Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mission Impossible

Last week I was in my home town of New York to surprise my mom for her birthday.  On the flight I was putting together a shopping list of a few things that I wanted to pick up, including:

1. Measuring Cup with English measurements
2. Clothes for work
3. Honey Dripper
4. Case for my iPhone
5. T-Shirts
6. New Watch

Coincidentally, after putting together the list I was reading an article about the huge trade deficit between the US and China.  This got me thinking and I thought about how I could play a role in reducing that deficit, so I decided to avoid buying anything made in China.

After 3 days I can tell you it was nearly impossible and required me to look far and wide.  With the measuring cup I struck after two stores.  I do most of my clothes shopping at J Crew and everything from socks to dress shirts were all made in China.  The iPhone case as well, China, China, China.

Oddly, the honey dripper, which was made of wood at Crate & Barrel was made in the USA and it only cost $1.49.  Which means a Made in China version is probably .05 cents, but no matter I expect to pay more.

After going downtown I found a shop that produced t-shirts right in New York City.  Again, they cost $25 each, but I felt good about helping this small shop on in NY called Ernst Sewn.

And lastly I bought a Swiss-made watch from Bell & Ross.  While, yes I live in Switzerland, for some reason its much cheaper to buy in the US.

Why should you care?  Well, as an American, I can see why our trade balance is so off.  Living in Switzerland and before now in Austria it is much, much easier to find locally manufactured products from pens and pencils to clothes.

So if anything look twice at the country of origin of products you buy.  Not only does buying local help the local economy you are also reducing your carbon footprint, since Made in China means it needs to be shipped to you.

1 comment:

Steven said...

I don't doubt how hard it was finding the stuff you needed on your list that was made in America. I'm also quite sure you had to pay a bit more if it was made in America (basically you can't buy ANYTHING) in Wal-Mart as well. You're totally right though, let's help support our local economy & reduce our carbon footprint.