Made in USA

It takes two to tango. An asshole and a rube (AKA a participant willing to be deceived). This tango is known as business.

The “asshole” is the company that sells shit and lies about what it is.

The “rube” is that which wants the shit and is willing to believe the lies.

This is all pretty standard, really. It’s how the wonderful world of retail works. These are the little mirco win-win transactions of commerce that comprise the so-called “free market” that makes the world go round.

Sometimes, though, an element of patriotism is injected. As I’ve been a whore in the retail industry for 10 years now, I can report that there are some people who really care about the country of origin. “Is it made in the USA?” they ask. “Boot in your ass!” they yell. “Yee-haw!”

In general, there are only three classifications for “country of origin” products marketed to Americans:

  • No country of origin listed. You can generally safely assume these were made elsewhere.
  • “Made in USA” is proudly displayed. In rare cases this may actually be true.
  • “Made in USA” is proudly displayed. This is an outright lie.

Again, these are broad generalities. There may be times when some other country of origin might be preferable, in which case, that’s how the lie will be told. “This cream was made in Sweden at the Helsinki Institute.”

Let’s say the shit (product) is expensive. It’s something that can be purchased for about $100. But there is a whole cottage industry built around the fact that they can be even better so “premium” versions are made and sold for upwards of $800, $1,200 or even $1,600. Idiot customers want these things. Ha!

Let’s say they buy the $1,600 version of widget. It is, of course, advertised on the website and reinforced during the phone call as “made in the USA.” The credit card gets forked over and the coveted object is purchased. Overnight shipping may be purchased because, “I want it now!”

At last. The object is delivered. The packaging is ripped open and the object is held in the customer’s hands. The first thing the customer does is inspect that item like life itself hangs in the balance.

And what do you think they see?

“Made in China.”


This is where I come in. Mwuhahahahahahahahahaha! You just got schooled in the world of retail by flag waving phonies. How does it feel?

This big question. How can they get away with this? The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) seems to have the say-so here.

First, a little background. Unless you sell automobiles, textiles, wool and/or fur products, you are under no requirement, under the law, to disclose the country of origin. The sellers of other products still can, if they wish, make such statements, though. If they do, then those statements “must comply with the FTC’s Made in USA policy.” I’m not a lawyer. This is all just my layman’s interpretation.

What is the policy?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is charged with preventing deception and unfairness in the marketplace. The FTC Act gives the Commission the power to bring law enforcement actions against false or misleading claims that a product is of U.S. origin. Traditionally, the Commission has required that a product advertised as Made in USA be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. After a comprehensive review of Made in USA and other U.S. origin claims in product advertising and labeling, the Commission announced in December 1997 that it would retain the “all or virtually all” standard. The Commission also issued an Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S. Origin Claims to provide guidance to marketers who want to make an unqualified Made in USA claim under the “all or virtually all” standard and those who want to make a qualified Made in USA claim.


What does the “all or virtual all” standard actually mean? According to the FTC, it means “that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. That is, the product should contain no — or negligible — foreign content.”

In the case I’m talking about, what is the “foreign content?” Only the biggest piece of the entire product. The piece that just so happens to be labeled, “Made in China.” It’s only the first thing the customer can see when he examines the product held in his hands. And, incidentally, no pieces on the assembled product have the words “Made in USA” on them.

Naturally some customers who see this will call in to complain. I know I would. I would feel deceived. And that’s when the owner gets on the phone to feed them a line of bull. “It’s common for some of the pieces to be made overseas, but the product is assembled here in the United States.”

My problem here is the fraud. It’s the guy wrapping himself in the American flag and using the patriotism of his customers for his own nefarious gain. I don’t like it.

To me, it seems like one of the most un-American things you could ever do. But that’s just me.

6 responses

  1. It’s guys like the owner who give business a bad name. I bet he thinks his response is considered “good customer service” as well…’cause he has an answer. It’s not the right answer but as long as he doesn’t end up giving a refund, it’s all the answer he needs.

    What a loser.


    1. I agree. But it’s not just him. It’s the company that makes the product that we peddle. They are a major company in this country and really play up the “God and country” thing. I didn’t see them listed in the Forbes Top 1,000 but they are still a very big company. I don’t know how they get away with what they are doing. Aside from product labeling and advertising, they even proudly display a “Made in USA” page on their website.

      Dirty filthy rotten liars.


  2. My company used to be 100% made in the USA–100% motherfuckers!

    Now? Not so much. And believe meeeee: quality has gone down, so has our business. I am not that smart. I have an IQ of 126, which means I’m bright enough to be embarrassed by that. I do not have a BA or MA in Business; however, if it were up to me, I’d run my company differently in a whole bunch of ways.

    Little things like instead of hoarding machines (tech or old-skool) that are broken and irreparable? I’d break them down for parts and/ or chuck. I think it’s sick to leave broken stuff hanging around if for no other reason than we have tours of advertising agents come through…it looks like a DUMP. They like SHINY.

    Another thing: safety. That’s all I’ll say on that.

    And to your point? How about providing more of THE BEST (for many years, we won ALL the #1 Quality awards for our industry–we don’t anymore — still do for SERVICE but no longer product cos it’s CPS from China, the Ukraine, India and a few other places I can’t spell).

    I don’t claim to have the answers but I do say cheap plastic shite isn’t the answer. If we must, then allow 10% of our products to be an “economy line” of CPS. It’s like graduating illiterate students. You’re dumbing things down and you think it’s easier that way but you end up coming off as…SHITE.

    To repeat: I don’t know shite about running a business. I preferred it when we were a quality establishment, though.


    1. Interesting stuff!

      The last business (with the mind control boss) actually sold a product that was “Made in USA.” I think we only sold TWO in five years. It cost twice as much as the version made in Pakistan. And the quality was much worse. I almost forgot about that. Thanks for reminding me. A lot of the “Go USA” customers would shrivel in the face of those facts and end up buying from Pakistan. Money talks, bullshit walks.


  3. I just wrote this in the shower (where I do all my best work):

    I don’t really care about anything you say
    I know it’s a game and you know that I’ll play
    Pay your workers just a dollar a day
    As long as it says, “Made in the USA”

    I’ll bet there’s a song in there somewhere.


    1. End chorus:
      What if you died and went to meet God
      An He revealed that heaven was a fraud
      “I’m sorry but I’m turning you away,
      Because you always bought Made in the USA”


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