Recently I made a purchase from a company based here in the United States. One of the reasons I chose to give my business to this establishment is because they make their products here in the US. That usually is an attractor to me when choosing a vendor. By giving my business to a "Made in the USA" business I feel I am doing my part in helping the economy and keeping jobs within our borders.
The competition's item was readily had near my home. But the manufacturer is based out of China. I have bought items from both vendors before and the quality is equal, for the most part. That is, until recently. In four purchases from the "Made in the USA" company I have had to send all the items back due to incorrect assembly. These missteps were not able to be bypassed or fixed to make it functional. This was a manufacturing failure that required replacement. But faithful to the "Made in the USA" promise, I gave my business to them again. That mistake was of my own volition.
The question I have is, has our attention to detail and quality control declined so far in our industry that foreign made items are the ones to rely on? The worst part, in my mind, is the fact that the items I purchased are military in nature. This means that Soldiers, forward deployed Soldiers, who wish to augment their issued equipment could be purchasing sub-par items. I have the ability to box the items back up, drive to the post office, and mail the package back. For a GI stationed at a remote outpost in Afghanistan (a majority are in remote locations) does not have this luxury. What does he or she do then? Use the malfunctioning gear? Throw it away, along with their hard earned money? Or wait for a Postal Team to travel to their outpost, and mail it then? (Postal teams travel year round but you might see one at your location once every couple months, which is bad based on the 30 day return policy.)
What we can do at home is start by setting a Standard. Then holding our industry to that Standard. This starts by taking a hard, detailed, look at the Quality Control, Quality Assurance personnel. They are the keepers of the standard. If a worker responsible for sewing pockets on a pair of pants routinely fails to affix the pockets in the proper place, that worker needs to be counseled. If the lack of attention to detail and adherence to the Standard continues, that worker needs to be replaced by someone who can get the job done within the standard.
Too long, have we become accustomed to "Basic" "Better" and "Best Quality." where "Best Quality" means you finally get what you pay for... at a premium. You should get every penny out of the "Basic" model and receive exceptional increases as the level goes up! The next time you are looking at an item that says "Made in the USA" go over it with a watchful eye. If the quality seems second rate, bring it to the attention of the business manager. We should expect shoddy, second rate items from places like China, Mexico, or Paraguay. These countries work and pay their laborers like slaves. We should demand more from our industry. It has to start with us, the consumer!!
STAY IN THE FIGHT!!
Post Script: Depending on the outcome of this transaction with this company, I will either leave this post as is or I will blast the name of the company. If the transaction fails, I will ask my readers to e-mail, write, or call the company. Not on my behalf. But on behalf of the American Soldiers they so proudly claim to support, and supply (Some of the items our GIs receive as "issue" are made by this company." DEMAND BETTER QUALITY FOR OUR SOLDIERS!!