Buying American

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Several times a year, I get on a “buy American” tear — or at least I want to do it but I find it very difficult to accomplish such things. While I can go into any of the major retailers and buy foreign made goods… Finding ones stamped with “Made in the USA” seems to be a difficult task.

For example, I’m currently looking for shoes to replace my “No Sweat” Chuck-Taylor-esque sneakers. Knowing the chips are down here in America with the economy — and knowing Nike, Reebok and the other major brands make their shoes in Asia — I’m scanning around for American made sneakers.

And what I’m finding is making me more frustrated than I already am.

Do a search on “American Made Sneakers” on Google and what is the first site that comes up? An old article highlighting the lack of such things as American sneakers.

You come across sites like AllUSAClothing and of course, some of the styles aren’t that great, but they are out there for you, and the interface is a sight better than BuyAmerican.com or other online companies taking the “Buy American” banner and running with it.

Most of the sites trying to rally Americans to buy products manufactured here at home are out of date, or so bare-bones it’s a turnoff. US Stuff is a great example. Maybe I’m so used to blogging and seeing dates over posted items to get a sense of continuity… Or the Internet standard of newest-posts-first, oldest-posts-last. US Stuff just jams it all in there and you’re lucky if any of the information is less than five years old. You don’t know how often things are updated – or if they are updated at all. And yet this is the most comprehensive list of shoemakers in the United States. It’s troubling to try to decipher everything as some of the latter information contradict the earlier info.

After some searching that US Stuff page, I did find New Balance’s “Made in America” store… But I was looking for simple and stylish sneakers — not running shoes and top-o-the-line sneakers.

How about televisions? My Sharp 26″ television doesn’t have a remote and the sound/channel control buttons no longer work right. I could use a new TV. Of course, none of the big name electronics manufacturers build in America. Most of the major electronics manufacturers of current never did… So what can I find on the subject? For starters, a 2002 article on the very fact TV’s aren’t built in America (or are hard to find). US Stuff cites several of the major players assembling their TV’s in the US (but then again, how can you trust data when you don’t know how current it is and can’t tell if the site has been updated in a while?).

But Leanblog.org — Yay! A blog post of a rather young age! — points out as of August of this year that Olevia builds their TV’s in California. Much like Dell Computers, Olevia has their parts shipped in from other places around the globe, but the sets are put together and shipped out from within the US.

Trying to find products from US Manufacturers shouldn’t be this tough, or this confusing. I don’t expect special sections of Wal-Mart or Target to be for American made goods or something like that… I just don’t expect everyone to only have the option of buying general goods stamped with “Made in China” on it, or all shirts and textiles being products of third world countries.

Consider re-investing your cash in American made products this holiday season… Well, if you can find an outlet to do as such. I welcome comments from people who want to suggest places to purchase US made textiles and durable goods, electronics and such. Also, I’d be happy to hear of name brands that are made-in-the-USA.

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