The news is ‘in’, so to speak – the US economy was down in August and actually was less than every single prediction provided by professionally accredited Bloomberg contributors. And Hong Kong’s was far worse – ‘yugely worse’, to paraphrase an American cheese-coloured hair ‘friend’ (sic) of mine. At least, though, Hong Kong’s leader-in-public today made history by doing the right thing and killing that abhorrent aberration of a law – and that at least shows a smidgen of light at the end of a long and dark tunnel. In the USA, the mess continues without a glimmer…..empty heads and even emptier assurances.
Numerous public sources have reported that business groups are expressing increasing concern at the apparent lack of any serious strategy by Mr. Trump. Speaking of Ole Carrot-top, he opined today that, if he had not taken on China, “the stock market would be 10,000 points higher”. Seeing as the stock market is already in record nosebleed territory with many professional pundits publicly mystified as to what’s keeping it up and warning that it is due for a reversal (as reported in a previous Global Gab), this self-laudatory pronouncement is just more of the same fatuous flummery for which the Trumpster Dumpser is infamous.
Purchase of Greenland
Now that the prospective purchase of Greenland has been summarily floated and even more quickly sunk, it is a wonder to me why The Donald didn’t first broach the idea of buying the French islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence – is it because they:
- aren’t big enough?
- are hard to pronounce? After all, a guy who makes continuous mistakes just pronouncing, “Nevada” (which is one of the 50 US states and “Namibia”, can’t be expected to shell out good US dollars on places called St. Pierre and Miquelon….now, Greenland – that he can pronounce!
- have ‘foreign’ names?
- don’t have a McDonalds?
Or is it possible, just speculating here, that he doesn’t even know that the Gulf of the St. Lawrence exists, much less the islands – once he figures out that France is actually only 642 miles from Maine, who knows what he will do…..call out the Marines, build a wall (and get the lobsters and croissants to pay for it), hide his head in the sand (St. Pierre and Miquelon have plenty – just saying)? Only time will tell. But walking on the beach should be good for his bone spurs.
A Poem For Boris
Yesterday, Boris lost big time – but don’t call him out just yet. Boris is a lot of things, but he is not quitting and is at his most venal when seriously wounded (just like every hyena)…..he has already taken down at least 20 veteran Conservative Party members who had the temerity to vote against his bill and who knows what or whom is next.
Alas tis but truth dear Yoric
Said Boris doth spurn the EU pork
For frog or hun he cares not a wit
And considers them all as lower than spit
Ah, Boris, indeed you are a rare dork.
Argentina in Currency Crisis – again!
So Argentina, who only recently resolved a currency crisis and a bond settlement showdown, and even more recently issued a 100 year bond, is now back in a currency crisis and has instituted currency controls yet again in order to prevent money from (legally) leaving the country – of course, just saying, many could argue that someone who legitimately earned the money only to see their advantage squandered by politicians with no fiscal skin in the game is well within their rights to ‘sauve çe qu’îl peut (save (yourself), he who can).
Frankly, anyone who bought this latest bond issue after Argentina’s past continuously unstable fiscal history, needs a lesson in remedial arithmetic. I recall seeing somewhere that it was trading at 56% of par value….personally, I think that the decimal point is in the wrong place – just saying.
Costco Now In Shanghai
Costco opened their first store in Shanghai last week and promptly showed what top management and spot-on consumer understanding can do – there was such a scene to get in on the first day that they had to close it for the day a few hours later. Lest anyone point to the difficulty of catering to the Chinese retail market by using Carrefour as an example, my suggestion is to do some research on the ground instead of listening to the pathetic excuses by their executives as they try to pass off the responsibility and explain how gold and an ongoing golden opportunity turned to toxic waste. If they had put a fraction of the effort into running the stores properly as they did on manufacturing (sic) excuses, they wouldn’t be in this mess.
What about Carrefour?
Carrefour was greeted enthusiastically when it initially opened – clean, bright lights (so people could see what they were buying as compared to Chinese stores where, if you weren’t wearing glasses on the way in, you would need them after leaving – both from trying to see and from being exposed to all the dust), and huge selections.
And then they killed the golden goose – advertised specials in the store weren’t rung that way at the cash…asking for the right price involved a conversation with the cashier which in turn often devolved into screaming arguments (you haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed an argument in South China in a mixture of Cantonese, Mandarin, and Chinglish); requests for a supervisor were always either ignored or were answered with a vague assurance that someone was coming – and that person arrived (sic) via a slow boat from France (can’t have a slow boat from China when you’re already in China – just saying)….and that executive never arrived, like DUH! Signs saying credit cards could be used looked so wonderful – until you tried…and then got, “No, No!”. Cashiers could not believe that a foreigner could speak Mandarin, even if they had a repeat visit (still waiting for that supervisor, too). And the quality started dropping through the floor. And prices started going up to the point of being non-competitive.
The Chinese Consumer Now Wants Value For Money
The days of the Chinese consumer accepting anything are long gone – they are shrewd, they have money, and they want value for it, and they understandably and reasonably want what they are promised and without an argument and without a hassle – Costco will give it to them.
Carrefour didn’t lose customers – they drove them away. Metro (the German-owned chain) didn’t drive away so much as never had them in the first place – they just didn’t understand the customer at all….as an example, they put the customer bathrooms in one location in Guangzhou on the 2nd floor of the building – you haven’t lived until you have to go to the bathroom in a 90% humidity, 40 degree Celsius/104 degree Fahrenheit temperature, and walk up 40 feet on a narrow outside staircase……makes one feel totally appreciated. Take your purchases in the shopping cart to your car – unh unh…big No No – yuge No No. Can’t take the carts off the ramp (blocked by pipes – no one cares if you break your leg) and can’t pull up to the dock uin your car because there is no dock. Come again? Yeah, right!!
My Home Depot Credit Card Story
Speaking of big retailers and how they put their foot in it, let me tell you a story of what happened to me today. Some time ago, I got a Home Depot credit card. I am not exactly certain as to why, as that is lost in the annals of time, but I rarely used it. Today I received a letter in the snail mail informing me that I had not used the card for 22 months and that, if I don’t use it within the next 2, my credit line will be cut from $4500 to $2501. Why $2501 instead of $2500? Your guess is as good as mine. There was no attempt to find out why I had not used the card and no attempt to induce me to make a purchase save and except the promise cum threat of reducing my credit at their company.
So I attempted to email them – calling and speaking to someone who was hired by the type of twit who conceived such a strategy and by twits who approved it was not my idea of a good time. Under “Contact Us”, I entered “complaints” – it came back with “0” but offered me the information that they have 37 possible entries under “compliance”.
I guess that I must be the only one complaining about anything – I thanked them for their concern and consideration in General Contact and suggested that they could cancel the card immediately as it would never be used again. Moreover, should I ever have the misfortune to shop in one of their stores again, I will make sure to use a premium AmEx card, as they will have to pay a higher commission. Fools.
XAG and Bayer Crop Science – Now a Team
It’s nice to know that the unstoppable infestation of armyworm that I reported about in a previous Global Gab has been brought to heel after in only one year since coming to China. Isn’t that amazing? XAG, a Chinese company that, according to its (translated) website is, “The world’s leading agriculture technology company” (my guess is that there are a few companies in Israel, just to name one country, who might be a trifle surprised at that self-bestowed accolade – just saying) teamed up with Bayer Crop Science and has now eliminated 98%…wow! Gotta love those lucky 9’s and 8’s – I guess that the thinking is that the more the Chinese Government cronies use them in all their figures, the greater the chance that one of them will come true sooner or later (they might have a better chance at winning at roulette or dice in Macau where the tables aren’t fixed (in most) – just saying).
I wonder what the side effects of this pesticide are – doubtless, the testing done was extensive (sic) given the lack of lag time and we all know the wonderful record of the chemical industry as a whole – DDT, Agent Orange, Round-up (oh, wait, Round-up is owned by Bayer – just saying).
“Much Tougher” in 2020
The Donald, not to outdone by the strategic genius in his own mind, has, as reported in the South China Morning Post on September 3rd/19, has ‘suggested’ that China better do a trade deal now because, “ The deal will get MUCH TOUGHER (Donald’s caps)” when he wins in 2020. But Donald just said last week that he wasn’t interested in a deal now; and who said he is going to win anything other than Ratcatcher-in-Chief (he’s perfect for that job because it takes one to know one – just saying).
Someone Else’s Fault
Finally, China is calling out the old dictionary. To deflect criticism re: their shortsightedness concerning Hong Kong, they first accused the USA of having “black hands” in inciting this unrest …when that didn’t stick, they blamed Taiwan with the same appellation. Their effrontery is truly amazing – no tech theft, no trading with Iran, no mistakes…everything is someone else’s fault. Just like the Great Famine either never happened or was someone else’s fault. All of this is right out of the 1960’s playbook.
And they have the effrontery to demand what they insist on as “fair play” in the world’s media even as they curb anyone’s reporting of the unpalatable truth. Last week, a Wall Street Journal reporter who has been in Beijing since 2014 was expelled from the country for having co-reported on a cousin of Xi Jinping who loves China so much that he became an Australian citizen, the better to enhance his money laundering operation, all the while consorting with persons ‘known’ to the police. Charming person, really – just the type that you would invite home to tea (after you locked up your valuables and your womenfolk).
Stealing the nation’s birthright?
Speaking of Xi, when not worrying about the colour of the USA’s hands, he’s urged the (Chinese) Communist Party, “to brace for a long term struggle against a variety of threats including economy and defense, Hong Kong, and Taiwan that would last at least through 2049 (as reported by Xinhua on Sept. 3/19). Sounds like he read the tea leaves (Pu Er made from newspapers or Tieguanyin with formaldehyde, to name 2 wonderful Chinese innovations in the food chain) and is setting the mood – speaking of mood and press, The UN ruling in 2016 ie. 3 years ago that China’s claim to the islands in the South China Sea was NOT upheld has, to this day, NOT been reported in China, leaving the availability for whenever needed of a great dictator tactic of rallying the nation against ‘an enemy who is stealing the nation’s birthright’. Just saying yugely sadly.
Thanks for reading.
Comments? Suggestions? Let me know, please.
Global Gab #26