1.1.09: Happy New Year. I celebrated by sleeping in, then spending the afternoon at Shelley’s where we watched old home movies with her family while I sat on the living room floor browsing through her dad’s record collection. He has it readily available because he’d like to get rid of it, as in sell it. It’s a great, great collection. Vintage LPs from everybody: The Stones, the Beatles, The Doors, The Who… After a good hour-plus of thumbing, I settled on six records I had to have: Morrison Hotel, The Soft Parade, Rumours, Tommy, Piano Man and Harvest. We looked them up on eBay to try to establish what these records had been selling for (and to establish some basis for valuation for some of the other records he’d be selling to other buyers) and arrived at $42 for those five. (Most of it was in the original “textured” pressing of Neil Young’s Harvest, complete with lyrics.)
The first purchase of 2009 was a good one: vintage records, paid in cash, and presumably all made in the USA. (But even if they weren’t, after this many years in country they should have earned their citizenship; they’re American now. I’ll have to use this logic in the future if I want to buy clothes, because I have a feeling almost none of them are made in the USA so I’ll need to shop vintage. That’s always tough for us big guys.)
In the evening, Shelley and I ventured out to run an errand. Hobby Lobby. I wasn’t buying, but for fun I checked lots and lots of labels. Shelley even got in on the fun too. The first five or so things were Made in China. Finally a simple wood piece was made in the USA. I decided that probably nine out of ten things in the building were from China.
I did look for some taper candles for my dining room table. In the candle section, there was a brand that was Made in the USA (how about MITUSA from now on?) but they didn’t have any tapers. And all the tapers were from far off lands. No worries; I’d keep looking.
Next stop: Target.
I had three things on my list, and thankfully they were bound to be American. The first, though, hit my cart before it even occurred to me to check the label. (This is gonna be a hard habit to get into.) It was coffee cream, though, and sure enough it was made about 90 minutes away.
The second item, hand soap, was also easy enough as I had two choices. One was $7.50 for four fancy bars, the other was $3.30 for two bars. I chose the latter option, and also appreciated the fancy natural packaging and the company’s pledge to donate money to the WWF (the one for animals, not the one for wrestlers).
Finally I picked up the shampoo I’d come for, and was briefly puzzled by the label: Made in the USA from US and/or imported materials. Hmm. Not sure what to think of that. Presumably it must be fine, because it’s just more information than most labels, and presumably some labels just say MITUSA even if they’re comprised of imported goods. That’s a pretty high standard to set, but presumably it’s legit: What good would it be to buy things made here if everything they’re made of was bought overseas? I’m sure there is plenty of good reason why that’s fine, and probably some reasons why it’s less than ideal, but I assume I’ll figure that out when the time is right.
What I didn’t find, which wasn’t on my list, were those American-made taper candles. Again, the only tapers in Target were Taiwanese. This does not bode well, neither for the candles nor for my year of purchasing.
Lastly, we looked at a game I’ve been eyeing: Seinfeld Scene-It. (I know, I’m a dork.) But it looks like a good time for a Saturday night. (I know; I’m old and boring.) It occurred to me over the holidays that I might like to possess that game and I should have bought it yesterday before I wasn’t buying un-American items. The game’s made in China according to Shelley, who broke the bad news.
The Seinfeld Scene-It scandal raises a good question: what do you do when there’s only “one” thing that fits the bill (a particular game or CD or book, etc) and that one thing is made in a far off land? You either, A) don’t buy it. B) have Shelley buy it for you as a gift (which is cheating); or C) find a used one online or at a flea market and buy it that way. But does that solve the problem? In some cases (like when buying vintage clothing of a certain age) I vote yes. But in many other instances, like this one, the unfortunate answer is no. My best hope to play Seinfeld Scene-It is to stumble upon a friend who has it already. Or just wait until next year, which is probably what’ll happen. Maybe in the meantime, though, I’ll decide I don’t actually need that game to have a fulfilling life. We’ll see.
Things I bought today: shampoo, handsoap, coffee cream and five vintage vinyl records. (Shelley bought dinner at Houlihans. I only ate it.)