Today, I took inventory of my possessions and I was quite surprised with the results.
My biggest and most recent purchases came from overseas – two Nikon cameras, a Mitsubishi big screen television, my desktop and laptop computers, my car, my DVD player and my stereo equipment.
Personally, I do not believe in Protectionism, nor do I believe we should buy everything that is made in America at the exclusion of everything foreign made.
At times I believe we Americans in general, feel we are powerless. Many Americans are either out of work or underemployed. People are looking for ways to cut monthly expenses so we shop sales or change our shopping habits by visiting discount retailers or “dollar” stores to save.
Companies based here in the U. S. are moving their manufacturing jobs overseas to reduce costs in an effort to increase profits and shareholder value. Many of these companies are not concerned with the results of their actions. Their “bottom line” is their only concern.
Wal-Mart continues to demand that suppliers reduce their prices, which results in many suppliers relocating overseas to reduce production costs. In 1995, roughly 6% of Wal-Mart’s merchandise was foreign made and in 2005 roughly 60% of its goods come from overseas. Where that number is now is anyone’s guess but you can be sure it is well above 60% and it will continue to tick higher.
In 2007, it was estimated that Wal-Mart’s Chinese imports alone have displaced roughly 200,000 U. S. workers. True, Wal-Mart continues to expand and continues to hire but the manufacturing jobs lost were higher paying jobs.
I occasionally shop at Wal-Mart and I enjoy getting things at competitive prices but I do not consciously do so to increase unemployment here in America. I also shop at big box stores as well major retailers like Dillard’s, Macy’s, Sears and Penney’s. While in Wal-Mart I usually look for American made or assembled goods but unfortunately those are the exception instead of the rule.
Have you lived near a manufacturing facility that has gone out of business because the jobs were relocated overseas? Do you have relatives or friends who are now unemployed or underemployed because their company relocated their manufacturing overseas?
A lot of American companies have moved their telemarketing and customer service jobs to India, Ireland, the Philippines and other countries. Other than saying “Oh, that’s a shame!”, did you consider doing anything about it? Worse yet, did you talk yourself out of doing something because you thought you could not make a difference?
We do smaller things all the time that make a difference but at times we collectively think we cannot effect change on a grand level.
We are all computer literate. Most of us shop for goods on the Internet in an effort to get the best price. I am not obsessed with getting the absolutely lowest price on everything but I sure like getting the most bang for my buck. I shop sales, but I also am interested in our economy as well.
Lao Tzu said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” So, how does that apply to helping our economy? Let’s see!
Purchases fall into two major categories – durables and non-durables. A car is durable while gasoline is non-durable. Cosmetics are also non-durable while big-ticket items like televisions, computers, and lawn mowers fall into the durables category.
Durable products are intended to last longer so they are purchased less frequently. Non-durables do not last as long but you purchase them frequently. Both categories affect our economy and our overall employment rate.
Give a little more thought to your next durable purchase. For example, if you are shopping for a lawn mower the majority of them are made overseas, but some companies, such as Snapper make their products exclusively in the United States. Some companies have manufacturing facilities in the U. S. as well as overseas. Give thought to buying a product that is made here.
Snapper decided to stop selling their mowers at Wal-Mart because it did not fit in their overall corporate strategy. They made VERY durable lawn mowers that demand a respectable price. To continue selling at Wal-Mart, they would have had to compromise quality to sell for a lower price and Snapper decided against that strategy.
I currently am not in the market for a lawn mower but if and when I am I will surely look at Snapper products because any company that will not cower to Wal-Mart is deserving of my business.
Many non-durable items are made in the U.S. but I have friends who visit dollar stores all the time to purchase things like toothpaste, deodorant, trash bags, and the like because they can save a nickel or a dime. I, myself, do not trust the quality of foreign made non-durables so I have no problem paying a few cents more for each item if it is made in the U. S. of A.
I went out of my way to buy American made clothespins because I read an extensive article about foreign manufacturers flooding the market with cheap clothespins to corner the market on that industry.
After buying a product that is American made, go to that company’s website and send them a note telling them you are pleased that they are in business and you will continue purchasing their products because they make a quality product and they make it here.
Let your friends know what you purchased and of your desire to buy American made products. That could start a trend of your neighbors, friends, and relatives to make that first step.
I would like to coin this phrase. “The journey to rebuild America’s manufacturing, customer service, and high technology sectors begins with one purchase at a time.” Kevin Cavanaugh, 2010
Do you care enough to “Buy American” – I do!