This past weekend we had a very encouraging shopping trip, and as an inveterate non-shopper, I don't say that often. This time we ventured into a part of town we rarely visit (though after this experience it may happen more often) and most notably went to our IKEA for the first time.
At the risk of exacerbating the Switzerland-Sweden confusion, I'll mention that going to IKEA was like a mini visit to Janet's apartment, though sadly lacking in grandchildren. There are many similarities in the stock between this and the IKEAs I've been in in Switzerland, and I kept exclaiming, "Look, that's their silverware drainer / toy bins / easel!" "That's the exact train piece package I bought over there!"
Although the purpose of the trip was merely exploratory, we did end up buying several items, and what both surprised and thrilled me was where they were made. Yes, there were certainly plenty of items with the "Made in China" label, but we also easily found products from India, Bulgaria, Latvia, and other alternative sources, and even the occasional "Made in USA." Later in the same trip we were happy to buy a teapot made in the Czech Republic from Crate and Barrel.
To judge by what's available in most stores, China has a monopoly on production these days, and their reputation for product safety and factory working conditions is terrible. Even if their record were pristine, I'd still be concerned about their control of the market. (Microsoft, Apple, and Google make me similarly nervous.) I don't boycott Chinese products, but I'm a lot happier to see more variety available. Is India any better? I don't know, but until proven otherwise I'll take the chance, and I'm certainly happy to buy from countries with European Union standards.