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Made At Home Retailing

Updated on August 22, 2011

It’s something the big box retailers need to address

Retailers need to understand that selling a product for the lowest price is not going to work in the long run. And for that matter, so do consumers also need to understand this basic concept. If we continually buy cheaper, made in some distant foreign country products at the big box retailers, we will all need to pick up our stuff and move to those foreign countries to become employed and it won’t be gainfully employed for sure.

In order for big box operations to survive, they need a steady stream of customers to go through their doors, fill their carts and check out through the cash lines. If there are fewer and fewer fully employed people living in their trading area, the doors eventually close due to poor store performance that the head office determines by another formula. The head office is ultimately the one responsible for the long term decline in sales, since they insist on buying the cheaper foreign products. They might also consider reducing their hours of operation to reduce costs. We don’t need to buy stuff in the middle of the night. Most everything can wait until tomorrow.

I live in Canada where one of these retailers is known as Canadian Tire. It used to be that they sold a lot of products made in Canada. When they started to buy goods from cheaper foreign suppliers, they got the nickname “Crappy Tire” because the goods were substandard but the consumers still bought more. Today, they should consider changing the store name to Chinese Tire since that is where the bulk of the products seem to be produced. And it is no different in Wal-Mart and lots of other members of the big box retailing fraternity.

It is also getting more expensive to transport these “cheaper” products since energy costs just keep increasing so some of the financial advantages and starting to shrink. It won’t go on forever so a change is in order.

Where is the adventurous retailer that will open up a new chain of stores called “Made In America”, “Made in Canada”, “Made at Home”, … You get the picture, don’t you? We need to buy products that are produced locally so we employ more people locally so they spend money on the local economies and they all get healthier. Why do we insist on helping the economies of foreign countries when ours are suffering so badly?

It isn’t a simple problem with a simple solution. We do expect to get paid too much for employment at times. The North American automotive industry is a good place to view that in practice. So they decided to outsource supply of production and that only works for a while until the outsourcers start having trouble making ends meet. At least the outsourcers were sort of local depending on the relative value of currencies.

It looks like it is time to reintroduce the concept of tariffs for foreign produced products since we won’t find a way to do it ourselves. It would be a lot easier if we just bought stuff that was made locally and left the foreign stuff on the shelves. Big box buyers only purchase stuff that sells and makes them money.

So if you can find an option, buy the items that are made in your country and not the “cheaper” foreign ones. A paint brush is a good example of this. You can buy the cheap foreign one and find that it doesn’t really work as well as the higher priced, better quality, locally produced one. But more importantly, when you buy the domestic product you put more money back into your domestic economy and not into a foreign economy.

The increase in For Sale signs in your neighbourhood is a direct result of your increased visits to the Big Box foreign product outlets. You can’t afford to continue to buy those products in the long run since you or members of your family will not have a job that pays enough to buy them. It is that simple.


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