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Oh, Look! Furniture that Rots!

Send me a catalog I didn’t ask for, and I’ll mock you for your rotting furniture:

Wicker: Furniture that Rots

More importantly than that, the supplier of this catalogue acknowledges that its rattan furniture is imported from Asia. There is no evidence that this particular producer uses sweatshop labor, because the producer of this catalog does not publish on its website any certification of labor conditions under which its rattan furniture is made. But as the producer of this catalog acknowledges, rattan comes from a small set of countries in Southeast Asia. According to reports by the U.S. Department of Labor, rattan production uses child labor in India, Indonesia, the Philipines and Thailand.

It rots in your backyard. Why participate in moral rot, too?

4 thoughts on “Oh, Look! Furniture that Rots!”

  1. Count Stephen 1 of Sealand says:

    I was looking forward to a YouTube clip of furniture actually rotting!

  2. Dave says:

    Thanks for the heads up. There are two of us who won’t buy the stuff. As to the first link — Lane Furniture for many years was an American company headquartered I think in N. Carolina. Known for it’s high quality furniture, it underwent the same crisis every U.S. manufacturer faced beginning as early as the mid 70’s. With competition from cheaper labor overseas they nearly went belly up, got sold, created an entirely new business model that didn’t need expensive American labor, became purveyors of shoddy merchandise, and until I clicked on the link and found out otherwise, seemed to have become history.
    Same kind of thing with Jantzen sports equip’t and apparel. Huge plant in S. Carolina, massive parking lot for hundreds of employees. Now only the office is open, with a handful of workers e-mailing Southeast Asian countries asking when the next boatload of stuff can be expected. (Sorry to go off, Jim, but sometimes I miss my country. I purchased a made-in-USA backpack in 1982 from Jantzen for $29.00; one of their PETA-be-damned leather bottomed double stitched heavy duty zipper kind of things that, after plenty of action, is still with me and is sure to end up in a museum some day, fully intact. Seen anything like that at an outfitter in the last thirty years?)
    I think your personal boycott of sweatshop labour is the right thing to do for conscience’ sake (I haven’t been inside a Wal-Mart in thirteen years and I sleep well) but the answer to the sweatshops is not an easy one. How can one convince the other few hundred million shoppers to seek alternatives?

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Thanks for writing, Dave. To be fair, Lane apparently does still produce some of its “wicker” in the United States: the plastic kind.

      I wish I knew the answer to your question, Dave. Letting people know about what goes on is part of the process, but it clearly isn’t enough.

  3. Ed Thirdwall says:

    I had a few rattan furniture a few years ago in the form of a 5-chairs set and a couple of storage cabinets too. I did not really notice if there were any signs of them rotting or not but I loved them because of their exquisite and exotic designs. They easily matched the theme and decor of my house because of their neutral colours and to clean them was a breeze with just a simple light or thin polish.

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