Thinking of Buying American? Think Again

Winona Muldoon decided to buy American this Christmas. It proved nearly impossible. The Denver-area woman spent hours in big retail stores where she could afford to shop. She found very little that was American-made.

“If you want to get a toy for a child, it’s going to be made in China,” she said.

Even if you don’t think it is.

Muldoon took home a “poof ball,” a big, soft ball that her grandson could throw around the house without breaking stuff. The information on the side of the box said the “poof ball” came from the “Slinky Company of Plymouth, Michigan,” Muldoon said.

She was ecstatic until she got the gift home.

“When I looked at the fine print, there it was,” she said.

Made in China.

Like many Americans, Muldoon bears the Chinese no particular grudge. Heck, she even bought a roll of Chinese-made tape, because it cost 46 cents, rather than the $2 brand-name Scotch Tape. But she worries about a lack of regulation in the foreign manufacture of toys and food.

“I’d definitely like to see our food come from this country,” she said. “And I’d like to find toys we can feel comfortable buying.”

With all the publicity about lead in Chinese-made toys and other chemicals in clothes and food, Muldoon lacks that sense of security. She ended up buying gift certificates for most of her relatives, because she just didn’t trust the foreign-made stuff.

“They use chemicals we don’t,” she said. “We should ask them to maintain standards.”

Those standards are necessary, Muldoon said, if working-class Americans like herself are going to be forced to purchase Chinese-made products. And as she learned the hard way, if Muldoon was going to get her grandson the Power Ranger he so badly coveted for Christmas, she was going to have to buy Chinese.

“What the boys want this year are Power Rangers and Transformers,” she said. “The whole aisle of them was made in China.”

So was the throw blanket she bought for a neighbor’s daughter.

“Eventually I found some Christmas cards, gift wrap and bows made in America,” Muldoon said.

But as previously mentioned, she sealed the wrapping paper and affixed the bows with Chinese tape.

The world economy saves consumers money, Muldoon knows. She just worries about how many American workers get displaced by moving business overseas. So after her initial shopping forays, she returned home to do Internet research to figure out what actually was made in America.

General Foods International Coffee Drink Mix, as it turns out.

“It is made by the Maxwell House Division of Kraft Foods Global,” Muldoon reported. “But it is made in Florida and California. So I bought a couple of cans.”

Ironically, they had foreign names — Caf

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Jim Spencer

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