General chatter - Do You Try To "Buy American" When You Can?




babenwaiting
06-04-2011, 01:52 PM
Obviously, this is a question for my fellow American buddies on here. I do make a conscious effort to do that, and my card group the other night was discussing that most do the same, and many even try not to buy products from China unless that's the only way they can get an item they really need. We feel that the country really needs to start making it's own "stuff" again, to create jobs, and have better quality control (And I know this isn't a simple matter ... just wondered what you do?)


happy2bme
06-04-2011, 02:12 PM
I certainly do too. The low prices often come with strings attached - generally much poorer quality. And I have become more concerned about tainted goods.

I have found that one of my favorite clothing stores produces most of their clothes off shore. They still charge crazy big prices for the latest stuff - I only buy there on sale or with coupons. But I have noticed over the years the quality of their stuff is going down hill. Seams ravel or come apart after a few wearings and t-shirts are literally paper thin. They have some pretty screen prints but they are so poorly made that you get white edges around the seams where the dye missed. They tout that as making each shirt "unique" when in fact it looks sloppy and poorly made.

I also buy local produce, meat and dairy as much as possible.

They say one person can't make a difference, but I say it can't hurt to try!

sacha
06-04-2011, 03:15 PM
No, because I'm not American!

However, I totally agree with you that buying local is important - and shouldn't stop at just the manufacturer, but I firmly believe in supporting local mom and pop shops/farmers markets.


geoblewis
06-04-2011, 03:21 PM
I used to live overseas (Indonesia, Kuwait and Kazakhstan). There were many times when my local neighbors asked me to bring American products to them when I was traveling back and forth. American products are known for their quality.

I generally buy American when I can. Still, I'm getting to an age where I don't need to buy much more than groceries and gas. I too like to keep my produce as local as possible. I buy most of my veggies and eggs from a local CSA and I buy dairy and grass-fed beef and lamb from local people.

I wish I could buy more plus size clothing made in America. Igigi is an American-made clothing line, but I'm not sure who else is. I'm a custom clothier and have a hard time finding American fabrics too.

You might be interested in http://www.americansworking.com/. They list companies that make products in the USA.

kaplods
06-04-2011, 05:38 PM
I'm not on an income that allows me to be fussy. I have dental work that needs to be done, and no way to pay for it anytime in the near future, so I have to deal with the pain until we can save enough for a dental visit.

I buy the best value I can afford, which usually means "as cheap as possible." If I had more income, I'd be more selective.

That being said, local often is the best value. For example, during the months that it's running (late May through early November), I buy almost all of my produce at the farmers markets. The prices are generally close to grocery store prices, but the value is many times greater, because the produce tastes better, loses fewer nutrients, and lasts longer because it's fresher.

In the winter, I shop my local asian groceries, which still has some locally grown produce that can be grown throughout the winter (bean sprouts, cilantro and other herbs, green onions, mushrooms...).

We also buy used whenever possible. I'm happy that it saves landfill space, but budget is my first concern.

I would like to make more environmentally and socially conscious choices, but that's not feasible on my budget, so I do the best I can.

bargoo
06-04-2011, 07:35 PM
I try to avoid buying products made in China. I am concerned about dyes, paints, etc that may contain lead. It is hard to find women's clothing made on the USA.

Lovely
06-04-2011, 09:34 PM
I buy local produce as often as is possible. With these summer months it's certainly very easy right now.

A lot of other products it's very difficult to find a 100% made in America item. Good luck trying to find electronics without at least one component manufactured in Asia somewhere.

I do try to buy items mostly made on Earth, though. ;)

nelie
06-05-2011, 10:42 AM
I try my best to support small businesses. I check etsy.com for gifts and I am always on the lookout for small businesses to support.

Expunge
06-05-2011, 01:29 PM
I don't mind buying products made outside the USA - as long as it's for a good reason (i.e. very high quality brand). There are plenty of Asian manufacturers of high quality computer components, for example Gigabyte Technologies. There are a lot of European companies making the best quality horse-related goods (Passier, Kieffer, Hermes, Schleese, Koenig, etc).

The overseas slave labor sweatshop manufacturers are what disgust me.

indiblue
06-05-2011, 01:43 PM
I'm an international economics nerd who loves The Economist hardcore so I love this question!

Globalization, INCLUDING increased product influx from abroad, benefits everyone. It increases supply in the market and lowers prices. Buying non-American items sends market signals to American-made products to lower prices. If they can't compete they shut down and and the economy continues to move away from manufacturing/production towards services. This is good thing- moving away from lower-paying jobs towards higher paying jobs- as long as there are appropriate retraining and skills development programs that can help move factory and other production workers into more skilled, higher paying jobs.

Some government schemes to buy American, such as the Fly America Act, which requires government-sponsored programs to always fly on an American carrier, are great politically and terrible economically. American carriers are notoriously more expensive than international airlines, and taxpayers end up footing the bill for millions of dollars a year more in travel because the organization/company/government agency is required to go with an American carrier, regardless of cost. It is de facto a subsidy to American carriers, keeping prices artificially high, and costing Americans even more in prices. Ridiculous.

Sweatshops overseas sound awful, but I used to work in microfinance in Cambodia and getting a job in a factory like that is a step UP from selling potato chips on the side of the road. They are stable jobs with steady income. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of labor laws in third world countries that need to be implemented (and protections for organized labor and unions) but there are a LOT of people out there for whom companies opening a sweatshop in their village would mean the difference between sending their kid to school and having them work on a farm.

Rambling answer that didn't really answer your question. Bottom line is globalization and influx of foreign goods in any country drives competition, lowers prices, promotes productivity/innovation, and moves economies away from manufacturing towards service industries, which increases wages.

So I don't buy American to be patriotic, I buy the best quality item for the lowest price. And I support removing trade barriers because I think that is the MOST patriotic thing you can do for your country in the long run :D

VegDay
06-05-2011, 03:58 PM
I do. It can be hard especially with clothing. I refuse to buy dishes etc made in China. When the movers stole at least one box from me after I sold my house, I was without many dishes. It took some time, but I finally scored some great dishes in a thrift store. I also try to thrift shop as much as possible. I try to buy as little as possible new.

There are websites that list companies with made in U.S. products.

pam920
06-05-2011, 11:42 PM
I grew up when everything was made here in the USA. It was made to last. It was quality. I have my moms GE iron and it still works as perfectly as it did the day she bought it, which is probably 60 yrs ago. I bought one of the fancy irons that shut off by themselves if not in use for so many minutes. It used to shut off while I was ironing. It quit working completely in less than a year. JUNK, and imported from overseas.

It may be cheaper to buy at the moment, but when it doesn't last and you have to keep buying it over and over, is it really a bargain? I don't think it is.

I wish we could start making things here again. I definitely buy American when I can find it. If I pay a little more, so be it. I know it's going to last.

theox
06-06-2011, 11:23 PM
I buy the best value I can afford, which usually means "as cheap as possible." If I had more income, I'd be more selective.

This. Although making a conscious choice to buy US-manufactured products when they're available and they meet my needs (there are some specialty items I use that are only produced by foreign manufacturers) has saved me money because I often end up not buying anything unless I really, truly need it.

kaplods
06-06-2011, 11:41 PM
I LOVE thriftstores and garage sales. I almost never buy anything new that I have even a decent chance of finding used. If it takes me a year to find it, that's fine with me.

Hubby's more of a "want it now, buy it now" and "don't buy it until you need it" kind of guy.

My philosophy tends to be look for it (or at least keep my eyes open) before we need it, so we can get the best price.

I don't wait for things to break/wear out before I start looking for the replacement. That way I can almost always find what I want cheap.

When you thrift store shop you almost never find what you need WHEN you need it, but if you can be patient, you can get almost anything. And there are some things that are so prevalent in thrift stores it almost never makes sense to buy them new.

CrystalZ10
06-07-2011, 02:26 AM
I buy what I can afford and what is avalible. Don't care where it comes from so long as I can afford it.