Thursday, April 24, 2014

Made in the U.S.A.

I remember back years ago when my mother would purchase boxes of Cracker Jack as a special treat for me and my brothers.  Yes that caramel covered popcorn was good, but eating that sticky goodness wasn't our primary goal.  Our goal was to race each other by digging to the bottom of the box to see what prize was in there and which one of us would be the victor in the game of "who got the best prize".  I've still got some of the rings I dug out of those boxes, just as my brothers still have some of the small knock-off GI Joe's with parachutes attached.  The prizes weren't anything big or grandiose, but they were special because they survived us kids playing with them, unlike many things made these days.

USA, Made in China
Dbenbenn, Zscout370, Jacobolus, Indolences, Technion

These days when I take my kids to McDonald's for a Happy Meal, the toy inside the box doesn't survive the car trip from the restaurant's drive-thru window to our home.  Within a minute or two I'll hear "Oh man!  This thing stinks!".  And that's when that old song from Queen starts playing in my head "Another one bites the dust".  Inwardly I do jump for joy that this toy will go straight into the trash bin instead of being flung in the middle of my living room floor for me to step on.

Toys aren't the only things which aren't made like they used to.  Our garden hose spigot on our house went out 2 years ago.  My husband went to the plumbing supply store, bought a rather pricey new one and replaced it.  Last summer while we were gone on vacation, the blasted thing broke again and spewed water for several days.

It took a couple of days before our yard flooded enough that water started pouring into the street and alerted the neighbors to a problem.  Thankfully, one of them had the special wrench to shut off the water main to the house.  How is it that the original spigot lasted over 25 years, but the replacement didn't even make it one full year?

We experience manufacturing defects even when we eat out at restaurants.  One of my dad's favorite things to do these days when we go out to eat has been to open one end of a straw wrapper and then surreptitiously blow the straw wrapper at an unwitting family member.  9 times out of 10 he blows into that straw and nothing happens because even the straw wrapper is defective and has holes in it.  This also gives me pause as I ponder whether that straw is actually sanitary due to the number of holes in the wrapper.

My daughter just started gymnastics several weeks ago and had worn her gymnastics clothes twice.  On the third occasion of putting on her leotard and gymnastics knickers, every bit of stitching came out of the waistband of the knickers.  A double row of stitching completely gone in the blink of an eye............ and before she could even get her knickers up.  Now how are you supposed to go out and train with the enthusiasm of a future Olympian if you're afraid your knickers are going to end up around your ankles?

As you may remember, my computer crashed over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I called the computer manufacturer's help-line to see if the computer could be reset.  I pressed "1" for English.  The person who answered the phone quite obviously did not understand English as he kept asking about my television and trying to get me to hit the reset button on the remote.  I gave up and told him to "have a nice day".  Considering the way he gasped, combined with his lack of understanding the English language, he may have thought I insulted his ancestry.  Before I started an international incident, I quickly hung up the phone.

Oh, how I miss items "Made in the U.S.A." and feeling the pride one feels at seeing something made in your own homeland.  Those were the good old days.......

Written by:  Christie Bielss


  1. It is so frustrating when toys made in China don't last even a day! Zain recently bought a $25 remote control helicopter and the first day a blade snapped. I figured I would just go online to their website to order a replacement part. No spare parts to be found and even the phone number was for China. So they make them to break and offer no way of fixing them. Ugh! I do smile when I find things made in the USA.

    1. That's what I'm finding too. They are making things and shipping them over with absolutely no intention of ever servicing their warranties. I have started looking for things with the Made in the USA logos just because of this. I have been thrilled to hear of more manufacturing moving back to the states because of the tariffs and the cost of shipping - hoping this holds true!