|Wry Print by the Doom Girls. Buy Here at Etsy!|
As I stood at the end of my destination, an aisle packed with mountainous piles of sweaters, I began to notice something. At first it was Calvin Klein. I picked up a stunning slate blue pullover. I shook it out to check for size and refolded it. It was then, upon looking at the care label, that I saw it: Made in China, Soon I was bee-hiving up and down the aisle, pulling out tucked tags from the sweaters of Ralph Lauren to LaCoste. Every single one was made in China, Pakistan or Thailand. My slashed price sweater was coming to me courtesy of overseas, 40 cent per hour sweat shop labor.
In the midst of trying economic times, discounts do rule, but if you can afford to pay the extra few dollars to purchase a well made American item, shouldn't you? Moody's Analytics recently reported that if consumers just spent an extra 1% on U.S. goods, it would create 200,000 jobs.
|Button by the Carbon Crusader. |
Buy Here at Etsy!
Can we actually curb a mentality that says the lowest priced product is always the one to purchase? That the more food---literal and figurative --you pile on my plate for fewer dollars, the more I should smash my face in and gorge?
An escalating appetite for all things deeply discounted and lots and lots of it is problematic, be it for all you can eat waffles, bacon strips and free refills on the juice, or buy one, get one free dress shoes. For what does it portend for small American businesses, which typically produce over 60% of our nation's new jobs? Danger is all. A mom and pop diner will never be able to sustain "all you can eat," a shoemaker in California will not be able to offer monthly two for one freebies, and those companies large enough to do so will continue to flee our shores for cheap labor.
As a writer, artisan and business owner of more than a decade and a consumer of considerably greater time, something is becoming increasingly clear to me. Our citizens seem willing to give up everything for the lure of products nearly free. In such a climate, the winners will always be those who mass produce and poorly pay their workers. That's not really a bargain, is it?
Copyright Wanda Fleming, 2011www.rivergirlssoap.com