When I was a kid, products made in Japan were a joke. When we saw "Made in Japan" on the item, we knew it was garbage and never took it seriously. Nowadays it's China instead of Japan, but the problem is that China makes virtually every item now for sale in U.S. stores and we've been taking them seriously. For me, my alarm clock fiasco was the last straw.
Before this was the can opener. Can openers don't work anymore. If at all, they don't work long. The military P-38 can opener for food rations is more dependable and works better than a Chinese can opener. So I searched high and low for a real can opener, and finally found one, actually made in the U.S.A. The EZ-DUZ-IT Can Opener manufactured by the John J. Steuby Company in Missouri is a real can opener, the kind you remember, that opened cans. It's fun to hold this can opener in one hand and a Chinese can opener in the other. Just to hold them, you can tell which one is not a toy.
Well now the same diligent search was on for a real alarm clock. I prefer U.S. made things, but am really after quality, no matter where I find it. The sentence you are now reading is the only place in the world in which should be found both "Made in China" and "quality." And so I searched online, high and low, for a new alarm clock, with a face, not digital, preferably wind-up, NOT made in China. I found some Bulova alarm clocks that looked really hopeful, but in reading more about them found them to be made in China! I found some sort of very expensive Zen alarm clock supposedly made in Colorado, and was about to buy it, but then read at the end of its description that it was designed in the U.S. but is made in China! Finally I gave up, and put this out on Facebook:
Some bold Facebook friends made guesses, but to no avail. China runs America.
But we have a remarkable son. All his life, Andy has been the most diligent person I know. If he doesn't know something, he'll learn it. If he can't do something he tries, he'll press on until he can. And I told him of my quest. Within an hour, I excitedly ordered a new alarm clock!
The Sternreiter is not made in America. But neither is it made in China! It's as if they took my order personally and made my dream clock -- a new wind-up alarm clock with face, not digital -- and it's a quality clock, made in, of all places, Serbia! It costs $55.
I am pumped! A real alarm clock! A new one! And it winds up, so no worries about batteries or power outages. Thank you, Serbia, for the Sternreiter!
When we returned home from the March for Life in Washington DC, my Sternreiter Alarm Clock was waiting for me. It works perfectly! Not a bit of disappointment. The alarm is loud! I recommend reading all the instructions when the clock arrives, because this is a real one, not built like the Chinese toys. You need to turn each setting knob a certain way. And you don't need to worry about winding it too tight, although you might need to jiggle it a bit to make it tick after winding, that is, to "start the balance wheel." The clock has a healthy tick that, although fast, can lull you to sleep.
I was so used to the Chinese toy clocks conking out after a year, that reading the following about the Sternreiter seemed incredible: "Constant running of mechanical parts causes wear, but proper servicing will allow your timepiece to last for generations. These clocks should be oiled and cleaned by a certified clock technician every 5-7 years." This clock will outlive me!
For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.