It’s that time of year again.
Time to gather around the hearth with our loved ones enjoying one another’s company and reminiscing of days gone by.
To laugh at old stories and share a meal.
Taking photographs and making more memories.
And of course, sharing gifts.
Most of us in the USA probably have, by now, spent at least an hour or two coursing the aisles of our local big box retailers looking for that perfect trinket for our friends and family.
And in our shopping trips, how many of us bother to look at the labels any longer?
What percentage of those gifts in your shopping bag are made here in the United States?
Of the estimated approximately $704 that will be spent by the average American shopper this holiday season, according to Gallup, which is about 80 bucks less than last year, it’s anyone’s guess as to how many of those items were made in the United States.
Why does it matter, you may wonder?
Well, for one, do you like your job? Think you are safe from the chopping block in this new global economy?
According to Made in USA.org,
The concept that you are saving money by buying off-shore is bogus. The jobs lost and subsequent lost income will eliminate the ability for us to buy any products at all. This can only exacerbate the increased unemployment, and cause company bankruptcy. Don’t be fooled, the politicians intention is to grab more power by making us all poor, and by controlling more big business.
Remember when Wal-Mart boasted that they only sold things made in the United States? If you do, then you must be an old-timer like me. Because when old Sam Walton was still around, that was their policy.
Not so more.
Any 5-minute visit to Wal-Mart or any other mass retailer (and even small retailer) will reveal, upon further inspection, that a good majority of the items for sale are made overseas, most often in China. Not bad for a communist country.
But bad for American jobs.
Every time you participate in this madness, thinking you are getting a super bargain on that toaster, you are contributing to someone else losing their job here in the States.
Next time it could be your job.
What’s patriotic about buying something made by slave laborers in some Far East sweatshop?
Do you really want to enrich these multinational corporations or would you rather feel safe in your own job here? What about your kids? What legacy are you leaving them?
According to Consumer Reports, in their February 2013 article, “Made in America?”
Clearly, most Americans want to know where products are made and want to buy those that will help create or keep jobs in the U.S.—an attempt applauded by economists like Jeff Faux, a distinguished fellow of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, in Washington, D.C. ‘Consumers need to understand that all jobs and wages are interconnected,” Faux told us. “When you buy foreign goods—and sometimes there’s no choice—it means that fewer U.S. workers will have the money to buy the goods and services you sell.’
Look this is not rocket science. Most of us know how to read. The labels are pretty clear and all you have to do is take the time and look.
There’s an entire list of companies that still manufacture good quality products here in the USA. Simply diverting a small amount of your annual holiday budget to these companies would make a huge difference for all of us. And I’d bet you’d feel pretty darn good about helping out your fellow citizen. Here’s a great list from Americans Working.com.
Something else you might not think about, but a lot of these overseas factories horribly exploit their workers. Surely you don’t want to contribute to this suffering. According to the Americans Working website, in their list of 7 reasons why it’s a great idea to shop American, you should keep in mind the issue of human rights.
Human Rights – The countries the United States import from often have nonexistent standards regular working
conditions. Many of the factories producing US bound goods are worse than our prisons, and filled with children
working extremely long days. No one wants to support that, and by buying American you know you aren’t we
have regulations and agencies in this country to prevent those types of atrocities.
It’s also cool to join in the “Made in America” movement. According to Dana Holmes, Editor in Chief at Gifts.com and contributor to Huffington Post, in her article “Why ‘Made in America’ is Cool,” you can sport some ultra-chic one-of-a-kind jewelry made by local artisans.
One of the best things about buying jewelry made in America is that when things aren’t being made on a super-duper-large scale, they don’t all look the same. And for something like jewelry that’s supposed to be an expression of one’s personality, that’s important. Some of the cooler pieces I’ve noticed are earrings made of recycled glass, bracelets made of natural gemstones and pendants with holes poked in them to represent your star sign.
How awesome is that? I like bling too and I like it even better knowing that some artist here in the USA had the opportunity to express himself or herself and had a venue with which to share their jewelry.
And I know I am not the only patriotic nut out there (and I am Canadian…go figure). A recent appearance on ABC with David Muir on the #MadeinAmerica movement, called “The Great Made in America Christmas” features holiday shoppers learning about the benefits of shopping and buying American made products.
If every consumer this year were to change their shopping habits, even just perhaps with one item made in the USA, it’d make a huge difference. Like they mention on the site, MadeinUsa.org,
Let’s say 300,000,000 Americans each simply reallocated 1 dollar per day, spending 1 dollar less on foreign-made goods, 1 dollar more on American-made goods. (That’s $30 per month, per person, and it is not an extra $30 per month, but just where you spend it!) After a year, this would add up to $109,500,000,000. What could the real, productive American economy do with an extra $109.5 billion? How about 2,737,500 new jobs paying $40,000 per year?
So this year, while you’re out looking for that perfect trinket, do yourself and your fellow citizen a favor and follow these simple instructions:
Look at the label.
If it says “Made in USA,” buy it.
If not, put it back.
Made in USA
True patriotism isn’t cheap. It’s about taking on a fair share of the burden of keeping America going.
Photos courtesy Canna W, Joel Terrell of SXC.hu and PCB.ca