Even more ranting here…and a challenge….kinda long

I have spent lunch hours this past week looking for AMERICAN MADE cookware, women’s clothing and other products.  What an eye opener.

Did you know that 95% of all clothing purchased in America is made overseas?  Less than 5% is produced here.   Most of that 5% is denim products, jackets, vests, jeans, hunting clothing.   There are a few private labels for women’s dresses.

New Balance is the last US made sports shoe company!   There are many US made boot companies, mostly smaller local brands.  I did find a list of American made shoe brands…but some of them use man made materials from around the World.

With the cancer and the semi-macrobiotic diet we follow,  I’m not supposed to cook with aluminum or anything non-stick lined.  That’s what started this research…looking for American made 12″ stainless steel skillets.   I found about 8 companies still producing them…prices ran from $72.00 to $298.00.   FOR A SKILLET!

We watched an older documentary about a mega giant discount store and it’s horrible work ethics.  The foreign workers might earn $3.00 US Dollars per week.  They live in dormitory type housing with no money for toiletries.  If they choose to live elsewhere, the mega giant still charges them for their dormitory space!   They work 10-16 hours per day with few breaks.   I cannot support that practice.

In the USA, the mega giant employees are given as few hours as possible to keep them from making overtime wages, and they’re mostly paid minium wage.   You cannot support yourself or a family on 18 hours a week at $7.25.   They tout how great their benefits are, but the workers were singing much different songs.  They told how the HR department tells them if they cannot make it on their earnings, there are State and Federal welfare programs to help them…so,  that’s our TAX dollars spent providing food stamps, housing, WIC and CHIPS for families who cannot earn enough working at the mega giant to support their families.  What’s wrong with this picture?

When the mega giant comes into a rural area,  the Mom-Pop businesses usually fold after about 3 years.  They cannot compete with the cheaper prices.   The only thing the local businesses can offer is customer service…which said mega giant is certainly short of….one of the little towns was Hearne, TX.    It went from a thriving metropolis to a ghost town in the business district.   That takes much needed jobs from the little companies and usually major tax dollars out of the communities.    Towns are now hiring lawyers and filing law suits to keep the mega giant out of their communities.   I’m glad Coleman kept them out.   Bad thing is that there are 5 mega giant stores within 100 miles of Coleman, so guess where the tax dollars go…and Coleman is slowly drying up.    It’s not just this mega giant…it’s just that I happened to see the documentary and it left a really nasty taste in my mouth.

While grocery shopping (in Wal-Mart) I was planning to purchase a Salmon fillet.   When I pulled it out of the case to read whether is was farm raised or wild caught, the words Product of China caught my eye.   The nearly $10.00 fillet went back into the case.  Instead,  I purchased Honey Boy canned Pink Salmon (@ $2.58/can)…product of Washington State.    We have Salmon.  Why are we buying it from China?????

I had the opportunity to be in a CATO store this past week.   I found several pieces of jewelry that I would love to have had…but they were made in China.   As I left the store,  I looked at all the clothing tags in the clothes along the aisle….China, Vietnam, Honduras, Guatamala, Bangladash.

When you can buy something made in China for eighteen US cents…that sells here for under $15.00,   why would you spend $35-$50.00 to purchase an American made equivelent product?

We’re guilty.  We have X amount of cash to spend on groceries and other items so  those dollars have to stretch….but I have become much more consicious of where the things we buy are coming from.   From now on,  I will search out the American made alternatives.   We support our local Mom-Pop grocery store as much as possible, usually purchase gas locally, gifts when we can from the local stores.  If it costs an extra dollar or two,  then we’ve probably saved that much or more in gas to drive to a neighboring city.

If we let this trend continue,  there will soon be nothing made here at home.   We’re selling out our livelyhood and our children’s heritage.  Where is our American pride?  I personally think it’s time for a change and I challenge each of my readers to become more consicious about where the products you buy are coming from.    Do your own research…don’t take my word for all this.   Together,  we can send a message and make  a difference.

Susan ~ Patchkat

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20 responses to “Even more ranting here…and a challenge….kinda long

  1. Challenge gladly accepted. I also have shopped Walmart for years, although not for food as I found theirs to be stale and outdated. I will begin to look harder and closer at what I buy and do better about supporting our nation. Thank you for the challenge and I hope more of your readers take up the challenge too.

  2. The problem truly begins with our government, unions, OSHA, EPA, and such stringent rules that the production costs are excessive. Since our plane went down in china years ago, I have not bought anything from china. That was a long time ago! I do quilt and sew but not with china goods. I do shop for expensive things at eBay or amazon. You would or may already know people sell good stuff. I will buy from other countries if, I really want it. Americansworking.com is one site with American made goods. We travel to the coast to purchase fresh seafood every 6 weeks or so and put up with food saver. I also frequent second hand stores and thrift stores. It is more time consuming and a little more money to buy true seafood from America but, I think well worth it for health reasons. I bought my favorite stainless pot American made from a goodwill. May the lord bless you! Also, check out Breadbreckers for true healthy living– grind your own wheat to get the health benefits of the whole wheat kernel in your flour. She fought cancer, too. We started doing that 2 years ago and wow, what a difference.

  3. It’s called outsourcing jobs. Which has been going on for years. What it really means is that the almighty dollar is still considered the root of all evil. Gone are the days of taking care of your employees because they are considered family. Gone are the days of watching out for the other guy simply because he works next to you. Now people worry about if the guy working next to them is going to get that 15 cent an hour raise before you (you in general).

    Corporations are more concerned about the bottom line instead of health care benefits and retirement funds for their employees. People with higher educations are being passed by in interviews for the less experienced so they can pay lower wages and no benefits.

    When Sam Walton opened his first store, he did not intend for his employees to be treated like 2nd class citizens. He was an honest man, with an honest dream to help employees live the American Dream. He wanted customers to be able to afford good, quality, made in America items. Sadly, his legacy does not is the true value of what that American Dream is. I remember living in Arkansas in the early, pre-Walmart years. My husband worked for Sam Walton in the very early years of Walmart stores. I remember walking into the first one built in the small town we lived in and see “made in America” tags on clothing. Those were the good years.

    Now we deal with corruption in every aspect of our lives. People think there’s corruption in everything we do, see or hear. We can thank the Berney Madophs and other corrupt people for this.

    Continue to have faith in that we are still a nation to be proud of and continue to voice your displease in what you and I believe is right!

  4. And we have just learned that when people go to employment offices to look for work they are told how to apply for government aid.

  5. I’ve also been looking at this issue. I researched (a few months ago) where the fabrics are made that we use in quilting. There is one brand that is made right here in Texas. Right now the name escapes me. It might be Moda.

    It’s very difficult to find American made products. And frustrating!!

    Mary

    • A lot of finished printed fabrics are coming from Korea, China, England, Australia, Japan, Pakistan, Thailand and so many other countries. A good thing is that a large percentage of cotton greige goods are still being milled in the USA then exported to the other countries for finishing. That means we get the jobs and money for the milling. For some rural areas in the Eastern USA, the mills are the largest employers and they provide decent wages.

      I would buy fabrics from anywere other than China and India. I love Robert Kaufman fabrics. Their batiks come from Java. Kona Cottons are finsihed in the USA and in international mills…I keep wanting to say thailand, but that may not be right. I don’t have a bolt here to look at.

      Guess we could buy US made greige goods and dye/print our own fabrics!

  6. Wal-Mart has just announced another store being built in my area. When it’s finished, there will be four (yes, 4!!) stores within 20 minutes of my house! Seems to me that’s a bit of over-kill!!!

  7. I agree with quiltygirl in regards to production costs. A company would not even be breaking even if they sold American made at a price comparative to Walmart. However, such as American made autos, they spend as much time in the shop as they do on the road. I do not want to find myself broke down on the side of the road or some remote place that I may not even be able to get back to safety, so I do not own an American made automobile. Nor do I want to support the union that made these prices and less-quality items. I do like to shop at the mom and pop places. And I do like to buy Batiks for some of my quiltings.. However, Susan, have you tried buying some iron skillets and pots from Lodge, they are in TN. I own a lot of iron skillets and pots? I love cooking in them. I have my own and some of mom’s old ones.. You just have to season them after using.
    I have a great friend that like so many others are on a fixed income so they have to shop around in order to survive for the month. Her and her husband’s prescriptions cost as much in a month as does their food. They have a garden, and they also cook a lot from scratch. So in circumstances like this, they cannot look at where it was made only how much it costs. Medicare paid less than $200 on a $5000 outpatient surgery he had to have on his one and only kidney, so if they are not paying anything now, they will not be paying anymore if Obamacare does not get repealed. It would be great to go back to a few of the things that was happening when I was growing up , but that isn’t possible. I just hope that those that do not have a job right now will be able to get one and have enough to buy what they want and where they want.
    Have a blessed day!
    Helen

  8. I, too, am sick of seeing everything being made elsewhere. We grow our own vegetables and I can and freeze them so very seldom buy veggies. I do grind my wheat and rye for breads and make them right here at home. I buy sheep fleeces to process and spin and then knit my own sweaters and gift items. I also sew and quilt but most of our fabrics are now manufactured elsewhere too. I’m also what most people would say ‘elderly’ so have the time to do most of these things.

    Carolyn

    • I can and freeze also, buy when the local fruits and vegetables come in…we’re often gifted fresh produce from our neighbors…and we garden when our health, the weather and water restrictions allow. I haven’t tried grinding my own wheat, but that is coming :-). This year, we bought our first freezer beef from a local rancher. Grass fed, local butchered, processed and packaged with NO additives. We’re trying to get back to the least amount of processing/chemical additives to our food that we can. Buying local from organic gardeners is the first step, plus that keeps our money right here in the area. guess we’d be considered “elderly” also…but I work full time. Husband is retired and loves to bake. We always have fresh bisquits made from scratch.

  9. I Hate to get political,,but until we can get our congress to make outsourcing not so profitable for the huge corporations, we will continue to go down. Many bills have been written and they are side tracked or filibustered by conservative house and senate. just google “out sourcing bills” see how your representative voted.
    In the Bay Area of Sf. retrofitting the Bay Bridge cost more than double due to fact we had to get the steel from China. another fact..almost all aspirin is made in China..i wonder how safely it is regulated?

    • I totally agree Mary. But it has to start with us…the common folk making our wishes known. We don’t use aspirin here, so that’s not a worry. When our housing authority replaced windows (about 300 of them) in the housing, we had to buy American…even the mounting, installation hardware had to be American made. It was a pain to find, but I was thrilled that we had to buy American. When I worked in the Contracting Department for the Army, we had to buy American…I loved the hunt…and that was 30 years ago.

  10. I feel your frustration. The town I grew up in and work in was once known as the Furniture Capitol of the World (High Point, NC) along with a very large hosiery manufacturing. Now almost all of the furniture and hosiery manufactures are gone. The building were torn down or turned into showroom. We have a big furniture show twice a year and that brought in a ton of people, but now we are
    competing with Las Vegas to keep it here. The down town is gone, except for showrooms. We have had a large mall close, then built another one and it’s pretty much gone except for a couple of stores. The good thing is High Point
    University bought the mall and is going to use it for classroom. Thomasville Furniture was a major brand, but not any more. Their stuff is made over seas.
    It is up to us a citizens of the US to try and buy American made and grown products and to urge our government to try and bring business back to this
    country.

  11. I agree with everything you said and more. My father is a small business owner and when Walmarts moved into his town business went down drastically. Fortunately my father is very creative and slowly changed his business to a more lucrative business which doesn’t compete with the Walmart business. He wouldn’t shop in a Walmart for years. I don’t go to walmarts as much as I used to because I prefer to shop American made businesses. They need us as much as we need them and their products are usually better than Walmarts.

  12. Firstly, I admire you so much for your strength and your faith at how you are coping with your illness, I find it remarkable God bless you and keep you wellLastly, Australia also has your problem with China making at least 90% of all our buyable goods and also they are buying up such hugh amounts of our land it is becoming scarey. We will not own our country soon at the rate this is happening !! Our Australian goods are so expensive it is impossible to buy them especially when we are on a pension of some sort…What is happening in this world of ours ??? More and more violence — the rich get rich and the poor get poorer ..Enough from my soap box !!Regards May

    ‘I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.’ May. x

    Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2012 00:55:33 +0000 To: sylvanhills@hotmail.com

  13. i am with you on everypoint.don’t shop walmart, use a local market a nd use from farm to table veggies and grow my own fruit and can it. i ware new balance shoes. i have few pieces of clothes, just what i need,old socks and quilt with 15 year old fabric. i don’t eat beef, but steve eats local beef and seafood. i am awake to this issue.hugs

  14. Tough topic because there are valid points to argue either side of the problem. All I can add is that there are a lot of industries that have had to move portions (or all)of their work outside of the US just to stay in business. You can get cars that are assembled in the US, furniture that the cover (be it leather or fabric) is cut and sewn in other countries and brought in to be completed in the US or light fixtures that are almost all made outside of the US.

    I worked in the furniture industy and watched the company I was with fight and lose in the battle to keep things here. I don’t know of a solution, but I do know that you can’t keep thinking… made in the USA isn’t made well. OK, (and I’m not picking on anyone here) you purchased a product that had issues… that’s ONE instance of it, that could happen to any brand of car, or sofa, or table, or light and gee didn’t that happen with Toyota and their brakes failing, Firestone and their tires having issues, dog food that had ingredients that we didn’t know were imported and killed pets, toys with lead paint that got kids sick? US cars have had to become better, so instead of just writing them off… give them a second chance.

    We just need to pay better attention. American companies are fighting for the US dollar, so they are having to streamline, but we need to realize they are fighting back and we need to keep an open mind when we are purchasing our goods and do as you did… research before we buy. I haven’t bought a car in a long time, but I will test drive all brands when it comes time again. I would love to buy a Ford, but I can guarantee I’ll be online reading reports and studying details before I buy anything.

    Sorry, I lived this soap box. After 20 years and working my way up from hourly to middle management, I was downsized due to foreign competition. Good job on your shopping research and I’m definitely with you on trying to do better in buying American.

    • Thank you for your insight Gail.

      When you’re fighting to keep your business competitive, you streamline the assembly, sell the very best service/product you can and offer excellent customer services.

      Most companies are so top heavy in “positions”… that when they start tighting their belts and streamline the operations, positions are cut and jobs are combined. Sadly, that means unemployment for some. It sounds like you got caught in the cuts. I’ve never been in that position, but it must be hard.

      It’s been great seeing so many who are ready to support the American businesses and try to improve our economy. It seems impossible to change, but we can make a difference…one product at a time.

  15. Great blog!! I try to buy American. The one thing I discovered is that you have to watch every time you buy an item especially clothing that it is still American made.

  16. I, too, try to buy clothes made in the US and rarely find them. I refuse to buy China though…just on principal. ( Well, I am sure my electronics come from there but not sure how to go around that)
    It is tough in this economy to get folks not to buy walmart and the like, but hopefully people will buy more and more US as their wallets allow.
    Here is a website to “made in USA links”.
    http://www.americansworking.com/webstores.html

    And yes, It is SO sad to see the MOm and POps’ closing as the big box stores come in. I try to support the local smaller stores as much as possible too.
    Hope others join in on this.