Bubba: When you hear that name, you know what you think of. You think of the South, a particular cultural region right here in the USA.
So, when you think of where Bubba Nation would be located, you’d presume it’s somewhere in the American South, right?
That presumption would only be half-right, though, if you were to apply it to the Bubba Nation project soon to be launched by Bubba Brands, a company that supplies insulated coffee mugs to the big box store Target.
Bubba Nation, and Bubba Brands, are based in the United States, but only in a very loose sense. Bubba Brands claims to have a “singular goal – to make drinkware people love,” but the truth is that no one at Bubba Brands actually makes any drinkware.
There’s a tag that comes with Bubba Brands coffee mugs that brags, “all products designed in Atlanta, GA USA”. Look on the bottom of the mugs, and you’ll see that they’re actually made in China, which is a country on the other side of the world, not a suburb of Atlanta.
The fact is that Bubba Brands is just too cheap to invest in American workers. The people at Bubba Brands want to lower their costs by having its products made by impoverished workers who accept wages they can barely survive on, under an autocratic regime that allows factories to crush efforts to build labor organization and environment regulation.
Why is Bubba Brands so intent on lowering its costs? That’s what Target executives require, so that they can deliver on their promise of low prices to their customers. Shop at Target, and you’re supporting the ethic of oppressing workers and fouling the planet for the sake of profit. Buy Bubba Brands, and you’re enabling the corporate polluters.
Bubba Nation isn’t just an upcoming PR gimmick by a nasty little mug broker. It’s a good name for what we have allowed the United States of America to become. Tempted by the promise of discounts, Americans have accepted the habit of going to stores that use totalitarianism to centralize wealth in the hands of a few. It’s fascism, wearing a facade of bright lights and pretty colors.
Of course, it’s not just Bubba Brands that is involved in the fascist economy. Walmart, Costco and Aldi are among the stores in the United States that were revealed in a Guardian report yesterday to obtain low-priced shrimp harvested and prepared for sale by slaves working on boats off the coast of Thailand.
Another recent report reveals that Apple Computer, Samsung, Sony and Microsoft are unable to document that the Asian workers who manufacture their products are paid a living wage.
The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 21 million slaves in the world right now – and that number doesn’t count workers who are abused while being paid a pittance for their labor.
There are no absolute guarantees when it comes to ethic sourcing, but here in the United States, it’s a fairly good bet that if a product is reported as made in the USA, it wasn’t made by slaves, or under a thoroughly autocratic regime like the one in place in China. If supporting slavery isn’t worth saving a dollar or two of your time, take the small effort to find alternative sources for what you want – outside of the big box stores like Target, Walmart, Costco and Aldi that profit by design from the suffering of human beings.