Thursday, July 8, 2010

**Does the “Country of Origin” Label Matter to You?

We've got a ghost blog! We'd love to hear what you think on this topic, leave her a comment and discuss! -Nomz and Sazaran

I was on one of the popular auction sites – you probably know the one. I was looking for some components for a project I’m working on. Looking through the search results, I starting looking where the item would be shipping from. [I made the mistake once of placing a bid on something before I realized the item was in Great Britain and the shipping cost would be twice my bid! Luckily for me, the seller released my bid, but I digress…]

While I was finding items that I felt would fit my creative needs, I noticed that the items originated in countries that are either communist regimes or locations of civil conflict. My brain went into overdrive thinking of where my hard-earned cash would be going. I have no way to verify that the on-line companies were legitimate companies – although there were lots of sales behind each seller’s name.

Would my money go to a company where the business owner would actually benefit from the transaction or was it going to governments that I do not agree with their political system or human rights stance?

As a point of reference - I also make note of where the fruits and vegetables I want to buy are grown. While some of our neighbors to the south are abiding by growing regulations close to how we grow products, I do discern between North, Central, and South American products.

Am I over thinking this? At first, I thought I was being sentimental because of the Independence Day holiday. After giving it much thought, I know that wasn’t a factor – spending American money in a responsible manner is just good practice. No economic speeches here, no right-wing or left-wing rhetoric. I just know that I would not have been happy if I had made a purchase where my money might have supported political views that leave me quite unsettled… I felt like I would be initiating bad karma. [BTW > I ended up buying some components that were suitable equals from a mainland vendor.]

So, I would like to throw it out there to the readers of this blog-spot –> does it matter to you where the items you buy come from?



Anonymous said...

I really think that is just how America works. We have always had more imported products than American-made ones. Only thing that made me think twice was this last weekend when I was at a parade and they were handing out U.S. flags on the 4th of July and on every single one of them, "MADE IN CHINA" was stamped on the "pole" part of the flag. uhhhh what?!?! My friends and I decided every person working that day in China making flags was probably laughing their asses off because we can't even make our own flags.

Ashley! said...

To be honest, I won't use a country of origin as the main deciding factor when I choose a product; good quality & a fair price are my two main considerations :)

Reese said...

I think I tend to agree with ^Ashley. If the product is solid quality and tickles my fancy, I'm likely to buy it.

I do give you props for stopping in your tracks and thinking about it... but do you think the same in regular stores? Do you shop at Wal-Mart? (already that is against your thought process above), what about every article of clothing? (Victoria Secret imports a lot of their fabrics and uses overseas labor). Do you own a diamond? How do you know that's not a blood diamond?

If we worried about where everything came from, or who made it, we'd be driven crazy. Almost nothing is made in America (Though John Ratzenberger will show you we still make some cars, furniture and wood baseball bats).

I'd concentrate on getting a fair price for the product, no matter where it's made. Save the worrying for other things (like fruits and veggies, which can have an affect on your health!).

maliaana said...

Anon: believe it or not, but there are some very nice quality flags made in America. When Desert Storm took place, they couldn't keep any in stock and had to do round-the-clock production to meet demand. I only wish that was the norm...

Ashley & Reese: I agree to a point, but I do look at labels to see where the item was made. I do shop at WalMart, and Target, and Macys, and K-Mart. The majority of major name stores have products created by overseas labor - the unions just make a point out of WalMart - but again, I digress.

As for my diamonds (my birthstone), the majority of them are vintage diamonds... and I definitely would check where any diamonds in future purchases (I know, I'm dreamin') come from. The purchase I was making last weekend was actually unset gemstones and the ones I was considering were mined in Afghanistan and China. I found I couldn't, in good conscience, make those purchases.

Reese: as for Victoria Secret, I haven't been able to make a purchase in that store for a while, especially after seeing that they put returned merchandise back on the shelves...

I love the dialogue > KEEP It COMIN'

reese said...

I'm sure I read the same article you did, in terms of returned merchandise at VS. Target, Wal-Mart, Sears, JcPenney and more were ALSO in that article, and were also cited for putting "used" merchandise back on the shelves.

Considering you do shop at those stores.... this doesn't quite make sense.

Though, as I'm sure you've already seen, a follow-up article was written to test those stores again and see if they were still putting used merchandise back. VS did pass the second test.

I hope, too, that you wash your purchases before wearing... and that you check them before buying.

Either way, I'm ok with buying overseas merch. Unions make a point out of Wal-Mart because it's the largest retailer currently. Makes sense you'd hear more about it. I assume you buy American-made products for a number of reasons.... like a) supporting the US economy, b) ensuring your purchases aren't going toward rebel causes, c) you know how workers are treated, etc.

Do you travel? Outside of the U.S.? Visit any resorts outside the country.? Do you look up where you are staying? Visit amusement parks? Do you drive a Ford? Or American-Made vehicle? I ask because traveling outside the US wouldn't be supporting it, and many resorts are just facades to get you to stimulate another economy, where visitors are kept to one area while the other, more poorer areas don't really benefit from your visit. The car thing is interesting, since America doesn't even make much of it's own car parts... eh.

I'm not attacking, but just wondering if every decision you make is about locality. If so, definitely worth getting rid of some of that stress.

maliaana said...

Reese -
I do wash the clothes I buy before i wear them... and I don't shop VS because I don't fit into their products.

And, as for my Explorer, it was assembled in America with parts made in america, Mexico, and Germany. As for my Avalanche, I don't know because Chevrolet didn't disclose it on the sticker like Ford did.

I haven't travelled outside of the US in nearly 35 years... not even to Baja. And those that travel with me know that I do tons of research before a trip. But your arguments could also be used for many vacations spots in the US as well... how much do you think the workers in the National Park system are paid for their summer jobs?

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