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Americans: do you care if it was made in America?

 
 
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 12:57 pm
Recently my sister in law sent me some segments from ABC new about their "made in America challenge". The challenge offered some statics about how if we each spent an additional 18 cents a day on American made goods that we could create 200,00 jobs immediately.

I took SIL up on her challenge and I have been trying to buy things made in America. It isn't always easy. The best I could do on new sheets was made in India with cotton grown in America.

Mr. B and I were talking over such things the other night when I reminded him of the old "look for the union label" ads that ran on TV back in the 70s.

Do you remember this?



Now compare it to this:



Do you try to buy American made goods?

How hard is it to find an American made version of what you're looking for?

Are you willing to spend more for American made items?
 
Old Goat
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 01:09 pm
They have a great saying in France.

"Buy foreign and put your kids out of work!"
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 01:18 pm
I try and buy everything from America if I can. With some things, like electronic goods, it's almost impossible. But with others - you really just have to find the right brand.

I even take it a step further when I can and try and buy things made here in Berkeley.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 01:20 pm
@boomerang,
Remember when that was the big selling point at Walmart?

I can recall going to the U.S. on a trip, going to Walmart for the first time and seeing all the Made in America signs. I thought that was really great. Those signs are not so easy to find now.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 01:42 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Do you try to buy American made goods?

No. And when I lived in Germany, I didn't try to buy German-made goods either. I have always rejected appeals to do so as unattractively parochial.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 02:03 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Do you try to buy American made goods?


No. America preaches capitalism and free trade so I'd feel hypocritical and selfish to. Why should those 200,000 Americans have the jobs instead of others who may need it more?

Many people live with unemployment rates much worse than America even in a crisis and I'm prefer a fair playing field to economic tribalism.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 02:06 pm
I already have all that I need except for groceries. With groceries, I go for fresh produce. Buying local is a challenge here so I don't pay that much attention to it - seasonal is more important to me here. Some items are from Mexico, not very far away as the crow flies. I buy Mexican vanilla. I prefer "foreign" for some items, prosciutto for example, but usually can't spring for their cost, or they are just plain not available.

Re the rest of my belongings, by now a great amount of them are thrift store derived. But.. my eagle eye in thrift stores will usually find the italian ceramic bowl, or the Belgian enameled cast iron pot (true, I got one of those once, only one little ding on it; lasted for many years). I've a bias for Japanese made cars, or used to. My present old honker is a sturdy million year old Volvo. Detroit paid no attention to my interests over decades.

On the other hand, I am distressed that most of the US creativity now seems to be only, or primarily, in the IT fields. I've long been interested in crafts internationally, and have liked it when well done craft is produced at a larger business level than it usually is. Tile making, for example. There was a glass manufacturer in northern california that the area was very proud of (Fire and Light Glass was the name, I think); there was a local goat cheese provender (heard of Humboldt Fog cheese?) who sold her business - that had become know nationally - fairly recently but under agreement to keep the old craft "ways". Far as I know, it is still local. I think the name was Cypress Grove - and still is, though I haven't looked that up. And yes, I bought cheese from there - preferred it since it was so good, besides being local. Our markets would have a good selection of items like locally made jams and soaps, and I definitely bought them before national brands or foreign brands.

When I did buy new clothes, they were most of the time from US companies like JJill or LLBean, but not always. I have no idea of all of their clothes are made in the US now or not. My favorite shoes are Dansko clogs, German company - I think, with rights to a line from a Danish company -their shoes are now made in Italy, Portugal, and China. A couple of my favorite shirts, bought in Albuquerque, are from Morocco and Japan.

So, I guess my way is to buy what I like; sometimes it's american, sometimes it isn't. When something is locally made and good, I do tend to rave about it, like the Cypress Grove cheese.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 02:08 pm
@Old Goat,
They should at least be honest and add that they prefer to put poor kids out of work in other countries instead.
Old Goat
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 02:10 pm
Yes, there's a lot of poor German and Japanese kids around, so I suppose you're right.
I think that most parents would prefer their own kids to be permanently out of work in order to make the world a fairer place, don't you?
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 02:13 pm
@Old Goat,
You are cherry picking rich kids. Patriotic purchasing is only needed when it's an uncompetitive product, and while there are cases of some industries being competitive in first world countries in many cases what makes those other countries competitive is the cheap labor that poverty provides.

So no, I would not spend more for tennis shoes (for example) made in America just so a less competitive American job is gained.
0 Replies
 
Old Goat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 02:14 pm
Good for you!
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 02:17 pm
@Old Goat,
Old Goat wrote:
I think that most parents would prefer their own kids to be permanently out of work in order to make the world a fairer place, don't you?


I think that is a false dilemma (especially the nonsense about being "permanently" out of work) and that in reality it's about them and not their kids. The use of their kids is an emotional appeal, when in reality their purchases now will not likely affect future generations as much as themselves.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 02:18 pm
@Thomas,
Uncommon common sense.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 02:18 pm
@Old Goat,
Old Goat wrote:
Yes, there's a lot of poor German and Japanese kids around, so I suppose you're right.

What's with the sarcasm? According to the second of Boomerang's videos, the bulk of the clothing imports comes from places like China, Vietnam, and Mexico. There are definitely more poor children living there than here.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 02:18 pm
@Robert Gentel,
More uncommon common sense.
0 Replies
 
Old Goat
 
  2  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 02:22 pm
@Robert Gentel,
"when in reality their purchases now will not likely affect future generations as much as themselves. "

Tell that to your teenagers entering the work market, who have seen your local manufacturing close down because of the massive increase in Chinese (and other tiger economy) imports.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 02:52 pm
@Old Goat,
Tell your teenagers to stay in school.

Tell your teenagers that grandpa is a hypocritical old geezer.

Tell your teenagers that free trade is only free trade works when it works for grandpa and his crew.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 03:12 pm
Many imports are cheaper because there are no environmental protection or labor safety laws in the countries in which they are manufactured. As the imports usually come from multi-nationals, with much of their capital held in North America and Europe, nothing is likely to be done about it.

From my personal perspective, the main problem is clothing and shoes. In the larger sizes, you just can't rely on the size consistency of the imports. This is especially true for shoes. I always wore an 11 1/2 in shoes made in the United States or in Europe for the American trade. In import shoes, i have to take at least a 12, and often a 13. Whether it's shoes, or slacks or shirts, i have to try it on. The sizing is just not reliable. I don't know if that's because those sizes are so uncommon in the countries where they're manufactured, or if people who take smaller sizes have that trouble, too. But these days, you just can't ignore the price differences.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 03:14 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

They should at least be honest and add that they prefer to put poor kids out of work in other countries instead.


I'm honest enough to say that I'd rather see poor kids in other countries not making my goods. In fact, I'd rather see kids ANYWHERE not working, and I certainly can't get behind a policy of buying their goods just so they'll have some sweatshop job.

There's no such thing as 'free trade.' It's an invention whose purpose is nothing more than to continue the status quo we see today.

I do pay more for goods made in America. All the time. I have found them to be of a generally higher quality than goods made elsewhere.

Cycloptichorn
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 03:21 pm
I'm not against a lot of our bought goods now being from China et al. I admit to wariness about food products, pharmaceuticals, and dry wall, but I've also seen chinese competence and expect some of the rough bits to pass with time. I've liked shoes made in Brazil, Mexican tiles, and much else. I'm philosophically a no-borders person but that's tough to change in the everyday world.

I do think the US could do with getting more inventive with our own manufacturing and probably our small business ventures (I'm no expert) and I do enjoy paying attention to local products. I like it when places are distinguishable for their various competences, styles, foods - life being richer for the diversity, money aside.
0 Replies
 
 

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