Sunday, September 15, 2013


It’s nothing new; I get aggravated a lot. My blog name should indicate that. My wife wanted to go to the Chinese Emporium again today, so I’m sitting in the parking lot typing this. In fairness to my wife, her visits aren’t strictly because of being a shopaholic. She tries to walk for her health’s sake, but the weather doesn’t always co-operate. Also, she has a lot of foot problems and arthritis these days. As a result, she does better if she has a shopping cart to hang onto. Thus, she does a lot of her walking at the Chinese Emporium. Some days, she buys nothing at all, though other days she buys too much. Of course none of that is aggravating since it’s always good to keep the little woman happy.

My aggravation actually started last night when I looked online and found that Dunham’s Sports, one of which is located nearby, apparently doesn’t stock the little tri-fold camping shovels like I used to have. The Chinese Emporium has several that I can order and pick up at the store, but that usually means that they don’t stock it. So, today I decided to go in and see.

I made it all the way back to the sporting goods section without the roof falling in, so I figured that might be a good sign. Unfortunately, there was no camping shovel of ANY kind to be found. I realize that “camping” isn’t what it used to be, but to have no shovel at all in the camping section seemed foolish. After all, not EVERYONE “camps” in parks on gravel pads with a restroom a stone’s throw away. Furthermore, there ain’t no port-a-johns in the wilderness, and this cowboy ain’t about to go packin’ out poop! It seems to me there must SURELY still be some market for camping shovels.

On the way out (I don’t linger long in such places), I thought I’d check the lawn and garden area, just in case they might stock them there. Nope, but they DO have some cute little miniature shovels, probably made in Pennsylvania by Mexican labor. I’ve already got two of those, though, that I put together myself before the Ames/True-Temper’s plant here closed and sent most of the work to China (with a small amount going to the Pennsylvania plant that I just alluded to).

As one last act of interest, I saw some Fiskar tools and went over to look. They had a nice selection of what APPEARED to be quality tools, but they all had plastic handles and EVERY LAST ONE was made in China! Now I’m old enough to remember when Fiskar tools were still made in Finland and were made of only the highest quality Finnish steel, PLUS had honest-to-goodness WOODEN handles. THAT was disappointing, though I’d noticed that they’d been gradually switching production to China. Apparently ALL their production is there now, at least everything THAT store carries.

At home, I have an American-made army-issue entrenching shovel, dated 1945, that’s seen a lot of use. It has a longer handle than I want, but I guess it will have to do for my foraging work for now. © 2013


Sunnybrook Farm said...

Can you imagine if China embargoed all products to the US, it would be a short term disaster, all the companies who deal with them would die. But this might be good, they could be replaced by companies who make products at home, we wouldn't have to borrow money from China to buy from China because the money would stay here in US pockets. And the goods would have quality!

Gorges Smythe said...

Sadly, SF, I don't think it's gonna happen!

Sixbears said...

You can only use a shovel in a remote campsite. Forget about digging a water ditch in a public or private campground. Best pitch on the high ground and hope that's enough.

I've got a nice little folding entrenching tool that's stood the test of time.

Gorges Smythe said...

I've never camped in a campground in my life, Sixbears. I probably wouldn't know how to act around that many people! I like the little army shovels, but I want something that will literally fit in a large pocket or a small bag, so it can be carried unnoticed.

Lady Locust said...

Not certain, but did you try Lehman's or Nasco West for a shovel? Just a couple sources that might not pop up right away on a search engine.

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks, JLM.