Where Exactly Does All This Stuff Come From?
Since I live 120 miles from big stores like CalRanch, Walmart and Home Depot whenever I go to town I shop until my vehicle is full. This means a wide range of products from multiple stores.
Well, as I unloaded from this last haul I logged, where the information was available, the “Made In” location for each item.
The receipts came from eight stores, I spent $2,093.62, and Sales Tax came to $128.85. These receipts and the following info do not count McDonald’s breakfast, Maverick gas fill up, or a Burger King Whopper meal for the ride home.
Before we look at the tally of where the products came from and the analysis therewith there should be an explanation of the statistics involved; moreover, this population of data really does exemplify the need for the explanation and had some interesting extrapolations of what is not on the list.
This information should be held only in the context of a shopping trip. I made wide ranging purchases from .35₵ PVC fittings to a $168 Carhartt jacket to a $672 TREK bicycle.
Some stores I bought only one thing, some stores a couple things and some stores a whole shopping cart full of things.
And where each thing had a “Made In” label I counted that. However, I only counted product’s “Made In” label one time; for instance, if I had two cans of Bondo with “Made In USA” I only counted that product once; similarly, if there was a package of 12 target arrow heads I did not count them 12 times but only once.
Without further ado, here is the tally:
Okay, good to see the USA at the top of the list. And some things just didn’t have a “Made In” label or were composite products with labels like “Distributed By” or “Packaged By”. Only one product, the Bondo products clearly said, “Made in the USA with globally sourced products.” I suspect that is probably true on many of the products counted above.
Not to mention the fact some of the labels where in foreign languages and seemed to indicate that they were manufactured in one country, exported to another, then exported to the USA and Elko, Nevada where I bought them. That is why this article should just be held as an overview and not precise information upon which important conclusions should be made. And I really can’t stress enough how shallow the “Made In” label can be; take a custom arrow from GunWorld which has a “Made In Mexico” label; that arrow has plastic veins, plastic nock, carbon tube, and an aluminum arrowhead seat; were all those individual products “Made In Mexico”? A better phrase for composite products like this would be “Assembled In Mexico”; not one product I assessed used the phrase “Assembled In.”
Speaking of Mexico, they made a good showing on the list. And Canada, I did not expect Canada to show up; nor India or Pakistan. Lol, my country-as-can-be Carhartt jacket was made in India, what a hoot, I wonder if there was some worker in a factory in India who started off a joke with, “So, there is this American country boy wearing a Carhartt jacket made in India…” Feel free to fill in the punch line.
I should not have been surprised, but I was, over the diversity of Asian countries making the list; if they are added all together that is twenty-six distinct items. I even bought three items from supposedly Communist Vietnam in stores in Elko, Nevada.
And this brings up another STARTLING point; Europe did not make the list at all. I wonder what a European’s shopping list’s “Made In” looks like? If your country loses its manufacturing base…that is not an insignificant loss.
The general idea for investigating “Where Things Come From” was substantiated by the data collected. I bought lots of things I am happy to now own. I hope global trade enriches people’s lives all over the world. I am not counting on the current situation to last; there are too many variables that are being treated with disrespect. That being said, global trade has been going on for centuries; ever since wooden sailing ships rounded Cape Horn and Cape Of Good Hope. Who knows what the future holds…I don’t believe global trade will ever truly disappear…but it is good to know where things come from and have an idea of what won’t be available if and or when that global trade is curtailed.
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