Why An American Company Gave Its Chinese Workforce A Weeklong Paid Holiday

While China – which produces 80% of the world’s air conditioners, 70% of its mobile phones and 60% of its shoes – has long been known as the world’s factory, US companies often try to distance themselves from the “Made in China” label. However, US-based makers of the politically incorrect party game Cards Against Humanity did something amazing to thump such rebranding – it gave its Chinese workforce a week’s paid holiday in December, using proceeds from one day of a mystery gift subscription.


The vacation was paid for by one day of proceeds from the company’s Eight Sensible Gifts for Hanukkah program, which sent eight mystery gifts through December to 150,000 fans who had each paid $15 to receive one mystery gift each day.

The first three days, everyone got socks. The fourth day, members’ money was invested in the “Cards Against Humanity US Treasury Inflation Protected Securities Fund”. On the fifth day, they donated everyone’s money to WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR station, and made 150,000 people NPR members for one year.

On sixth day, Cards Against Humanity gave its overseas printer a week of paid vacation. The seventh day, the compnay purchased ​Tête de Faune​, an original 1962 Picasso, and asked fans to decide what happens to it. For the eighth and final night of Hanukkah, Cards Against Humanity declared 150,000 people king of the for-real castle it bought in Ireland.

A Consumer Reports survey in 2015 found that 8 out of 10 American consumers prefer to buy US-made products rather than the ones made abroad. That may be one of the reasons why Apple places a new label – Designed by Apple in California – on products like the iPhone that are largely assembled in China.

In a blog post, the game’s makers pointed out that “although a lot of companies don’t like to draw attention to the fact that like many of the physical products, most of the gifts were made in China, and as a result Americans often don’t see the labor that goes into the things they buy, we’ve always viewed the way our stuff is made as a part of who we are”.

“Our printer in China has grown with us from a small business to a huge operation, and it’s important to us to go above and beyond our obligation to the workers who make our game. While our factory provides excellent wages and working conditions, Chinese working conditions are generally more strict. This year, we used the money from one day of our holiday promotion to give our workers something very uncommon in China: a paid vacation.

“The printer didn’t have any formal procedures for paid vacations, so we bought 100% of the factory’s capacity and paid them to produce nothing for a week, giving the people who make Cards Against Humanity an unexpected chance to visit family or do whatever they pleased.

“This doesn’t undo the ways that all of us profit from unfair working conditions around the world, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

It was the second time in a month the company surprised its workers with the benefits of a sale. On Black Friday, it ran a special item in its store: “Give Cards Against Humanity $5”. It was very explicit that nothing would be received in exchange for the $5 – not even a box of bullshit.

It still received $71,145 from the sale, which it divided evenly between its US employees, and gave to them no-strings attached. The only condition was that they had to detail what they spent the money on.

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