Reaction to the Mr. Daisy and Apple Podcast

I found Mr. Daisy’s “story” about his quest to find the origin of his Apple products extremely enthralling and interesting. The reason I referred to it as a “story” in quotation marks is because although Daisy’s trip to China to find out where Apple manufacturing products was completely real, he weaves the series of events in an extremely riveting way that makes you feel as if you are listening to a grand adventure. Daisy began as a simple Apple user curiously asking Siri where she was from, and by the end he has become spy-like, pretending to be a large businessman in order to gain insider access into these extremely private and gigantic technology manufacturers. Along the way what he gains in knowledge of the manufacturing of his technology, he equally loses in innocence and blind-positivity towards the Apple brand and how his favorite products come into existence.

While I knew that the working conditions in these factories were appalling and terrible, that was not enough for me to be able to visualize and comprehend how bad it truly is. This is where Daisy’s storytelling really helped get his point across, by illustrating these conditions through first-hand accounts as well as statistics. One encounter that really stood out to me was when Daisy talked to the old factory worker who lost use of his hand due to having to repeat actions constantly in his role in manufacturing iPads. Despite spending so much time manufacturing iPads, the worker has never actually interacted with a working iPad or seen how it functions. Daisy then takes out his iPad and hands in to the man to play with. The man’s reaction is simple: he finds it to be like “magic”. This interaction was astounding to me, as it shows both sides of the Apple product experience. This man represents the production of the Apple product experience and how horrible it is for workers, but even the worker himself realizes how amazing the technology is. I saw this as a validation of our ignorance towards the horrible production conditions: if a man who was physically scarred making iPads can appreciate its functionality, someone continents away definitely will be able to despite the working conditions in which it is made.

A final theme that I found interesting in Daisy’s story was the “loss of human touch”. One quote that stood out to me was when Daisy talks about how although more products are being made by hand nowadays than ever before, there has been a loss of “human touch” on these products. Production by humans used to involve personality: people built things that they loved and “put themselves” into their items. Now we have reached a state where humans have become mechanized and robotic when producing goods, used simply because they are cheaper than machines and can be replaced easily (as seen in the insanely high 10-20% monthly turnover in these factories). Finally, while Daisy talks about the loss of human touch in products, I saw the conclusion of his story as a humanistic discussion about the loss of a human connection. Daisy has a moment of reflection with his translator, Kathy, where they both realize how these working conditions they have heard about were so much worse than they thought that they can not believe they are real. Living on a different continent and getting to experience these fantastic products has caused people to turn a blind eye towards helping other humans. We have distanced ourselves from these “other people”, simply for personal benefit of obtaining consumer goods. Overall I extremely enjoyed Daisy’s story and found it to be unsettling in a good way, confirming that he was able to get his point across.


3 responses to “Reaction to the Mr. Daisy and Apple Podcast

  1. I really like your emphasis on the loss of human touch. In a world where mass production and customization has become the norm, it is easy to forget where our everyday technologies come from. Mike Daisey stated in his analysis, “There are more handmade things now than there have ever been in the history of the world. Everything is handmade.” Daisey’s use of the word handmade implies physical touch. This is an indirect criticism towards those consumers who want their product to have a more personal connection. He points out that unbeknownst to most, their product has been touched by hundreds of nameless workers.
    Is it ignorant that we, as consumers, are unaware of plants like Foxconn? Or is it the responsibility of retailers like Apple to keep us informed?


  2. I believe that it is the responsibility of the consumers. It’s not as if Apple has a monopoly on the smart phone or computer market. Sure if you want to run OS x you need to have a mac but Windows has been working to fix all the things that made Apple products simpler and easier to use. Windows 8 has an virus protection built in as well as diagnostic tools that are extremely adept at identifying and fixing software related issues without ever needing a human’s input. As for smart phones, nearly every android phone on the market is more powerful, more versatile and has higher quality everything than the iPhone. The american consumer has the ability to boycott Apple without sacrificing any functionality. All they have to lose is voluntarily overpaying for a product that made by a company who puts aside its values for a quick buck.


  3. I too found the loss of human touch to be an interesting theme. Despite the fact that people are involved in every step of production, it seems as though the human connection is lost and that Apple’s products are made by robots and machines. It is too easy for us as consumers to overlook the “how” behind the gadgets we use. Perhaps if we were more interested in how each product came to be, there would be more awareness about the harsh realities of factory life and a movement to stop it would begin.


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