Bradley and I have been waiting for a chance to travel to the nearest Red Wing Boot Store to buy him a new pair of work boots. His old boots are past worn out, but we were unwilling to just buy any old pair off the shelf. He wanted Red Wings. Not only because the quality of their boots surpass all others, but because they still make all their boots in America.
Or so we thought.
We knew that Red Wing carried American made boots, but didn't realize until we arrived at the store, that the majority of the boots they sell are now made in China. We walked to the wall of work boots and Bradley lifted one pair after another off the shelf checking the tongue of the boots.
Made in China.
Made in China.
Made in China.
We were looking for this......
The little tag printed into the shoe that says
"Made in USA".
"Where are the boots that are made in America?"
The salesman points to two pair of shoes displayed on the wall.
"That would be these two pair right here."
Out of about 20 boots displayed on the wall.....only two pair were still made in the USA. And this is from a company that boasts about its' American pride and brags that it still carries American made products.
We were suprised, but Bradley tried on 3 pair of shoes. Two that were crafted in the USA and one that wasn't. The price of the import was a little cheaper, but the quality and comfort of the shoe was unmistakingly better on the American made shoe. We proudly bought the pair made in America, knowing that it would last much longer than the imported shoe and would provide more comfort in the meantime.
When we got back into the car, Bradley and I discussed how this has happened to our country. How we have become so dependant on imported goods?
It's no mystery why the imported goods sell faster. It's all about the almighty dollar. Whatever is cheaper .....sells. And it seems that we have become so numb and indifferent to it, that we don't even notice anymore. We no longer even bother checking the labels. And as a country, we are cheaply buying our way out of jobs.
Bradley and I just returned from a little weekend trip, and we passed several manufacturing companies that were deserted. Huge manufactuing facilites that are now standing empty. Textile mills, furniture manufacturers, and others no longer in production. Leaving small communities struggling financially in their wake. Only a few years ago....these facilities were churning out American made products.
And it's not just the boots. It's everything. Our toys, appliances, shoes, kitchen goods, clothes.....it's all moving out of America. Just a couple of years ago, I always bought New Balance running shoes, because they were the last company left that made running shoes made the USA.
This is the tag from my new shoes that were bought a couple of weeks ago......
I never found any running shoes made in America.
Do you remember a couple of years ago when Silly Bandz were all the rage?
Every kid was longing for this new little stretchy bracelet that was shaped like an animal. If a kid got a pack, then he was suddenly the coolest kid in the class. He had 12 little bands that he could trade, give away or keep. Every kid wanted them.....including my boys.
I remember that they became instantly popular at around the same time the boys got their report cards. I remember telling them that as a little treat for having such great report cards, that we would drive to the nearest town and I would buy each of them a pack of these animal bracelets.
I drove to the first store and they had sold out earlier in the week. This store led me to another store.
I drove there.....sold out.
I went to a pharmacy that I had remembered advertising on the radio that they had Silly Bandz in stock. We drove to the store with the boys getting more and more anxious.
We were told at each store that everyone is wanting the Silly Bandz and they can't keep them in stock.
We started driving around everywhere. Going into store after store that had this sign in their store window......
Each store was the same story......
Every kid in the county had to have them.
And every Mom in the county was buying the stores out as fast as they could get them in stock.
Everyone wanted the Silly Bandz.
I started wondering.....
Why does the same thing not happen today with American made products? When millions of people are out of jobs and almost every single product on the shelves today are made in China or some other foreign country....
Why are we not storming into the stores clearing the shelves of only the products that are made in the USA?
Why aren't we insisting that stores hang signs in their windows like this.....
For some products.....it may already be too late.
But for some of them....we still have a choice.
And if there is still a choice......let's buy the American made one!
We need a rush on stores country wide.....like the one over those crazy bracelets.....
except that we need to be walking into the stores, not asking if they have Silly Bandz in stock, but American made products.
We need to walk in with a purpose....like I did when I wanted to buy the Silly Bandz. We need to go into the store and ask....
"Do you have american made products in stock?"
Taking that quick shopping trip today to buy a pair of American made boots seems to have awakened me to this problem has has been developing for years and years. I was sound asleep to it.
I know that I can't make a huge change in the world.....I probably can't even make a teensy one. But maybe.....just maybe....someone who is reading this will at least check the label the next time there is a choice between American made and imported products. Or will at least start to ask for American made products in stores. And if we each do it and we tell someone else...by resharing this blog or just by mentioning it to a friend.....then perhaps we could even save a job or two.
And each time someone does that....and chooses the one made in the USA....we are sending the producers a message. A message that tells them that it is still important for us...as Americans... to support our country.
You never know what difference you could make.
Someone.....somewhere... had to be the first person to start the Silly Bandz rage, and it caught on like wildfire.
Perhaps something worthwhile could catch on, too.
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