Made In The U.S.A.

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

So you wanna buy a diamond.

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2009 at 12:31 am

So you wanna buy a diamond. Be prepared. It’s not easy.

It hits you somewhere around a month or two into your year-long buying-American adventure: damn. I want to buy a diamond.

Diamonds aren’t really MITUSA. Let’s just get that right out in the open. Technically some come from Arkansas, but we’re talking the occasional random diamond Read the rest of this entry »

Lesotho

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2009 at 12:31 am

Hey, I was right. I thought Lesotho might be in South Africa, and it is. Sort of.

Lesotho is a landlocked country, a kingdom in fact, surrounded entirely by South Africa. And apparently they make shirts you can buy at the Mills Mall in suburban St. Louis at the Old Navy outlet store.

Read more about Lesotho if you’re so inclined.

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Funny search term that someone used to find my site #2.

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2009 at 12:26 am

“Where can I buy American grown prosciutto?”

There’s a little bit wrong with that, but so much that’s very, very right.

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Olives make me poop.

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2009 at 12:22 am

WordPress, the company that runs this blog, shows a daily breakdown of how many pages are viewed on your site, as well as what sites direct people to you, what people search to find you, etc.

It’s been interesting for me to see when my pageviews spike, and to see the search terms that got them there. Read the rest of this entry »

This blog post is brought to you by vodka.

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2009 at 11:21 pm

If you have a few vodka tonics at Mangia Italiania with good friends you haven’t seen in a long time, you might forget to ask which kind is Made In The USA. So you get Absolut, which everybody knows is made in Sweden. So when you get home you might search the interwebs to find an American-made option and discover that, aside from Popov and some other less-than-tasty-sounding vodkas, Smirnoff is your best bet for MITUSA vodka. Also, depending on how much vodka you have, you might write strange third-personish blog posts.

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There are no more luxuries.

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2009 at 6:20 am

1.14.09: I mentioned the locally roasted Kona coffee to friend/coworker Leah and she asked about cost. I don’t know the cost, but any time the coupon is for $5 off you know it’s not going to be cheap. Then she said this:

“That’s the problem, right? You can’t buy American unless you’re rich.”

I started to tell her no, but then we were interrupted and didn’t get to finish. How would I have continued that sentence?

I’ve only been doing this for a couple of weeks, but I don’t think you have to be rich to buy American-made goods. Maybe when it comes to some things (suits, perhaps, or boutique audio and video equipment or furniture…) but for the most part, it’s just another alternative to imported goods.

I think the difference is that things that non-rich people used to afford, and then take care of and make last and whatnot, are now available in way less expensive versions from China. So now people who couldn’t necessarily buy them before can buy them now, so they no longer seem like luxuries or privileges.

I think it’s the same idea Michael Pollen says about steak. Fifty years ago Americans ate steak for special occasions; now the process and the product has been commoditized and we can choose from a dozen different discount strip mall steaks for dinner every night of the week and never eat the same steak twice. Suddenly a luxury became the standard; we’re all entitled to as much affordable steak as we’d like. Sounds great, except now we’re all fat and dying and unused to the idea of wanting anything.

When certain “durable” goods get so inexpensive, it’s easy for people to fritter away their money by buying and rebuying stuff that they don’t really need or want that much. At least, that’s my take so far.

I don’t necessarily think that regular consumption of American stuff requires wealth, but certainly some MITUSA options are limited and the manufacturers have found a boutique or high end niche for their brand (Joseph Abboud suits, Allan Edmonds shoes, etc). The nice part is these presumably better made, higher quality goods should last longer and essentially become a better long term value. Or even if they don’t last longer inherently, perhaps we’re more likely to take better care of goods we have to stretch to afford.

I also understand that if you’re struggling you’re more likely to look for a better deal on everything you buy. And you should. And I don’t begrudge anyone that option. But as someone who isn’t struggling that much (at the moment; knock wood; fingers crossed), it kind of seems like my obligation to be a smarter consumer and work a bit harder at it.

Wal Mart is a great place for people who need to stretch every dollar, but there are other “costs” associated with shopping there. I’m sure I’ll get into them at some point when I finally venture into that great blue building filled with American dreams. But until then, all I know is I feel slightly sick and angry when I see Audis and Beemers and Lexi parked in the Wal Mart lot. It’s offensive on so many levels.

Then again, maybe that’s how they can afford their fancy imports: by buying discounted stuff whenever they can. I guess they’re being deliberate consumers as well. Maybe just not in the same way I do it.

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MITUSA: Made In The USA or Patented Sex Technique?

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2009 at 9:58 pm

I just learned (thanks, SF Guardian!) that the abbreviation I’ve been using for “Made in the USA” is also the name of a proprietary oral sex technique. Not kidding.

Maybe it’ll catch on and I’ll get more MITUSA hits.

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A rambling rant about capitalism

In Uncategorized on January 22, 2009 at 10:25 am

1.6.09: Maybe it’s just because I know, in my heart of hearts, that truly and honestly big American corporations would kill me if they could make a buck and get away with it. Tobacco companies do it and that’s fine. I’m really not complaining. Lots of other companies do it in lots of subtler but probably even more evil ways. Let’s just not pretend Read the rest of this entry »

Am I Un-American?

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Okay, fine. I’m un-American. I don’t mean to be. I’m certainly not advocating buying American because I want other peoples/countries/races to fail. I’ve just been taught for years that buying American creates American jobs and that’s good for Americans and since I’m a good American that’s good for me. Is that no longer true? Was it ever? Did I totally miss the boat here? Read the rest of this entry »

Sonofa…

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Sonofa…

“Buy American” is UN-American
By Harry Binswanger, Ph.D.
Published online at the Ayn Rand Institute and excerpted below.

According to a recent poll, 80% of Americans Read the rest of this entry »

Meaningless Patriotism?

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2009 at 10:36 am

1.6.09: Everywhere I look I see China.

On the radio today was a discussion of the country. In the lobby Newsweek was a story about economic slowdown hitting the region, and how all of their booming growth is now subsiding. It made me feel like maybe I should buy Chinese stuff to help ‘em out. You can read it here.

Then I picked up Read the rest of this entry »

Hello world!

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2009 at 2:31 am

Since that’s the traditional WordPress greeting, who am I to delete it?

Everybody else has joined Facebook. I got a blog instead.

I’ve been keeping notes on my new consumer adventure for a couple of weeks now. I’ll start uploading them shortly until I get in sync, eventually publishing my notes the moment they’re written.