Labels. Buy America?


How is a person even supposed to know what products are manufactured in America. You might think a company like The North Face with its fashionable North Face jackets, back packs, and other amazing outdoor clothing and equipment lines are American made. It’s headquarters are in Alameda CA. The North Face is owned by VF Corporation which is itself an American clothing corporation. But the question remains, does The North Face manufacture its products in the US? I searched the internet and couldn’t find the answer. At least their logo is not an American flag or something like that. Instead, it consists of a slightly skewed quarter-circle with two lines running within it: an interpretation of Half Dome, a massive granitic monolith in Yosemite National Park as viewed from the west. On the other hand it seems like products of all sorts are coming with flag designs in them or the word American in the title. It is actually a marketing ploy. Products which were not conceived of or created in America having misleading information on the tag trying to get the not so savvy American Made Shopper to purchase their product. This would not always be a bad this but some of the less scrupulous companies will make an inferior product, slap a flag on it & sell it in a price range competitive with quality products in an attempt to trick the purchaser into taking the product. This seems unfair to most sensible people.
You would think there would be some regulations against such a deceptive act & as a matter of fact there is after a sort. To import products in some categories such as vehicles, furs & textiles the heritage must be revealed. Most products have no such regulation but when an imported product chooses to boast about American connections with labels or flags the government usually requires the country of origin to be listed on the item as well. The FTC is in charge of this regulation & the actual rule states that the labeling not be deceptive but that is a subjective term. You can go a long way subjectively without breaking any rules. In sever cases where companies have been found in violation of the guidelines there have been stiff fines levied on them. One such violation by the toolmaker Stanley ended up costing them $205,000.00 when ratchets that they claimed to be made in America were actually found to contain too much foreign content.
Think about it for a moment. When you are in the store & you see a product with a name like American Mills or Great American Seafood, you automatically assume that is an American product but upon further research both product have labeled the country of origin as other that the United States. In addition if you see the words made in above a waging red, white & blue American flag you might tend to think you are looking at an American product but as long as it is labeled in a remote location on the item that the actual location of origin is not America it will pass customs with flying colors.
These deceptive acts are not helping in the fight to regain control of our own economy. If Americans are trying to get the benefits of shopping American only to have them swept out from under them with deceptive business practices it kind of defeats the purpose. Steps must be taken to improve the process from the ground up if a real solution is to be found.

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