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Is anything made in the U.S.A. anymore??

I just got a new shirt from the Woolrich Company (based in Pennsylvania); a style of shirt that just happens to be named after a creek where I like to fish. But when I looked at the tag it said "Made in India." It's not that I'm surprised, necessarily, but I have to say a certain feeling of disappointment came over me. I always assumed Woolrich to be one of those companies that's a last bastion of Good Old Fashioned American Tradition, making rugged outdoor wear--right here in America--for the rugged outdoorsman. Right? Wrong.

Same thing with L.L. Bean, so I've learned. And it's probably the same thing with Orvis and Pendleton and all the other companies that I've come to respect as quality American brand names.

What does it matter, you might ask? Don't I realize that the garment industry employs millions of people in third world countries who might not otherwise have jobs? That the purchasing power of the ordinary American citizen still basically props up the economies of dozens of countries in the world? That we're all connected through globalization anyway, and that a rising tide lifts all boats?

Yeah, I realize all that. And that is, fundamentally, what makes me sad: the fact that I have no right to be shocked, and that my "belief" in certain "American" brandnames is a fiction that hasn't been a reality since before I was born. I've been sold that lie by these clothing manufacturers, just like we were all sold the idea that every American has a "right" to own his own detached home in the suburbs. And I've been buying into all along.

The other thing is, frankly, the shirt looks good and appears to be well made. Am I going to stop buying clothing from Woolrich? Probably not. In fact, the only reason I can even afford to buy a shirt from Woolrich is becuase it's made overseas!! Otherwise, the shirt would cost three times as much, and I'd have to buy from another company whose shirts I could afford, and Woolrich would go out of business.

All I'm saying is, even though I'm fully aware of my role as an American Consumer in all of this, a little peice of me still dies when I find out that a shirt made by a company from one of my beloved home states--and named after a stream where I fish, for god's sake--is made in India. That's all I'm saying.


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