Corelle, I Love You, I Love You Not.

No consumer product has ever spoken to us quite like Corelle dinnerware by Corning Glass.

Corelle Vitrelle was the perfect product. American made, extremely durable, and a marvel of material science, it was the embodiment of affordable, understated elegance, practicality and simplicity. Brought to you by the same folks that gave you Pyrex glassware, CorningWare and Visions cookware. It was an American classic, coming to a kitchen near you straight from Corning, New York, USA. Here’s a scientific explanation as to why the classic three-layer Corelle plates are as indestructable as they are, thanks to The Corning Museum of Glass. And here’s a Youtube video of the Corelle production line at Corning.

Even when we weren’t shopping for glassware or dinnerware, we would always stop to look at the flip side of dinnerware on display at whatever store we found ourselves at, just to see where a product was made. It was so reassuring to always find MADE IN USA on the bottom of Corelle products, when almost no other plates or bowls were made here. Even “That Internet Guy” sang the praises of his made-in-USA Corelle dinnerware on his YouTube channel!

But from the never-say-never school of thought, and in the interest of full disclosure, this can be the result of dropping a Corelle plate.

Well, it’s time to publish an obituary for another American classic. We recently began seeing Corelle products labeled MADE IN CHINA. Is nothing sacred?

It is unclear to us whether most Corelle products are made here or in China these days. Within the last few years, there were news reports that their Corning, New York plant was being modernized. On the other hand, the Corningware factory store in Corning, New York was reportedly closed in January, 2022.

This excellent 2014 “Built In America” video takes you inside the Corning, New York factory where all Corelle products were manufactured, before production was moved to China. As one of the employees in the video proudly states, “It’s sold worldwide, but every piece of Corelle comes out of Corning [New York]”. Sadly, that is no longer true. We wonder what the dedicated workers in the video are doing today. If you are in the market for Corelle dinnerware, we suggest you look closely at where it was made, before making your purchase. As Sy Sims used to say, “An educated consumer is our best customer”.

To add insult to injury, we noticed that the warranty on the made-in-China Corelle dinnerware (or what it’s manufacturer refers to as “livingware”), has been reduced to only one year. Perhaps a tacit acknowledgment that it is not as durable as it once was?

We understandably go crazy over a Chinese balloon, whether of the weather or spy variety, being spotted flying 50,000 feet over America, yet China has all but taken over the United States, one consumer product at a time. If you flipped a switch that made all Chinese goods magically disappear from America, store shelves would be bare, you would be naked and starving, and the computer we are writing this blog post on (and probably the device you are reading it on) would disappear. Welcome to The People’s Republic of America.

You have much more to worry about than whether TikTok is installed on your Chinese-made cellphone.


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Filed under Business, Cellphones, China, Consumerism, Employment, Home, Jobs, Military, Money, New York State, Politics, Retail, Retailers, Routing by Rumor, Shopping, Technology, The Economy, Walmart, Your Money

Sneaky, Sneaky, Duracell !

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive
-Sir Walter Scott

At Routing By Rumor’s world headquarters, we use a lot of alkaline batteries. We’re pretty fussy about quality, and until recently, our battery of choice was Duracell. We were willing to pay a premium for a high-quality, dependable product that creates jobs for Americans. That’s until recently.

We read labels. Lots of labels. So, we were more than a little upset when we started noticing that Duracell battery packaging no longer said Made In USA or Assembled In USA, but rather referred you to the country of origin on the batteries themselves. Surely Duracell isn’t hiding something, are they? Does “The Oracle of Omaha” know about this? (Duracell has been owned by Berkshire Hathaway since 2016.)

Try as we might, we could not make out any country of origin info on the batteries while they were sealed in their retail packaging, despite the crystal clear plastic tray they came packed in. So, we purchased the pack of Duracell AA batteries, hoping for the best. Big mistake.

Even after we removed the cells from the packaging, we still could not find anything that indicated their country of origin. Bright lighting and a magnifying glass gave us the unfortunate answer we were afraid of, “MADE IN CHINA”, as well as some Chinese characters, printed in 2-point type, in dark grey on a black background. So, perhaps they ARE trying to hide the fact that they have moved production, at least for (some of ?) the cells they are selling in the USA, to China. Why the dark grey, nearly invisible, two-point type? The rest of the wording on the cells is printed in a larger font, IN WHITE INK!

If Duracell is concerned that consumers will refuse to purchase batteries that say MADE IN CHINA, we think their fears are justified . They have lost at least one loyal customer. One that always thought that Warren Buffett was a genius.

Now, these Chinese-made batteries may be just as good a product as the previous Duracell batteries we’ve insisted on for years, but we will have no part of it. In our mind, they have cheapened an iconic brand, shipped American jobs overseas, and underestimated their loyal customers’ outrage. We fear that another American institution has bitten the dust. Shot down like so many spy balloons.

We feel betrayed. We feel like fools, for decades of supporting a brand that has apparently placed quick profits over American jobs, brand loyalty and long-term value.

I think the rabbit died.

…and while we’re on the subject of how to destroy iconic American brands, we’ll be blogging about what happened when we went shopping for another American classic, Corelle dinnerware, recently. Is nothing sacred? Stay tuned.

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Filed under Business, China, Consumerism, Deception Engineering, Employment, Jobs, Labor, Money, Retail, Shopping, Stock Markets, The Economy, Your Money

Two Questions Regarding Congressman George Santos

Question #1… If George Santos says he is telling the truth, should you believe him ?

Question #2… If George Santos says he is lying, should you believe him ?

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Filed under New York City, News, Politics, Scams

The Chinese Are Coming, The Chinese Are Coming

If you are breathing a sigh of relief, now that the United States Air Force has shot down that Chinese spy balloon that had the nation transfixed for the past week, I have bad news for you.

Our nation has been invaded by millions more Chinese balloons, and they’ve been here for years. They’re everywhere. In plain sight. Walmart. Amazon. Your local dollar store. Everywhere. Just try to buy a bag of balloons for your kid’s next party that aren’t made in China. Go ahead. Try.

Planning on celebrating next July 4th with fireworks? What could be more American than a fireworks show. Guess where those fire crackers, bottle rockets and sparklers come from. China.

Worried about TikTok? Well then, you’d better start worrying about your cellphones, televisions, the shoes on your feet, your clothes on your back, the raw ingredients used to make your pharmaceuticals, the COVID masks you’re wearing to protect you from the Chinese virus (thanks, Mr. Trump), the parts your cars are built from, even the pumpkin seeds you top your salad with. It’s all coming from China. China leads the World in the production of chemicals. Chances are that the packets of artificial sweetener you added to your coffee this morning contained Chinese-made chemicals. Even those hard-to-find products that say “Made In USA” usually contain a substantial percentage of Chinese materials.

Just look what happened to the supply chain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We couldn’t bring the containerships packed with Chinese-made goods to the United States fast enough. There weren’t enough cargo containers, container ships or ports-of-call to accommodate the volume of goods we were buying from China.

Personally, and as a nation, we long ago surrendered and capitulated to Mainland China, when we gave up on trying to buy only American-made clothing and shoes. Had we not caved in, we would be walking around naked and barefoot today.

So, the concern about a single Chinese balloon, spy or otherwise, might make for great headlines, but the fact is that China has successfully invaded the United States without firing a single shot, and we welcomed them with open wallets. Besides, they can gather much more intelligence using Google Earth, than their over-inflated party balloon will ever provide.

The Chinese Are Coming ?

The Chinese Are Here.

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Target Stores – An Identity Thief’s Best Friend ?

Is Target Stores, Inc. targeting your sensitive personal data ?  (image from

Is Target Corporation targeting your personal data ? Will a data breach make you a victim of identity theft ? (image linked from

You might have found this article after asking…

Why did Target scan my drivers license, or

Why did Target swipe my drivers license, or

Is Target collecting personal information from my drivers license, or

What is the Target stores ID policy, and what if I refuse to give them my drivers license,  or

Did a jury award  South Carolina Target shopper Rita Cantrell $3.1 million in a libel case, after she was wrongly accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at Target ?

Maybe Eric Arthur Blair was right (you’ll probably know who he was, even if you don’t recognize his name).

We very rarely shop at Target, but happened to find ourselves in a Target store recently.  While our order was being scanned at the register, even before we decided how we would pay, the cashier asked for our drivers license.  When asked why they needed to see our drivers license, they told us that it was because we were buying a package of over-the-counter cold medicine.  Since we are closer to retirement age than we are to the age of majority, we can’t remember the last time a clerk or cashier “proofed” us.  But since we want to do our part to make sure that no minors can get relief from their cold or flu symptoms, we graciously handed the cashier our license.  We quickly regretted complying with their request, when, to our horror, the cashier scanned the barcode on our license with their barcode reader, before we realized what they were doing, and before we had a chance to stop them.  It is worth noting that the last time I checked, this was still America, and there was absolutely no legal requirement for a retailer to scan or swipe your drivers license, or any other form of ID when purchasing medications, alcoholic beverages, etc.  Target appears to have adopted this misguided policy to protect themselves, and to possibly make their job easier (but at your expense).  What’s next ?  Scanning a barcode tattooed on your forehead by the State, or scanning you for the mandatory RFID chip implanted under your skin at birth ?

It seems to us that Target might be capturing at least some the information embedded in the barcode of your drivers license.  If not, then simply having the cashier confirm the date of birth printed on the license would suffice, and scanning the license would serve no purpose.   This makes us wonder what they might be doing with the data.  How long are they retaining the data ?  Do they sell the data, or use it for marketing purposes ?  Will they provide the data to the government, either voluntarily or in response to a subpoena or a National Security Letter ?

As (now very wealthy) South Carolina Target shopper Rita Cantrell can attest, Target can’t distinguish real currency from counterfeit.  Likewise,  we have little confidence that their employees, POS scanners or computer systems would be able to tell a fake drivers license barcode from the real thing.

Are you wondering what information Target (and other retailers) can capture from your drivers license barcode, in this post-9/11, “Homeland Security” driven world ?  The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators ( publishes the standards that the individual states follow when designing their drivers licenses.  This AAMVA document (in .PDF format) lists 22 mandatory and 23 optional data elements that are encoded into the PDF417 barcode that is used on U.S. drivers licenses.  Did you know that items such as a driver’s race/ethnic group and social security number can be embedded in the barcode ?   The individual states are free to add additional data elements that are not included in the AAMVA standard.

Sample License

We suspect that Target would be happy to sell cold medicine to this fellow, as long as he allows them to scan his drivers license.

Even if Target Stores does not have any ulterior motives, the fact that they are able to capture any or all of the data embedded in your drivers license barcode exposes their customers to the threat of identity theft.  The fact that their name is Target doesn’t help the situation either, if you catch our drift.  I mean, just look at their stores… they put a big red bulls eye right on the front of every store !  If that isn’t taunting all the hackers out there, I don’t know what is.   Maybe we would be less concerned if their name was “Fortress” or something along those lines, and their logo was a bank vault, rather than a bulls eye.  Even their cute mascot, Bullseye, looks like he would rather lick you to death than defend the company’s customer data.  Retailers, credit card companies, banks and other businesses are constantly making headlines because their networks are hacked into, their data stolen, and their customers or employees personal and financial information  compromised.  Sometimes it’s a hacker breaking into a computer network.  Sometimes, it’s a rogue employee inside a company or at a vendor that has access to a company’s systems.  Sometimes, it’s a laptop computer containing sensitive information that is lost or stolen.  Sometimes, backup tapes are lost in transit to an off-site storage location.  There are many ways that customer data can be put at risk of theft.

Now we’re wondering if we will pick up the newspaper one day, and see the headline “Target Stores Targeted By Hackers,  Personal Info From 50 Million Customers Stolen”.  Think it can’t happen ?  Think Again.  It has happened to other large retailers, banks and credit card companies.

How can consumers protect themselves ?  Well, it’s nearly impossible in the age of  The Internet and when “plastic” has largely supplanted the use of cash.  But nothing says that you have to shop at a retailer that unnecessarily places your personal information at risk, even if its only a potential risk.   We doubt that we will be shopping at Target stores again, but if we do, and we are asked for our drivers license in the future, we will refuse and walk out.  If collecting our personal data is more important to Target than keeping us as a customer, we will gladly take our business elsewhere, and patronize a business that does not unnecessarily expose us to the threat of identity theft.  Speaking of Target, we think that letting retailers scan and capture the data stored in your drivers license barcode is a lot like placing a bullseye on your back.

We are normally happy to accomodate a  merchant’s request to provide suitable ID, especially when the transaction involves payment by check or credit card, or we are returning an item, but Target’s policy is unacceptable, and we believe, simply wrong.  And we’re not the only one who feels this way.  This article at echoes our concerns about Target’s policy.  From a purely practical standpoint, we suspect that draconian policies such as the one put in place by Target will backfire, with (even more) people simply deciding to steal the medication.  OTC pharmacy items are already the most frequently shoplifted items (see this list of the 50 most frequently shoplifted items).   And isn’t it just a bit ludicrous (not to mention, rude) to ask a senior citizen buying cold medicine to prove they’re 18 years old ?

As far as we know,  Target customers concerned about identity theft can still do their shopping at Walmart without having to show them your drivers license when buying cold medications.  If you are very obviously over the age of 18, and asked for your drivers license at a Target store, we suggest that you decline.   If they persist, simply tell them that under the circumstances, you have changed your mind and don’t wish to purchase anything.  It won’t take Target very long to realize that their policy is costing them business, and that they need to change it.  They might not enjoy having to put all your stuff back on the shelves after you walk out without buying it, but at least your personal data will be safe.

– Routing By Rumor


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