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This started as a social media rant, and it grew much too quickly. Boom. Blog post. I was originally going to put it up at My 2 Cents blog on my author website, but I’ve decided it belongs here. Where you spend your money IS preparedness, particularly for those who earn it.

Several months back, I did an Amazon review (the YT video review was on my own, not part of the deal) on a UV light type sterilizer. The cliff-notes version is that I was asked to change my review by removing the (required) statement that I had been given the product in exchange for a review. “Bye, Felicia…”

A little background on how these companies work: They email you out of the blue, with cute names like “Tiffy” or “PJ”. They make the proposal, and they want you to buy it, but they’ll pay you back. Which I get, because then it comes up as a verified purchase on Amazon. But that’s also why they want you to hide the fact they gave it to you in the review you write up. {I have a friend and mentor, a large YouTuber who does lots of reviews. He concurred that the Chinese owned companies can be quite aggressive in demanding you say what they want. It’s almost as if communists are used to subjects following orders…almost…}

For the record, I have no problem working with Americans of Chinese descent, or legal Chinese immigrants who are building their own company in America. And I use, like and recommend some Chinese products, like Olight flashlights. That said, I’ve had an awakening. This will hurt the feelings of some pretty big YouTube gear reviewers, and I don’t give a rat’s-ass if it does: Stop feeding the beast! As much as I like Olight, I will not buy any more of them. Now, I’m not a purist for “only American made”. Start there, sure. But if your company is from almost ANY other country, I’ll consider working with you. But let me point something out that maybe you don’t fully comprehend…

China is Communist! Weird, I know…

“Duh…” Well, friends, obviously not ‘Duh,’ because every penny we give any of those companies winds up in the hands of the government, or those they choose. And yet all of us social media “influencer” types hop right into bed with them, under the excuse we’re just building our brand and providing for our families. Do Not mistake Olight and its seemingly nice owners (they were very gracious when Going Gear’s Marshall passed away unexpectedly a few years back) as a capitalist private enterprise. And I should mention that for the five or six months I gave the Going Gear EDC Club a trial (monthly subscription service), I noticed other Chinese owned gear. I like Going Gear, but fellas…you gotta stop… This leads me to story two.

About a month back, one of those companies had reached out for a review on a piece of gear. I had already done one on a small glow-in-the-dark flashlight—one that I had received in the Going Gear bag that month. They were asking me to review a new one coming out. I dug into them and learned they are, indeed, a Chinese company. To their credit, they admitted that when asked.

Now to what triggered me this week…

A company cold called me, wanting a review. The “Engrish” in the email is near perfect, now. They have no website (the link in the email went to the Zon store), but they sell multiple products on Amazon. They wanted me to review a folding tactical shovel. I looked for the website, I scouted their Amazon page…”Chinese” I knew immediately.

Editing note: Since I’d posted this, the company has responded and said that they are owned by an American and have rescinded the offer to do any business with me. And I support that choice: I’m redacting most of the conversation between us, and paraphrasing it, as I just don’t trust the internet. Or lawyers. Bottom line is that the last email was still worded very carefully, in a way that told me some of them work overseas (my guess is those in charge of manufacturing), and the tin-foil guy in me also knows that some of these companies have people over here specifically to obtain American citizenship.

I had received a typical business letter to try and review a folding e-tool. They gave their company name and a link to a website, that actually went to  the Amazon store.

And, so I sent this:

Hi,

Thank you for contacting me. Is this company in any capacity owned by a Chinese company or organization?

Now, You’d think an American or legal-immigrant would’ve taken the opportunity to sell it if they weren’t? Right? The one sentence reply:

Two sentences, saying thanks for emailing back, and that they are a Us-based company.

“US-Based”…… My reply, this morning…

Which is probably a legally correct answer. But what about whoever owns [Redacted]?

Any American owned company with no website would have taken an opportunity to explain the “who they are, how they stood up their company” stories and try their best to educate me about themselves. And who doesn’t have a website, but sells multiple products on Amazon anymore? A fresh, foreign start-up with lots of working capital, that’s who.

So, While I have no problem doing business with Americans of Chinese descent, I prefer not to do business with companies owned by other companies that are based out of China. Particularly those that purposefully didn’t disclose that when asked. You don’t need to reply to this reply.

Austin Chambers

It is quite possible that the first two encounters biased my reading of the recent one. It matters not, regarding the seriousness of this article. I wish that company the best and respect their right to be upset with me. But…

Folks, China is actively attempting to overthrow the US, and we’re ones financing it. Time to decide where your priorities are.