Published on: June 10, 2004
We had a story yesterday about a recent poll revealing that while the public debate over outsourcing of US jobs to overseas locations has been front and center of the presidential election campaign and in the headlines, it doesn’t seem to be having much of an impact on people’s shopping behavior.
Only about a third of respondents said they checked labels regularly to see if something is made in the US. About 54 percent of those polled said they would buy a product made in the US even if more expensive; 40 percent said they would buy the lower priced product no matter where it was made. And the “made in America” argument seems to be resonating more with older Americans than younger citizens.
Our comment was that it used to be that younger people were the idealists, the ones who marched and protested and didn’t eat grapes and committed acts of civil disobedience while seeking a better world; their hair was long and their expectations of the world were broad…and it sounds like it might be some of these folks who are more concerned about outsourcing. On the other hand, it might be simple self-preservation, rather than an awakened sense of activism and civil responsibility, that is molding their behavior.MNB
user Phil Censky wrote:As one of these so-called "younger folks" having grown up in a time of unprecedented global communication, my ideals lie somewhere with The New York Times' columnist Thomas Freedman's borderless world. The goal is an age where financial interdependence renders nuclear weapons obsolete, not an expensive defense shield; a time when we defeat bin Ladenism with economic opportunity. Especially at a time when it's "unpatriotic" to question the White House, many young idealists find the "Buy American" sentiment hypocritical and xenophobic.
user responded:...Or maybe its "SHOW ME THE MONEY". Being 29, married to a stay-at-home mom, two kids, living hand to mouth every month, money is an (THE) issue. My wife and I made the decision to go-without to allow her to stay at home with our children. We prioritize, and right now, money (value) is more important to us. We do try to make our big purchases "Made in America", but even that is a euphemism..... I've only purchased "American" cars, but I probably would be shocked to know how many components are not made here.
Having said all that, in several years when we are not living hand to mouth, I do anticipate the "Made in America" to have of an impact on our buying decisions.MNB
user Charles Bartell wrote:Consumers need to understand the ripple effect on their household buying power from the loss of jobs. Until the media educates the public on the consequences of foreign production consumers will continue to value price over patriotism. Once consumers understand the impact, they will lobby for legislature that encourages domestic production. The pressure from the financial sector has left manufacturers little choice but to seek the lowest cost suppliers and stock to survive.
user Brian Richardson wrote:Yes, Kevin, it USED to be that the younger generations were more idealistic and motivated to protest. "Used to" being a key phrase. See, now that younger generation has become the older one now, having raised the now younger generation. The now younger generation recalls growing up watching their parents protesting apartheid, while living in their white neighborhoods, wearing their Calvin Klein jeans and drinking their Rum and Cokes. They remember the protests over dolphin 'n tuna salad, while being carted around to Sea World to see the captive raised sacred cows that were once the idols of worship. They remember the Hostages in Iran, the controversy of the Berlin Wall and when people actually knew about the space program, but were then told to watch television sitcoms and not interrupt "grown ups talking".
I don't think the new mindset is as much as "self preservation" as much as it is as preserving the family's resources so that they may be applied in a more effective way. This generation faces more credit card debt, knows less about investing and has paid for their educations on their own, many times for years after finishing school. They were taught less about finances and are focused on learning and teaching to the generation they are bringing up. There is a renaissance happening now in which we are all learning to free up our resources to reach out to our neighbors and actually help them to overcome their adversities.
We had a story yesterday about a little town in Arkansas that can’t seem to get Wal-Mart to build a store there, which prompted MNB
user Richard Lowe to come up with a good idea:Somebody should be enterprising in that little town. Buy their products from Sam's Club and open a store!
We had a piece yesterday about how Safeway is using a “Mercado” store-within-a-store concept to attract Hispanic consumers in the Washington, DC, area, which prompted a member of the MNB
community to write:You might be interested to know that a local grocery chain in this area, Harp's, is the first to turn its entire store in Rogers, Ark., into a Super Mercado to tap into the large Hispanic population here. The management said they would see how this one did before deciding whether to turn more of their stores into mercados. They are having to compete with Wal-Mart, which is in their backyard. Harp's also owns Price Cutter grocery stores and operates here and in the surrounding area.
Interesting. You have to find a different angle on the consumer if you’re going to compete with the Bentonville Behemoth.
In a piece about the expansion of Supervalu’s Save-A-Lot stores, we noted that stores offering an edited grocery selection seem to growing in appeal. Which prompted one MNB
user to observe:Whole Foods says its primary advantage over Wild Oats is a broader assortment (40k SKUs vs. 10k), but I guess even 40k is relatively edited.
Actually, “edited” doesn’t necessarily mean “less.” It just means shaped to the needs and desires of the local consumer.
And, we finally received an email about a comment we made about watching golf on television. (We implied it was roughly like watching paint dry.)MNB
user Jeff Davis wrote:Your comment on how boring golf is to watch tells me that you haven't spent much time actually playing the game. You don't have to be very good (trust me, I know) to understand and appreciate the countless nuances of the game.
No other sport demands so much of its athletes both mentally and physically as golf does. As remarkably skilled as Tiger Woods is, it is his mental toughness and creative shotmaking that puts him above all others.
To watch the final round of a tournament (especially a major) where two or more world class golfers are battling for the title is some of the best theater in sport.
Not only haven’t we spent much time playing the game, we’ve never actually picked up a golf club.
What we’ve always admired in golfers is their ability to carve out the time to play. Now, that’s mental toughness.
Somehow on weekends, we’ve always been so busy going to kids’ baseball games, doing the grocery shopping, making a dump run, stopping at the dry cleaners, etc…that we’ve always been thrilled just to find an hour to play tennis.