Grave Competition from China

by Lorna Salzman

Granite state stoneworkers call for China Boycott

The low price of Chinese granite gravestones is hurting the economy of Barre, Vermont, center of gravestone manufacture in the U.S.

Barre stone carvers are planning to file a WTO lawsuit against China for unfair trade practices.

"Death is forever and so are our Vermont gravestones" is the slogan of these stone carvers.

A spokesman for the carvers, Tod Graben, deplored the importation of cheap gravestones that crumble only a few years after the bodies buried beneath them. He also said that some mourning relatives were outraged when they found, in the crumbled stones, Chinese fortune cookies embedded in them with fortunes such as: "You will rejoin your loved ones in the next few days", "Pack your bags quickly; a long journey awaits you", and "If you lived here, you'd be home by now".

One family collapsed in shock at the interment of a family member, upon seeing the deceased man's name carved in Chinese characters; when these were translated, they read: "We are not responsible for spelling errors". But the biggest insult was finding on the bottom of the gravestone three words in English: "Made in China".

© 2002 Lorna Salzman. All rights reserved. Material may be quoted with permission.