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Made in America: Buy or Not to Buy?

Updated on July 30, 2017
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Why is it so much more expensive to get American products and parts versus importing from other countries?

Ask about your products, become more involved.

Are you ok with supporting sweatshop labor?

Are you ok with knowing your cheaper product made somewhere else could be causing suffering to another family?

Are we killing our jobs, economy, and business?

Importing from Another Country or Buying the Material In American?

Over my lifetime, I have continually heard my family and friends complain "everything is made in China." In many ways, until I started working and understood just how some businesses work, I had no clue about how imports could undercut prices in this country. Most everyone usually has a problem with this concept; China manufacturers in massive numbers whereas, America produces only smaller and more accurate parts and products. Furthermore, the mass production allows for decreased prices.

Think of every single product you have purchased in the last few months, look at the back or wherever the label is and find the origin. Chances are, your parts and products have not been manufactured in the same country. Instead, a variety of supplies will be imported from different locations then shipped into a plant to finish production. For example, the new administration put forth "buy American, hire American" to help existing businesses and start up businesses produce and distribute these within their local and even national community.

Many times, even products and parts claiming to be made in America have been found to be nothing but a fraud, they purchase the steel, ingredients, etc. in America but then, ship these things to another country to be put together or made and then sent back to this country. For example, I use to work for Highland Industries, Inc in Kernersville, NC a few years back, they manufactured the raw rubber for Nascar, GM, Ford, Nissan and so on as well as the seat belt division located in another state.

I drove a forklift and kept an inventory duel role. We made the rubber at the plant, hired a trucking company to come from Laredo, Texas to drive all the way to NC to pick up a load and then drive back and enter Mexico to get the rubber put on the tires as well as the seat belt material was cut and sewn. This material was then shipped back to the states to be sold to the auto industry/parts to them or to the customers.

Exploring the Concept of Buy American

Are there struggles associated with "BUY AMERICAN"?
Are there struggles associated with "BUY AMERICAN"?

Digging a Little Deeper

Now, we must consider what brings up the current "buy American" has lost its value since NAFTA took effect; manufacturing virtually went away during this unfair exchange of labor and allowing basically slave labor/sweatshops to cut jobs primarily hurting everyone in the process. Why does it hurt cheaper labor/sweatshops? Consider the situation. While we may receive lower prices overall and the business usually makes a significant profit, the ones doing the work are not getting a fair wage and often are put in adverse working conditions and extremely long working hours.

So, it must be better actually to buy American right? The answer may surprise you. Currently, my wife and I own a small business making whole body products such as soaps, shampoos, laundry detergent, etc.mostly, our products are mostly made in America.

What does that necessarily equate to? Here's the answer, we purchase our bases, the blocks of material that we cut off smaller portions, weigh them, melt it and put it into a pour spout cup, mix up the fragrances and put them into 8, 16, 32 oz bottles of shampoo, deodorant bottles or soap molds. We can purchase the bases from other American owned companies cheaper here, the fragrances here, most shipping supplies but believe it or not, Ali Express in China can produce better and more inexpensive bottles, lids and some other products because, in America, these items are generally one to two dollars more expensive.

These companies once they are called and asked where they are getting their bulk supplies usually tell you they get them overseas and usually end the conversation. In most of my phone calls initially, when the company started up, most of these wholesalers told me they got them from Ali Express. This usually ends up cutting out the "middle man" as it were and if you are a business, you can contact this company and purchase directly and save a lot of money.

How Many People Say Support Local Businesses?

The mantra of buy local is something many state, but how many actually stand by this declaration?
The mantra of buy local is something many state, but how many actually stand by this declaration?

Do People Practice What They Preach?

Often we now hear about buying local, I have found out that many of these same people that make a claim, will not buy local but will rather go online and purchase from Amazon or some major retailer for a lower price and even pay more for shipping than driving to the brick and mortar store. As a small business owner, I can fully understand the need to save money and do other things with it, but at the same time, our country cannot continue to keep on with the mentality that our products are worth a lot more than they are. American's can and should make our parts and products again to bring down prices, the only reason things cost more money for our country and businesses is that companies pay out larger portions of labor fees to their employees.

The mentality that we all must have a 15 dollar and an hour wage will drive prices through the roof and put these same people demanding the pay out of work or cut down considerably. We must, as a country, require our manufacturing start producing and take back the products that are currently being made in China but people demand low prices on every product regardless of what the part or product is. This mentality coupled with the "entitled" generation will cause great problems in these areas, children growing up think they have the right to an education, excellent wages for minimum skills and countless other things. They are being told that we shouldn't be making our products and mock most people doing things for themselves such as the business that my wife and I produce in our spare time.

I cannot stand the fact that I must purchase from China on my product bottles, deodorant, and even chapstick tubes to save money and hopefully start employing people. If another company in America would produce the same products at the same price or barely a little more expensive, I would switch. Still, to continue having a competitive edge, something has to give.

Maybe I have given others something to think about but just remember, before NAFTA was put in place, we produced most of our furniture but sadly has dwindled to almost nothing now. My mother worked at the Basset Furniture in Mt. Airy, NC for nearly 20 years putting in runners in drawers before things started going away. To continue surviving in our country again, we must all demand and purchase actually companies that are mostly/are made in America to bring back our economy and support ourselves/friends.

This may sound a little political, but it’s the truth, you cannot demand to buy local when you don't actually buy local, to begin with, and demand the company lose money to sell it to you cheaper. My advice, find America owned companies, ask them if they make their products here, and should they confirm this, remember just because it's more reasonable from somewhere else does not mean it is made well. Quantity and quality are two different spheres. Some products such as the Apple iPhone and others are manufactured in another country produced by sweatshop workers that live in dangerous working conditions and terrible wages.It's time to start thinking more about the product and what it supports than that lower price, did you know that

Food for Thought

Is it Legal to Test Products on Animals in America?

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These are the companies that still test products on animals

Appreciate the Importance of Cruelty Free

Another important aspect to consider when delving into the shopping and purchasing products involves the meaning of "Cruelty-Free." For many years, America prohibited the practices of animal testing. In fact, many believe this to be a standard in American production and manufacturing still. What few realize is the time limit placed on animal experiments has expired. Now, many companies, especially within the makeup industry, have once again returned to this horrible practice. For example:

  • Avon. Benefit.Clinique. CoverGirl.Estée Lauder. L'Oréal. Makeup Forever, and Maybelline.

Do all test their products on animals? Please look up these companies and do more than getting angry about it or if you don't know, then you need to, buying these products don't help Americans and kill, and injured animals every year.

The challenge is recognizing how we all either can support and begin to make personal changes to impact the direction of the safety of our products. It also reminds us to identify the need to accept responsibility by how our decisions may affect not only others but also animals as well. Move forward with purpose!

Learn to Ask Questions

Call companies and ask where they get their ingredients/parts from

Ask do they make the product/food whatever in America

Look around locally and inspect whatever you purchase for origins

Questions are not bad! They hep to educate!

Just a Quick Question

How Often do you Consider the Overall Origins and Testing of the Products You Buy?

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