Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Made in U.S.A.

Good Evening:

I think one thing most Americans will agree on, is a deep belief in American Made Products.

Sure there are, or have been, some products we were not too fond of, or "Brand Loyal" as the Marketing Wonks are fond of saying, but for the most part this had been a matter of personal preference, but whatever brand product we ultimately purchased It (the product) was most always marked "Made in the USA" If a product was made in another country, it was viewed with suspicion.

I recall that before and immediately following World War Two, anything marked "Made in Japan" was considered junk, and more often than not lay gathering dust on store shelves, but using the same criteria, Watches for example, marked "Swiss Made" were considered the finest in the World, as were German Optics and Machine Tools.

Of Course, following the War, German products dropped out of favor for awhile, but soon began to reclaim their market share, due to their quality.

But now it seems, every Darned thing we buy, or contemplate buying, IS NOT made in the USA, but more and more often, the Product will have a made in china tag on it, or Mexico, or Venezuela, or SriLanka, or Vietnam, or Haiti, or you name it.

I'm pretty sure this mess has occasioned our "Disposable Society", for example, we used to buy a "Mr. Coffee" machine and really didn't think much about the usable life span of the device. When it gave up the ghost, usually after several years, we would reluctantly dispose of it, but keep the Carafe, as it was usable on the replacement coffeemaker purchased. But, it appears, that those days are gone forever. Now when we purchase a brand-new Coffeemaker, regardless of the name emblazoned thereupon, it is always made in China, AND it seems, that the new device seldom lasts more than a few months before it too, is ready for the scrap yard.
Also I have noticed, that with each new coffeemaker, the Carafe will not work with the old machine, so out it goes, one more item for the landfill.

But Coffeemakers are just the tip of the Iceberg. My wife and I recently purchased a new Dishwasher, Maytag by name, and were unpleasantly surprised to learn that Maytag, a name long known for, and associated with, American made quality, is now owned by Whirlpool Corporation, and was made in China. And I should hasten to add that said Dishwasher was not "Bargain-Priced", but cost around Five Hundred Smackers.

The old Dishwasher that was replaced was, in fact, really-really old. A proof of this was the "Made in U.S.A. label on it. I almost felt like having some sort of Liturgical Ceremony to mark its passing, sort of like, "So long old friend".

Maybe I'm making too much of the fact that it seems that with each passing day, less and less products are made in our Homeland, as is witnessed by the growing number of jobs that are being "Outsourced" (In other words, sent to China).

I for one am Old Fashioned enough to declare that I would rather pay more for an American Made product than cheaply buy a piece of foreign Made Junk.

And if you need further proof of the decline of our 'Business Leaders" total lack of good sense, just try calling customer service about a product, a bill, or what have you. I would wager that about nine-tenths of the time the phone on the other end will be answered by someone who sounds like Apoo, of The Simpsons fame, who will proceed to confuse you. I have gotten so tired of being put on hold, and having to listen to music from Bollywood, that now, when told to hold, I just lay the phone down for the rest of the day, or whenever I need it next. Let them experience some frustration. ( Incidently the same procedure works wonderfully when you get an annoying sales or survey call) Just lay the phone down and forget about it. You will periodically hear "hello, hello, hello " echoing from the phone. A happy sound indeed.

So, Sports Fans, Try and buy American, go ahead, I dare you . I think you will also find that "Nafta", "Cafta" and whatever other "Afta" is trumpeted by the Politicians just results in "Shafta" for we unlucky consumers.

Stay Well

The Old Professor.

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