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State Department meets department store

The past few months I've been trying, really trying, to buy products made in the U.S. I've even gone to several stores in search of American-made products, when I could have just bought a foreign-made item at my first stop (which raises a host of issues about gasoline consumption, but we'll save that for another post).

Sadly, more than a few times I've been unable to locate a U.S.-made item, even after visiting two or three stores. So I find myself playing international diplomat, making judgment calls about which nation's product I'm going to buy.

A few weeks back I wanted to get a rawhide chew-bone for my dog, and it came down to a fight between China and Brazil. China presented more flavor and size options, but I opted for Western Hemisphere solidarity and bought the Brazil bone. (side note: The dog isn't a big fan of the Brazil bone)

Then came the battle royale - a garden hose sprayer nozzle showdown between China and Taiwan (fortunately, there were no missiles aimed across the aisle at Menards). I spent a lot of time with each side - reading the Taiwan nozzle label, testing the hand grip of the China nozzle, going back to the Taiwan nozzle again, etc. - before deciding I liked the Chinese-made version best (sorry, Taiwan - I'll try to go with you next time!)

As I left the store with my purchases and reflected on my choices, I wondered - is this how Condoleezza Rice feels after high-level negotiations?


Buy vintage clothing. The tags say "Union Made" and "Made in the USA." And the clothing is beautiful and unique. In Duluth you can find vintage clothing at Vintage Duluth and ObsCuriosities or some of the antique stores.....

Us vs. Them isn't just for politicians anymore, it's for shoppers...

I like my Wranglers and second-hand items as much as the next guy when it comes to keeping pre-teens out of sweatshops but I think it is a wee bit pretentious to presume there is any advantage to buying a chew toy or a garden hose nozzle manufactured in the US.

If you haven't read it yet, I think you'd enjoy the book A Year Without 'Made In China'.

If you're needing a list of American and union-made, check out the UFCW's website:
Union Made Products

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