General Question

Strauss's avatar

Does "country of origin" influence your purchasing decisions?

Asked by Strauss (20324points) February 3rd, 2014

This question is aimed primarily at those of you in the US, but I welcome the comments of all.

Weathertech spent a fortune on a Superbowl advertisement that touted the fact that against conventional wisdom (“you can’t do that”) they were able to build a factory in the US, manufacture a successful product and provide 1000 steady jobs. In the big scheme of things it is only one company, product line and a small percentage of the unemployed in the US; is this the beginning of a trend? should it be?

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14 Answers

bolwerk's avatar

It doesn’t influence me much. I don’t see why it’s not beneficial to the USA to at least attempt to have a robust manufacturing sector though.

The problem is there are few areas where U.S. manufacturing has a competitive advantage. It may well be true that Americans can build a better TV or car than Korea, but Korea can build almost the same thing with a significantly smaller labor price. Even that wouldn’t be a very big deal, but Korean workers probably have a better quantitative background than their American counterparts.

This means there are areas where U.S. manufacturing works, but they tend to be emergent or highly specialized. And even that follows a cyclical; who would have believed microprocessor manufacturing could be so easily off-shored even 15 years ago? Emergent technology matures, and eventually imitators crop up and undercut the originator of the technology.

JLeslie's avatar

I am American.

I try not to buy made in China. I prefer to buy made in America, with the exception of cars. I used to prefer my Japanese car was assembled in Japan, but now I worry about that less. I like to buy foods, dishes, things that can poison me, from countries that I believe have some good standards to protect its citizens. Plates made in China would worry me that they have led. I guess I can easily test them though.

When I was growing up my family avoided buying German products, but they don’t do that anymore, although I still can’y imagine my patents ever buying a German car. Some of their friends still hold onto bad feelings about Germany, but not Germans alive today or German-Americans. I have 4 German cars right now in my household.

SweetMae's avatar

I try to buy “Made in America” when I can.

chyna's avatar

I won’t buy dog food or treats that were made in China. Hundreds of dogs have died from tainted treats made in China. Link. Of course, I can’t be sure that American companies haven’t used products from China and not disclosed it on their labels.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Itry to buy American & local but if I want it, I’ll have it regardless. I won’t shop at walmart though.

Cruiser's avatar

If I can buy locally in my town I will.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I can buy anything, regardless of its country of origin. But the only exception is Chinese products. Even if you offer me a million dollars I will never buy anything from China! Their products are just too poorly-made and too poisonous.
Beside-the point fact: my country is full of Chinese products, and everyone is getting sick of them.

stanleybmanly's avatar

This is a good question and not thought about often enough. But yes I nearly always look to see where a product is manufactured. I will actually seek out and pay extra for certain German made tools. Someone gave me a cheap alarm clock 30 years ago that is still running. On the back of the clock is stamped “German movement, assembled in China”. Generally, the cheaper or more common a item is, the greater the difficulty in obtaining an American made version. But take heart. There are lots of reports of American firms repatriating manufacturing to the United States (particularly the Southern states).

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Vincentt's avatar

No – I don’t necessarily care more about people in my own country than about people in other countries.

That said, I do take into account working conditions. For example, I’d rather not buy e.g. clothes which I know to be produced under terrible working conditions in China. Or I bought a Fairphone, of which I know e.g. Tin to be mined in Congo trying to make a positive difference in a war-torn country.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Depends on the item being sold.

Take home electronics. Germany makes the best stuff, but they are double the price of Asian goods. If I need the very best, I’ll buy a German name.

Japanese-made goods used to be almost as good as German, but now Japanese companies outsource to Korea and China, so there is no real reason to buy Japanese any more. (This is why Sony is losing money hand over fist)

Korean stuff is good but not particularly inspiring. But it lasts forever.

US electronics – well, nothing of any significance in consumer electronics is made here any more.

cazzie's avatar

It does sometimes. I live in Norway, so much of our food is imported. I feel very guilty if I buy apples in the off-season here that have been imported from the Southern Hemisphere. If there is produce on the shelf from two different countries, and the closer country’s product looks OK, I will buy that one. If the plums look nice, but they are from Thailand, I will give them a miss and wait until next year when the plums from Belgium are in the store. The fuel resources used to send oranges from Brazil as opposed to oranges from Spain is substantial enough for me to buy the closer grown product.

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