Essay Build-a-bear Workshop and Hidden Costs

Submitted By dsadas
Words: 1124
Pages: 5

Tiffany Dang Professor Abraham Tarango English 100 27 June 2012 Behind the Scenes of our Products Annie Leonard brought several strong points in her video, “The Story about Stuff,” how almost every single product we buy and own has a cost towards the environment, production, and the human impact. Her main argument is that we are not actually paying for our products; that the true costs of production, environmental, and human impacts are hidden to the consumer. She uses an animated picture diagram in her video to support her argument; how we basically use part of the Earth to mine raw materials, how we use other countries to create our products, the use of transportation to get on our shelves in our stores, and what happens to the products once it is dispose. To a great extent, I support Leonard’s argument because the true costs of production, environmental, and the human impacts are definitely hidden to the consumer; how every single item we buy or consume has a certain cost to it. The example use to support her claim is a company and product that is greatly known throughout our country, Build-a-Bear. Build-a-Bear is a company that allows their consumer to use their creativity to put together a stuff toy however they like. Generally, consumers believe they have to pay more in order to create a stuffed toy of their imagination rather than a stuffed toy that is already sewn together, when in reality, there are more hidden costs to it. On their website, they claim that all their parts are manufactured in China. China is a country known to manufacture for various companies in America simply because it is cheaper in every way there. The cost of it is that factories are built there in order to produce, therefore polluting theirs’ and our atmosphere. Labor cost in China is very low because the a majority of the citizens are in poverty, causing people to work nearly to death for about fifty cents a day. Child labor is used in China because the labor cost for children is cheaper than adults and generally poor families cannot afford for their children to obtain education and therefore, send their children to work in order to survive. Also found on the Build-a-Bear website, the company states that their plush animals are, “unlikely to contain lead” that are found in their paints and surface coating. That means the people along with the children in China have to work in an environment that contains lead, affecting their body parts such as the brain, kidney, and nervous system. As for the environmental cost, Build a Bear claims that their stuffed animals’ skin and clothing are “manmade materials or natural fibers such as cotton”, while the stuffing “is of a high-grade polyester fiber.” As stated, the paint and surface coating for the stuffed animals may contain hints of lead. China is known to produce their raw materials such as cotton, therefore we have to buy their cotton as a hidden cost to the consumer. The cotton plants that produce harvest and produce their product have harmful effects on the nearby areas and affecting the living conditions by increasing cancer rates, birth defects, and other health problems because of the air and water being polluted from the machinery used to harvest any raw materials. Other materials that are required in the stuffed animals include the plastic for the eyes which can be produced by factories which cause the environment damage to dispose of the byproduct waste. Another factor to the environment is the process of transporting the desired material from one location to its destination. Distribution of the product from one area to another overseas includes the many hidden costs to the consumer. The vehicles required to carry and load the items include trucks driving to the docks or airports to and the expenses for the fuel is not included in the consumer price. The value of the vehicles such as the owners that bought or built the trucks, cargo planes, and cargo ships is also