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Grumpy Old Ganz

“Made in the U.S.A.”

While growing up I was always taught to buy “American Made” and in doing so it would support American workers, unions and the U.S.A. Also, that stamp reflected “quality” American craftsmanship.

At one time that statement was very true and it was worth the extra cost to buy U.S.-made products. As time passed, things changed, leaving American consumers to be misled by big corporations.

Recently, while using a “U.S.A.” stamped tool, it broke, leaving all the internal parts lying on the ground while I held nothing but the housing in my hands.

I called the U.S.-based company and was shocked to find out I had to pay for shipping to the company then shipping to an overseas country to get it fixed. The parts were originally made and assembled overseas.

I was confused. I went to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website to find out what actually qualifies as “American Made”.

Traditionally, the FTC required that a product advertised as “Made in the U.S.A.” be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. This regulation was changed in 1996. After review by the FTC, they retained the “all or virtually all” phrase, however, what did change was the percentage of parts, labor and cost that constituted a company to use “Made in the U.S.A.” or just stamping “U.S.A.” on the item.

I found the old packaging for the broken tool and read the fine print...only 20% of the product was U.S. made or included U.S. materials. But the packaging was marked “U.S.A.” It was very misleading to me. As a consumer, I interpreted it to mean 100% U.S.A. made, which seems like false advertising to me.

I needed a replacement and went to town for a new tool. I found the one I wanted and the box was stamped “Imported”. It was of the same quality as the box marked “U.S.A.” and, low and behold, was $300 cheaper! Wow!

They say “the devil is in the details”…clearly he is involved in this deception!

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