December 2, 2012

Another Voice: 'Made in America' labels are few and far between

If you want to find gifts that will support U.S. workers, you have some detective work to do.


After following the ABC-TV network's campaign urging us to buy goods that are made in America ("If each of us spent just $64 a year on Made in America goods, 200,000 jobs would be created"), our family agreed this Christmas to buy Secret Santa gifts made in America.

To L.L. Bean's credit and his, the associate there, a man named Rob, immediately responded to our inquiry by escorting us to a table with a sign that proudly listed the table's contents as "Made In America."

Alas, that table contained only three gifts -- the least costing $105. (L.L. Bean boots and some belts are made in Maine.)

Undeterred in our quest for a $50 clothing gift for a man, we proceeded to the Maine Mall and inquired of six of the largest franchises there for American-made goods.

The total lack of these (excepting only some belts and socks) was one colossal surprise; the second was the stunned look on sales associates' faces following our request.

Every single one of these responded, "I'd have to read the labels." This comment is not an indictment, only the desire to raise awareness that the "Made in America" concept is not a shared value insofar as management is concerned.

We read the labels, and the number of foreign countries represented is astounding. The United States spends $10.5 billion alone on Chinese goods. We saw apparel with large American flag designs, Tom Brady shirts, you name it -- all made abroad.

Online research later revealed several options for anyone wishing to buy "Made in America" goods. Many are available in Maine stores.

I encourage Mainers to participate in this "Made in America" effort so that our country can once again gain the 90 percent foothold it once held in manufacturing.

Lorraine Masure is a resident of Sanford.


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