life will be
far less about mobility and much more about staying where you
are." -- James Howard Kunstler, "The
||"Another dragon enthusiast shows up with
a burnt finger and attributes it to a rare physical manifestation
of the dragon's fiery breath. But again, other possibilities
exist. We understand that there are other ways to burn fingers
besides the breath of invisible dragons. Such 'evidence' -- no
matter how important the dragon advocates consider it -- is far
from compelling. Once again, the only sensible approach is tentatively
to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future physical
data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently
sane and sober people share the same strange delusion."
Dragon In My Garage"
||"My problem is this - although I love *being*
out, I hate *going* out. Being at home means pajamas and no shoes
and doing exactly what I want when I want and not having to consider
the group dynamic. It means a chance to curl up on the sofa and
read, or taking a two-hour bubble bath or playing video games
until my eyes are so blurred I can't make out simple shapes or
colors any longer. It is my world retreat, my comfort zone. I
happily make plans to go out - but when the time comes to actually
*keep* them, I become terribly cranky. I find excuses to delay
getting dressed ("Can't get out of pajamas yet; I haven't
had coffee." "It's impossible for me to shower until
I've checked and answered all my email.") and then, as the
time to leave the cocoon encroaches ever nearer, I get childishly
grumpy about it. "Why did I agree to go to this thing?...grumble
mumble...should stop talking to other humans...always wanting
to *do* stuff...why do I like having friends, again?"...etc.
And mind you this is before something I'm looking *forward* to
doing, something I know I will *enjoy* once I get there. If you
want to see some Grade A dillydallying, catch me getting ready
to go somewhere I absolutely don't want to be."
-- Sarcasmo's Corner, "In