Sat11222014

Last updateFri, 21 Nov 2014 12pm

LOS ANGELES Saturday, November 22nd 2014 1:11

Made-In-America Christmas

CERDAFIED - A friend of mine suggested that I should buy America made for Christmas this year to help our economy. Others suggested we all buy local. Another friend suggested I should write an article about this endeavor.
I imagined at least half the items we purchased were made in America, little did I know, what I was looking for was like finding Bigfoot.
 
It seemed like a good idea at the time, not so much after weeks of shopping.  I came with lists, bargain discount coupons clipped, and a full week of shopping ahead of me. I expected this to take more effort but I felt it was well worth it.
 
My strategy was simple.  At the first store I would fill my cart and sort out the non USA products before going to the cashier.  When I spent about two hours shopping and I had filled the basket, and gathered many items from my list, I began looking at labels and moving the items into another cart.  
 
Out of approximately 18 items, one was USA made. A box of Cologne. The rest went back. 
 
So I changed my strategy for the next store.  Label hunting came first, and I picked up the pace.  
 
Running from rack to rack I rifled through the labels. What I found I hated! My search became less about my list and more about finding USA products. About 40 minutes in, I began to feel like I was on a scavenger hunt, blind folded and with my feet tied together. This was not easy! I found one blouse, paper products (calendars, books, binders), and wind chimes. My teenage grandsons were not going to be happy with me if I stayed the course.
 
I was eliminating designer labels left and right. My list became an albatross around my neck. Only one requested item found!  So I abandoned the buy USA only plan, since 4 days of shopping had proven to be a difficult obstacle course and opted to report on where our Christmas gives came from. 
 
Below is the list of all our gifts purchased and received. (Including prior USA made purchases.)
 
Pants (9); USA – 4, China – 3, Malaysia – 1, Bangladesh -1   (buying American made jeans is doable)
 
Shirts (23) USA – 3, China -5, Bangladesh -2, Mexico -1, Pakistan -4, Vietnam – 4, Egypt -1, Nicaragua – 1, Haiti -1, Cambodia – 1
 
Chemical products and paper products came from the USA; 4 colognes, 4 personalized calendars, Lotion Set, paper airplane kit
 
Kona Coffee – USA
 
Yarn – USA
 
Bowl set – USA, Indonesia
 
Tools – China, Taiwan 
 
Vest – China
 
Pen set – Paris
 
Stapler – China
 
Watches (3) China
 
Tie Clips – China
 
Headphones – China
 
Belt – China
 
Shaver – China
 
Shoes – China
 
Bagel Toaster – China
 
Movie Camera – Malaysia Bible Cover - China
 
Deep Fryer – China
 
Silverware – Vietnam
 
Jacket (2)  - China
 
Olive oil – Italy
 
Sweater – Bangladesh
 
Wallet – China
 
Socks – China
 
Crochet Hooks – China, Mexico
 
Plates – China
 
Underwear – China, USA
 
Wind chimes (4) - USA
 
Of the 79 items purchased and given, with a huge effort to buy American made, 25 items were USA products. There were 29 gifts from China, improving China’s economy.   I never expected so many countries to show up in our closets.  Though I do not begrudge the 16 other countries the opportunity to sell their crafts here in America, I do lament that many of the labels were from companies that are American bred. Designer names we love with dirty little secrets, they are selling out the USA economy.
 
I was surprised that on Christmas morning, as we gathered and opened our gifts, how much fun we had yelling out the origin of our gift. USA gifts got big cheers.  As I jotted down the details, enthusiasm was high, and I was pleased that my grandchildren had become more aware of what the label means to Americans. It means jobs, improved economy, and American made pride.  What was once a mainstream goal is now a foreign concept.
 
(Lisa Cerda is a contributor to CityWatch, a community activist, Chair of Tarzana Residents Against Poorly Planned Development, VP of Community Rights Foundation of LA, Tarzana Property Owners Association board member, and former Tarzana Neighborhood Council board member.) 
–cw
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CityWatch
Vol 11 Issue 2
Pub: Jan 4, 2013
 
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