Three Little Words: Made Somewhere Else

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I found a bargain the other day.

I was so proud. It was a nice pantsuit. The original price was $79 but, of course, I didn't pay that.

It had been marked down twice and I was prepared to pay the markdown price of $20.

Then as I walked toward the checkout, a lady heading for the door handed me a 30 percent off coupon good for that shopping day only.

"Thanks," I said, pleased.

My final price was $14.71 including tax.

The saleslady gave me the nice hangers and wrapped plastic covering over the suit.

When I got home, I decided to try the outfit on once again to make sure it fit properly.

Then I noticed the tag inside the collar. Made in Vietnam.

Here we go again, I thought. Everything we Americans purchase seems to be made in a foreign country.

It's hard to find anything Made in America.

If you don't believe me, just take a look around your house. You'll find those decorative vases and statues weren't made in the USA, and that goes for a lot of furniture, housewares, cookware, footware, purses, shoes and lingerie. Also hand lotions, creams, soaps. And multitudes of other items.

My Mikasa crystal table clock was Made in Austria.

The same day I bought the pantsuit, I also bought a pair of Dr. Sholl's "Are you gellin'?" shoes. Those are the shoes with the gel-pac insoles.

As I read the enclosed description about the soft cushioning foam and shock absorbing features, I also read that the shoes were manufactured for Brown Shoe Company. Then the last three little words said, "Made in China."

Who would have thought that Dr. Scholl's shoes would be Made in China?

I started looking around my house and in my closet.

A brown leather suede vest was Made in India.

A Sag Harbor two-piece capris set was Made in Indonesia. So were several other Worthington blouses.

My favorite Gloria Vanderbilt jeans were Made in Egypt.

The pajamas I wore to bed last night were Made in Cambodia.

Some Vassarette lingerie was Made in China.

My JC Penney wash clothes were Made in Pakistan.

I don't know where my Dell computer was manufactured, but the Dell ink cartridges come from Mexico or the Phillippines.

My beautiful bird calendar was printed in Korea.

My land phones and answering machine were Made in China.

My porcelain on steel skillet was Made in Spain.

A red, white and blue beanie baby elephant sports a tag that reads "Handmade in China." The tag notes that others in the collection are made in Canada, Europe and Japan.

Eureka! A Stuart Hall TECH subject notebook displayed a tiny American flag on the back cardboard cover. Made in the USA was written so small that I almost overlooked it. Stuart Hall Inc. is located in Kansas City, Mo., USA.

My plastic pencil box was also Made in the USA in Madison, Wisc.

The other day I bought two small 4 x 6 inch American flags stapled to two round flag pole dowels. Cost was $1 for the two flags. They were Made in the USA.

My Avon body lotion is Made in the USA.

Dial soap for men was Made in the USA, also.

Energizer lithium batteries I recently purchased are Made in the U.S.A. in St. Louis, Mo.

My scented jar candle was made in Mayfield, Ky., USA.

My point in all this?

Just this: About 25 years ago I listened to a man rant when a factory in his hometown closed down. The manufacturers gave numerous reasons why the shutdown was necessary. Many locals lost their jobs when the company closed its doors. The ranting man was adamant that the real reason for the closing was that the plant would be moved overseas to take advantage of cheap labor.

That's exactly what happened and that business continues to operate from overseas locations today.

Numerous manufacturers have followed suit by outsourcing their products overseas.

Now here in America we are in an unemployment crisis. All around us we see able bodied men and women who cannot find work. They are filing bankruptcy and losing their homes all over America. And savings, pension funds and stocks have plummeted.

I can't pretend to know the reason why or what could stimulate a turnaround.

But it stands to reason that more jobs would be available if businesses created more jobs within our borders.

Or if Americans bought more Made in the USA products.

The first step is to read the labels.

It might be an eye-opener.