For the last few months, I have been writing this blog and my book, both whose purpose is to promote the purchase of American consumer goods made by members of our extended American family. I wanted to share a few of my ideas about buying American with you in the hopes that it will encourage you to join the Simply American clan!
- Start slow. When one decides to start running, one does not start with a marathon. Rather, one might decide to run a 5k. I suggest the same approach with buying American. Just decide that the next time you need to replace something, the product is going to be Made in America. Last week, I decided I needed to replace my old dress socks which were looking pretty shabby, so I went to Fred Meyer to see what they had. I purchased three pairs of Gold Toe dress socks Made in the U.S. for $17.00. Strangely, there were also Gold Toe dress socks made in Vietnam and they too cost $17.00 for three pair. Go figure.
- It is ok if some of the things you buy aren’t made in the U.S. I am a huge soccer fan and like wearing soccer shirts from my favorite European club teams like Spurs, Barcelona and Beyer Leverkusen. Adidas, Puma and Nike make those shirts and none of them are made in the U.S. So while I support Made in America, I have decided to not forgo wearing those shirts even though they are not made in the U.S.
- Know where to look for U.S. consumer products: As a first step, check out the Made in America websites on my blog roll. Once you find the U.S. brands of whatever you are looking for, you can probably order it from the manufacturer’s website, or you can order it from some of the Made in America websites themselves.
- Pay attention: As you can see from my Gold Toe sock example, firms will offer domestic made and foreign-made options in the goods they sell. So when looking for socks, tools, washer and dryers or whatever, pay attention to where it is made. There are American companies that only make their products in the states such as Wigwam Mills. However, I personally won’t forgo buying from a firm if they make some of their products overseas. I just want to make sure that if a firm offers a product made here by U.S. workers, that is the one I buy.
- Smaller is probably better than bigger for Made in America. My local hardware store, the Sand Point True Value, has tons of U.S. made tools, painting equipment, all of which are marked with small American flags. Now you can find U.S. products at Home Depot and Lowes, but you will need to buy a snow shovel first to dig through all the stuff made in China before you can find the U.S. products. So go back to your local hardware store or other local store, if they still exist. I am currently reading The Mom & Pop Store by Robert Spector. I recommend it highly.
- Help your retailers sell Made in America. I shop at my local Bartells. Bartells has a huge Libman display at the back of their store right next to a bunch of brooms, mops and toilet brushes made in China. Libman is a great American firm and the subject of one of my earlier posts. On my last visit to Bartells, I suggested to the manager that maybe they should emphasis the point that Libman is Made in America. He didn’t even know that Libman was made in the States. He does now. Another thing I do whenever I visit Macys or other big chain stores is to politely ask why they don’t have more American choices in apparel, shoes, etc. I am convinced that if more of us did this, we would see more American brands within a short time.
Well, these are a few of my ideas, but I would like to hear from you! What do you do, if anything, to buy American? Please leave a comment, I would really appreciate it. Also, I would ask you to become an email follower of my blog. That way, anytime I post you will get an email with the new post. Thanks and God bless.