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Posts Tagged ‘Consumer Patriotism’

You can’t have an effective buy American movement if the movement is not visible.  With this brand of clothing, Made in USA Threads, now it can be.

I’ve been advocating the buy American movement for over a year and a half now.  One thing I have been frustrated with is the lack of visibility the movement has.  Livestrong has those yellow bracelets you see everywhere.  The breast cancer group has pink ribbons on everything from neckties to linebackers.  But where is the visibility of the buy American movement? 

I’ve spent the last several months building this brand so that finally the buy American movement can have the visibility it needs to thrive.  This brand is about quality American-made clothing at reasonable prices, and it says “Made in USA” right on the chest where everyone can see it.

Let me ask you, what does the logo on your shirt stand for?  If you own a polo shirt, what does that little man on horse carrying a polo stick, or practically any other widely recognizable garment industry brand image, really stand for?

To me, it is a symbol of a clothing industry that once thrived in America that has now been outsourced to the lowest bidder in a global race to the bottom.  It is a symbol of the underlying cause of a $500 billion annual trade deficit the U.S. incurs each year and the 9%-plus unemployment rate that comes with that enormous trade deficit.

I, personally, don’t care to wear that kind of symbol on the clothing I wear every day.  I prefer to wear a shirt that says “Made in USA” on it!

What does that stand for?  It stands for American jobs.  It stands for investing in the future of our country and our communities.  It stands for turning around a disturbing outsourcing trend that has slowly chiseled away at the foundation of our economy for decades.  Finally, it stands for protecting the few remaining garment manufacturers left in this country before they too become the victim of outsourcing. 

Made in USA Threads is a brand that is made in USA and is proud to show it.   When I wear these clothes, I wear them proudly.  So can you!

Visit www.MadeinUSAThreads.com today. 

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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2011 Ford Explorer

Cars.com is misleading the American public again with their conceptually faulty “American-made Index” that was just recently published by the website for 2011 model cars. 

These rankings, which Cars.com promotes as the most American-made cars on the market, lists the Toyota Camry the #1 most American-made car for the second year in a row.  That distinction should have rightly gone to the Ford Explorer.  The Ford Explorer is made in Chicago, Illinois and has more domestic parts content than the Camry.  In fact, the Explorer has the highest domestic parts content of any vehicle currently in production  which is still being sold through 2011 .  That means it beats the Camry on this website’s list of most American-made vehicles.  (Point of Clarification: the Ford Sport Trac has 90 percent domestic content, but was discontinued after production of model year 2010 was complete; however, it is reportedly still being sold in Ford dealerships through calendar year 2011.)

Please don’t misunderstand me; I am extremely pleased that Toyota chooses to produce many of their automobiles in the U.S., thereby creating American jobs.  But putting the Camry on top of a rating called the “American-Made Index,” is simply wrong.

Not only is Cars.com is using questionable methodology to reach their conclusion, they do not publish the methodology they use in developing the rankings.  If these rankings are going to be cited all over the place and regarded by many to be the list of the most American-made cars, the methodology should absolutely be made public.

According to Cars.com, the three factors that were considered to create this American-made index were: country of final assembly, American-made parts content, and volume of sales.

Wait a minute! What does volume of sales have to do with anything?  If I’m going to use the “American-Made Index,” I am going to use it to buy a car that is going to be the most American-made per car. The Toyota Camry doesn’t move ahead of other cars with higher American-made parts content, like many cars produced by Ford and Chrysler because more Toyotas are sold. 

The Camry is made with 80% domestic parts content.  That’s not bad at all.  But there are several other American-made cars with higher American parts content that got skipped on this list.  These are the cars that should be making headlines for being the most American-made.  In fact, two cars with higher domestic parts content that got skipped on this list compete directly with the Camry and the Honda Accord (which Cars.com dubiously ranked second on their list). 

The Chrysler 200 Sedan (remember the “Imported From Detroit” Super Bowl commercial with Eminem) has more American-made content than either the Camry or the Accord.  So does the dodge Avenger Sedan. Both are made in Michigan.

I don’t know what Cars.com’s motivation is in creating this misleading index, but it is very counterproductive to efforts to increase consumer patriotism in this country.  Stories like these create consumer confusion, which causes many people to just give up on buying American altogether. 

If you have some time, please let Cars.com know that their index should leave sales volume out of their methodology.  They should also publish precisely how their rankings are determined. 

Here is the email address of Patrick Olsen, editor in chief at Cars.com: polsen@cars.com

American consumers could really benefit from an American-made index that doesn’t “cook the books” for certain cars.  To be acknowledged as most American-made car, you should have to actually be the most American-made car. 

Once again, here is the full list of vehicles and their domestic parts content as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/Part+583+American+Automobile+Labeling+Act+%28AALA%29+Reports

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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This week, http://www.PickMyDecor.com decided to sell goods made in the U.S.A. only. Go there for a great selection of high quality American-made products for your home.

If this isn’t proof that this buy American movement is catching on, I don’t know what is. 

Just this week ABC World News announced a Buy American Challenge, and challenged Americans to redecorate their homes with goods made in the U.S.A.  Well today, I found out that www.PickMyDecor.com has decided to carry only products made in the U.S.A.  They have updated their website and now everything you will find there is made in America.

If you’re looking for a place to buy American-made goods for your home, www.PickMyDecor.com has a great selection of really beautiful products.  They have bathroom items, bed linens, dining and kitchen supplies, pillows, furnishings, patio items, and much, much more.  It is all quality stuff.  And best of all, it’s all American-made.

This is how we use buying American to create jobs.  The American people demand it, then companies like this one step up and bring all those American-made goods to one place so that consumers can shop as they normally do, while shopping for items that are made in the U.S.A.  Kudos to www.PickMyDecor.com for making the decision make their site 100% made in U.S.A.

I’m convinced that we are going to get our economy humming and creating jobs by millions of Americans choosing to buy American.  I can see that this idea is starting to grow.

Join the movement.  Be a part of the solution.  Invest in your country by buying American.

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

Randy

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