This drives my husband crazy. He listens to NPR nonstop, reads news articles throughout the day, and lectures me that I should be informed, that it’s my duty as a citizen to be informed about what’s going on. What is going on with our economy affects me because it could affect his job, which is related to American manufacturing.
He fills me in with the basics; American businesses have been moving jobs overseas to increase profit margins because labor in other countries is cheaper. The less we manufacture here, the less we can export, and this lowers our gross national product.
So what can we do about it? Naturally, we should buy American. But, that’s actually not as easy as one would think.
Some of our own cars (think: Ford, Chevy) aren’t actually manufactured here, and try looking for basic items with the label “Made in America” next time you go to Target or Walmart. Not that easy. Most of our every day products are made elsewhere because it’s cheaper for the company to make, therefore cheaper for us to buy.
But, what about the imported goods that aren’t cheap. How do we justify that trade off?
For example, Coach bags.
I used to buy a new Coach bag every season. It was my one splurge, and they made me feel warm and pretty inside, and the quality…well, you can’t beat the quality of a Coach bag, they’re made in New York.
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
As I began to notice that my Coach bags weren’t necessarily better quality than some of my other, less expensive bags, I decided to read the label, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Made in China.
I had no idea. More American manufacturing jobs gone, lost to what I hope are not kids in China. And since labor costs are on the rise in China, Coach is planning to move its factories to an even cheaper country.
Call me naive, but does it always have to be about profit margins? I realize that in business, the answer is probably yes. But personally, I can no longer justify paying hundreds of dollars for something that a company paid someone a few bucks to make.
Therefore, I have banned Coach from my life. I’m not in charge of our country, I can’t change the laws or give businesses incentives to keep jobs here, but I can do my part in my own little corner of the world. I’m reading labels, and I’m not always reaching for the cheapest items anymore.
I am also on the lookout for a new purse, one made in America. I haven’t found one yet, because, well, they’re not all that easy to come by, so feel free to share your favorites!
Are you a domestic soil shopper? What locally made brands do you love?