As a devoted Apple product user, I have always tried to avoid the reality behind where my products come from. I have read stories in the newspaper and watched reports on the news that chronicle some of the human rights issues in cheap labor countries like China. They discussed companies whose products I use often, like Apple’s, but for some reason the reports felt distant and didn’t effect me nearly as much as they should have. Mr. Daisey’s presentation of the story, however, changed my view on the matter. I believe that his descriptive storytelling manner and his light comic tone helped make the story accessible. By telling us the story of the worker he encountered who cleaned iPhone screens and her “smart as a whip” sense of humor, he drew the listeners in and made the person seem real and likeable before dropping the bomb that she was only thirteen years old. This type of dynamic storytelling made Mr. Daisey’s story more realistic and helps to explain why this podcast was more powerful than the other news pieces I have come across surrounding this topic.
My emotions after listening to the podcast could best be described as guilty and conflicted. I rely on my Apple products for so many different parts of everyday life that I cannot imagine functioning the way I do today without them. I am sure many other people feel the same. However, following the podcast, I felt genuinely guilty about how our population’s developing dependence on them is making the problem Mr. Daisey discusses so much bigger. I was haunted by the descriptions of the nets around the building to prevent suicides and the armed guards outside the gates of the factory. We are causing the suffering of so many people because we want the coolest new tech products. I looked down at my own iPhone screen and wondered if that thirteen-year-old girl had cleaned it. Didn’t you?
Another reason why I am seriously conflicted regarding the matter is because I feel like I need more information. I think that Apple’s idea of confidential suppliers is only digging them a deeper hole. Major technology companies like Apple and Dell need to make a statement on this matter and be more transparent or else it will cast a dark shadow over their successes in the technology industry. I believe there needs to be a more serious inquisition into these companies practices; but, until then, I fear I will just remain conflicted.