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Posts Tagged ‘American Challenge’

Two years ago I made a New Year’s resolution.  I had been thinking about the high rate of unemployment in this country and how our economic troubles are made so much worse by the enormous number of goods we import each year.  We would be so much better off if we created jobs by making those goods here in America.  We just need more Americans to demand goods made in the USA.

So I said to myself, I might not be able to change the way Americans shop, but I can certainly change the way I shop, and I refuse to continue to contribute to a problem that is causing so much economic pain for so many. From now on I’m buying American!

That was the New Year’s resolution I made to myself two years ago.  I originally set out to do it for one year, but once I completed the first year, I didn’t even consider stopping there. I found out that once you buy American for a few months it becomes second nature.

While this experience hasn’t been easy, it has been very rewarding.  I feel good knowing I am doing my part to create jobs when I buy the things I need.  From shoes, to clothes, to furniture, to cars, practically everything I buy is made in USA.  Those purchases are creating jobs in Virginia where I live and in places across the country.  Looking back, deciding to buy American is one of the best decisions I have made.  I do not regret it at all.

My New Year’s resolution this year is to make a concerted effort to get more people to commit to buying American.  I know there are millions of Americans that are willing to do it.  We just need to find those people and ask them to join our growing buy American movement.  If we get enough people to do it, we can make a real difference by creating jobs at a time that so many Americans need work.

I may have already asked you in the past, but if you are reading this I am asking you again right now.

Please consider taking the buy American challenge.  Buying American is the one thing you can do every day to help create jobs for Americans.  What better time to begin than at the start of a new year?

If you will do it, you will be doing your part to get our country back on the right track.

Commit to buying American this New Year.  It is a resolution you won’t regret making.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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If there’s one thing Americans do very well it’s consume. We like shopping.  We like going to the mall or Target and coming home with whatever our hearts desire, regardless of where it was made. Although this kind of buying behavior can be damaging to our economy and our country, changing this behavior is easier said than done.

In the last year and a half of actively living and advocating a buy American lifestyle, I have learned a lot about what to do, and what not to do, in persuading those around me, like friends and family, to buy American.  Here are a few key tips:

1)  Never make others feel guilty about their current buying habits.  Whether it’s friends, family, coworkers, or anyone else, the key is to talk about the reasons you buy American with no judgment on others who currently don’t. Others will be much more receptive to the concept of buying American when using this approach.

2)  Be as committed as possible to buying American yourself.  When those around you see that you are genuinely committed to buying American they will begin to take the idea more seriously.  Few will be moved to consider a commitment to buying American if they think your commitment to buying American is a passing fad.  It’s got to be perceived as permanent to have an impact on those around you.

3) Blog, tweet, or make Facebook posts about buy American topics.  Social media are great tools to put out useful information about the topic of buying American.  These messages can reinforce other messages your friends and family are already hearing about buying American.  It is also a no-judgment way to talk about the personal and societal benefits of buying American.  The buy American movement depends on effective communication, and new media, like blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, are the key to effective communication today and for the foreseeable future. Embrace these tools.

4) Let others bring up the topic of buying American with you.  When I first started strictly buying American and blogging about it, I told all my friends and family about what I was doing.  I asked them to follow my blog, follow my tweets, become a Facebook fan of Buy American Challenge, and that sort of thing.  After that, I backed off on bringing the topic of buying American up for discussion.  I found that friends and family started asking me about buying American instead of me having to bring it up with them.  If you want buying American to spread, my advice is let people know why you are buying American initially, then back off.  However, continue to keep the topic visible if you can.  I drive an American car, wear Made in USA clothing, and blog about buying American regularly.  Those who want to talk about buying American know they can bring it up with me anytime, and they frequently do.

5) Be a resource for those who have questions about buying American.  When folks first start to think about buying American, they have lots of questions.  Where can they find American-made products they need?  What about products not found made in USA anymore?  What about imported products they just can’t even think about giving up?  A good place to start in addressing these concerns is to give people the guidelines of the Buy American Challenge.  This is an easy-to-follow buy American program that anyone can follow.  I suggest printing out a copy and giving it to people who are showing interest as a suggestion of where to start if they decide to give buying American a try.  Additionally, offer to be available for advice on hard-to-find items.  If you ever get stumped, and can’t find a particular item made in USA, contact me and I’ll help you out.  Believe it or not, almost all products can still be found made in USA, you just need to know where and how to look for them.

Follow these five tips and you will be well on your way to spreading buy American through your social network.  Remember, for buying American to have a really meaningful impact on job creation in this country, we need to grow the movement. One person’s decision to buy American, though admirable for the principle of it, doesn’t mean much in terms of job creation.  It’s not going to create millions of jobs like we want it to.  But when thousands or even millions of people start demanding American-made products it will have a major impact on job creation. 

If you are committed to buying American yourself, commit to doing what you can to grow the movement as well.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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I have tremendous respect for everyone in the buy American community.  Anyone willing to spend time promoting the practice of buying made in USA out of a hope for a better future of our country is aces in my book.  I only wish we had more people willing to take the charge. But as buy American advocates, we need to be very cautious not to let the ugliness of politics seep into – and frankly, infect – our buy American message.  Because every time it happens, another person who would be a new buy American advocate gets alienated.

Let’s face it, Americans are passionate about politics, and while 10-20% percent of Americans may be on the fence on Election Day, the other 80% are pretty firmly entrenched in one camp or the other.  Those that do have strong political leanings generally do not like to hear or read about the political leaders and organizations they support being spoken about in a negative light.  Nor do they typically like to hear about the leaders and groups they do not agree with spoken about in a favorable light (although favorable discussion of any kind is more tolerable).  Discussing politics in any capacity simply has the potential to rub a lot of people the wrong way.  It is unavoidable.

That is precisely why it is best not to mix messages about politics and buying American.  The buy American message resonates with people of all different backgrounds and persuasions.  Individual Americans choosing to buy American is not a Republican or Democratic issue; it’s an American issue.  Buying American creates jobs and helps our economy.  Anybody should be able to agree with that, and the overwhelming majority of Americans do.  So why mix that buy American message that so many are receptive to with a political message that is certain to alienate many? If you genuinely want the buy American message to carry through, it’s just not a good idea to mix messages.

I believe one major reason that politics and buy American messages often get intertwined is that those who are passionate about buying American also tend to be fervent about politics, so it’s only natural for messages about the two subjects to get interconnected.  Once again, I believe one must make every effort to keep these the two separate.  The buy American movement needs to grow if it is ever going to be the force in this country that it could be.  As advocates, we cannot afford to be turning away support because of politics creeping into our message.

Let me make one thing clear: I am not saying that buy American advocates should avoid being vocal about politics.  Far from it.  What I am saying is that as a buy American advocate, you should do your best not to mix political and buy American messages at the same time or in the same venue.  What does that mean in practice? If you have a blog, website, or facebook page about buying American, don’t post political messages on there, and do your best to keep the political messages others post there to a minimum.  Try to be sensitive to the fact that your buy American supporters may lean opposite you politically.  If you want to talk politics, do it on a personal facebook page or on a separate blog.  You get the picture. 

My interest is the success of the buy American movement.  We only have so many real leaders out there, and we will all have more success if we can stay focused on communicating our buy American message free of politics. 

In a time of incredible political division in this country, buying American is one thing that still genuinely unites people of all different backgrounds and beliefs.  Whether you identify as a Tea Partier or a labor activist, there is a good chance you support buying American.  You’d be hard-pressed to find an area where you’ll find more common ground among staunchly opposed political groups and individuals. 

The truth is, when it comes to buying American, politics doesn’t matter, so let’s not let it get in the way.  Politics has ruined enough in this country; let’s not let it ruin our buy American movement as well.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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Last week, Julie Seedorf, a columnist with the Albert Lea Tribune in Minnesota wrote a column called “Support Businesses that Support USA.”  In her column, Seedorf referenced a number of plant closings that have occurred recently in southeastern Minnesota due to off-shoring, and called on the members of her community to buy American instead of resigning to the apathetic conclusion that each of us is powerless to keep jobs here in the U.S.A. 

“Let’s join together as Americans and make a commitment to our American workers,” says Seedorf. 

Read the entire column here: http://www.albertleatribune.com/2011/03/14/support-businesses-that-support-usa/

The specific recommendation Seedorf makes to her community is to go to the Buy American Challenge blog and take the Buy American Challenge.

“I found a blog by Randy in Arlington, VA. It is called buyamericanchallenge,” says Seedorf.  “He is challenging all of us to buy ‘Made in the USA’ products. I am going to join his challenge… I believe if we stick together and support our workers we can effect a change. Take the challenge. Challenge your friends and neighbors to do the same. And don’t give up. If it doesn’t work in a year, keep it going for two, three, four or however long it takes…”

Seedorf is right.  We can make a difference and keep Americans employed if we will make a commitment to buy more things that are made in the U.S.A.  It might take a few years, but if we will each make a personal commitment to do it, and be willing talk about it with those who are closest to us, we can put millions of Americans back to work and lead our country back to prosperity. 

Thank you, Julie, for challenging your community to take the Buy American Challenge, and thank you for walking-the-walk and taking the Buy American Challenge yourself.

We need more people like you willing to challenge people to make this important life change.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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Tito's Handmade Vodka

If you’ve never heard of Tito’s Vodka, just wait, you’ll be hearing a lot about it soon.  Tito’s has been gobbling up market share left and right because it is quite simply one of the best, if not the best, vodka on the market today.  Wine Enthusiast Magazine rated Tito’s handmade Vodka and awarded it a score of 95, an insanely high score for vodka.  By contrast, other top shelf vodkas, Ketel One, Grey Goose, and Belvedere scored 89, 84, and 84, respectively, when rated by the same publication.  They didn’t hold a candle to Tito’s. 

What does that tell you about the vodka market?  To me, it says don’t be misled by a fancy bottle and lots of marketing.  The best vodka – like many other things – is not necessarily the one with the highest price tag. 

Speaking of price tags, that is absolutely one of the most attractive qualities of this fine vodka.  Unlike some of the brand’s imported rivals that sell for $30 and up, a 750ML bottle of Tito’s can be purchased for $18-$20.  Tito Beveridge, the owner of Tito’s vodka, has said that he decided to keep the profit margin down and sell his vodka for around $20 to reach a potentially bigger audience. That strategy – delivering a superior American-made product at a very reasonable price – is paying off in spades.

What is most impressive about Tito’s is the reviews the product gets from people know the product well. They don’t just like Tito’s, they love it!  Check out this review of Tito’s Vodka from the Beverage Baron, a connoisseur of beer and spirits based out of Alexandria, Virginia.  Even if you don’t care about vodka ratings, I suggest you take a look at the Baron’s blog; it’s funny and informative.  The Baron swears by Tito’s. 

Here is my favorite attribute of the brand.  Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which is a corn-based, gluten-free vodka, is distilled 6 times in old-fashioned pot stills at Fifth Generation distillery in Austin, Texas.  It is as American as apple pie.  In fact, just today, Tito’s vodka became Made in U.S.A. Certified, a certification that guarantees a commitment to American products in the entire production process.  Tito’s is the first spirit to have earned that designation. 

When you are committed to buying American, there are times when you have to pay a premium to get a good made in the U.S.A.  Then there are other times, like right now with Tito’s Vodka, that you don’t have to pay a penny more for the American product.  In fact, the American product is superior and significantly lower cost.  Tito’s beats the imports six-ways-to-Sunday on any factor you might consider.  

If you buy vodka, you owe it to yourself to give Tito’s a try. Tito’s is available in all 50 states, so you should be able to locate some in your neck of the woods.  And, don’t be afraid to ask for it by name at your local bars and restaurants.  It would be great if every establishment in America had Tito’s on the shelf.  Don’t be surprised if that becomes the case in a few years.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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California Supreme Court Building

On January 27, 2011, the Supreme Court of California issued a ruling that is a huge victory for buy American advocates everywhere.  In the case, Kwikset Corp. had falsely labeled locks that the company manufactured as “Made in U.S.A.”  In her ruling, Justice Kathryn Werdegar wrote what many of us already know and have been saying for years: “To some consumers, processes and places or origin matter…In particular, to some consumers, the ‘Made in U.S.A.’ label matters.”  She is absolutely right.  The Made in U.S.A. label does matter to millions of people.  And if the integrity of that label is ever lost, it could make buying American with any degree of confidence all but impossible. 

Roger Simmermaker, author of How Americans Can Buy American (a great book, which I suggest you purchase immediately if you are interested in the topic of buying American), authored this analysis of the ruling’s impact: 

California’s Kwikset lesson: Don’t lie about “American made”

By Roger Simmermaker

February 6, 2011

Back in October 2009, I wrote a “Buy American Mention of the Week” detailing the potential danger to the integrity of the “Made in U.S.A.” label, which depended heavily on a future California Supreme Court ruling concerning Kwikset Corp.

That future ruling is finally here, and Buy American advocates have won big! As of January 27, 2011, four Southern Californian residents were granted the right from the California Supreme Court to sue Kwikset for falsely labeling locks as “Made in U.S.A.”

Here’s a quick history about how the Kwikset issue became such an important case with national implications. Back in 2000, handyman James Benson claimed Kwikset was selling locksets as “Made in the USA” when they actually contained screws from Taiwan and were assembled partly in Mexico.

Black & Decker-owned Kwikset was found guilty by a trial court, which discovered that 25 of Kiwkset’s products were illegally labeled (Kwikset admitted that two others were illegally labeled). But a court of appeal overturned that judgment on the basis of Proposition 64 (passed in 2004), which says that a consumer or business would have to prove they suffered a “loss of money or property” as a result of false advertising.

Because businesses and consumers could not show (in the eyes of the court) that the lockset products had any less market value due to the false “Made in USA” advertising, the court claimed no injury occurred. Essentially, the Court of Appeal held that the ‘Made in USA’ label has no market value and therefore consumers do not lose anything when they buy products falsely labeled as “Made in U.S.A.”

In my October 2009 “Buy American Mention of the Week” article, I made a call for patriotic consumer activism, urging American consumers and business owners alike to write an amicus brief to be submitted to the California Supreme Court, as the case sat before the supreme court at that time.

Hundreds of responses from concerned American were received, and I passed those comments on to the lawyer handling the case. The issue was important to American consumers who wanted to protect their choice to buy American, American businesses that have to compete with companies that engage in unfair competition by falsely advertising their products as “Made in U.S.A.,” and American workers who would see more of their jobs outsourced if the “Made in U.S.A.” label is stripped of its meaning and unenforced.

Handyman James Benson and three other citizens said they were patriotically motivated back then to buy American-made goods and would not have purchased the Kwikset locks had they been aware that the locks were not actually made in the United States.

The California Supreme Court has now ruled the buyers (Benson and the others) did in fact suffer economic harm since the product’s value – in their eyes – was diminished, and they paid a higher price for the Kwikset locks than they normally would have if the locks had been correctly and accurately labeled.

In her ruling, Justice Kathryn Werdegar wrote what many of us already know and have been saying for years: “To some consumers, processes and places or origin matter…In particular, to some consumers, the ‘Made in U.S.A.’ label matters.”

Thanks to not only those who responded with their versions of an amicus brief to the court back in 2009, but also to all those who take the time and effort to seek out and buy American-made products, awareness of the importance of “Made in U.S.A.” is again on the rise in America.

“Made in America” makes America stronger, and reflects a sound national strategy that transcends the false belief that says cheaper is better.

I’m reminded of the words of Republican President William McKinley, who had a few things to say about the word “cheap.” He said, “I do not prize the word ‘cheap.’ It is not a badge of honor…it is a symbol of despair. Cheap prices make for cheap goods; cheap goods make for cheap men; and cheap men make for a cheap country!”

We clearly do not want a cheap country. We want a country with high standards and values, and high wages for American workers so they can afford to buy the products made in their own country by other fellow Americans. We need our nation to reflect the vision of the founders, who advocated and emphasized self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and independence. These American traditions and values are consistent with what motivates many of us to buy American, so we can create wealth and retain prosperity within our sovereign borders and America can remain forever sovereign and in control of her own destiny.

Thanks Roger!

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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ABC's Diane Sawyer issues Made in USA Challenge on World News. I'm in, how about you?

This week on World News with Diane Sawyer, ABC issued a Made in U.S.A. Challenge.  See it for yourself here.  A truly ground-breaking project, ABC has challenged Americans to empty their homes of imported goods, and replace them solely with goods that are made in the U.S.A. 

From curtains, to furniture, to lighting, there are numerous ways to buy American in your home and create jobs for Americans in the process.  ABC has issued the challenge, but can it be done?

In the coming weeks, ABC is going to find a house, and conduct an extreme makeover using only American-made goods.  First, let me say to all the readers out there, check this segment out, and please consider participating in this challenge.  I know that I will.  Even if you can’t replace all the things in your home, you can participate by replacing one or two things.  If lots of us will do it, it could make a major difference. 

If you decide to participate, please let me know what you are going to replace in the comments section.  I’d love to hear what you are planning.  I know what I’m replacing first – my ugly recliner.  I’ve been wanting to replace it for a while, and now I’m finally going to do it.

ABC introduced an amazing statistic to highlight the importance of buying American.  If every American spent an extra $3.33 on goods made in the U.S.A., it would create almost 10,000 new jobs in this country.  That is precisely the job-creating power that we have as American consumers.  We have the ability to create all the jobs we need in this country simply by changing our buying habits. 

Don’t wait.  Take the Buy American Challenge today.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

P.S. If you are looking for a great American made clothing brand, check out Made in USA Threads!

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