Sunday, March 25, 2007

America Is No Longer Made in the U.S.A.

I'm here at my workplace on Sunday to catch up on cleaning out my cubicle, retrieving personal items, and collecting anything like past performance reviews that might have helpful information for my resume, cover letters, and interviews. You see, last June, I found out that I was getting laid off on 31 March 2007 which--after a long wait--is now only five business days away.

I'm not exactly broken up about it. I had plenty of warning, the severance is decent enough, and I'm confident my next job will likely be much better. The part that bothers me the worst is why I'm getting laid off...

My job is getting outsourced, uh, I mean, off-shored to a company in India.

The even deeper irony is that the department I work in specializes in clients outsourcing a part of their business to us. Now we're outsourcing part of our business to someone else. Since it sounds funny to admit that we're "outsourcing our outsourcing," and since the destination of the work is another country, the new vocabulary is "off-shoring."

It just bothers me that so much of this country's jobs and services are moving overseas. We keep producing less and less in our own country, then we wonder why unemployment is rising and the value of the dollar is dropping. I don't think we should be so dependent on the rest of the world, especially when much of the world isn't too thrilled with us right now (or ever, for some parts).

The other reason this is fresh on mind is I was at Kohl's earlier today because I needed a couple new short-sleeve polo/golf-type shirts. I was just about to pay for the two nice looking, reasonably priced shirts that I found when I noticed some writing below the fabric content: "Made in India".

Those were the two best shirts I had found in the store, but just in case there were other nice shirts with a "Made in the U.S.A." label, I thought I'd be willing to compromise even if it cost a few dollars extra. Instead, I found:

  • Made in Cambodia

  • Made in China

  • Made in Egypt

  • Made in Guatemala

  • Made in India

  • Made in Indonesia

  • Made in Jordan

  • Made in Lesotho

  • Made in Pakistan

  • Made in Philippines

  • Made in Vietnam

And, did I find a single "Made in the U.S.A." label? No.

I confess, I went ahead and bought the shirts anyway--this time. But, this is something I want to get better about noticing and planning around in the future.

I did feel a little bit better when I bought a six-pack of white crew socks that I also needed. Not only did they say, "Made in the U.S.A." but they were Hanes brand, and Hanes is headquartered right here in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Thank goodness we have at least one thing we're known for other than cigarettes (and don't get me started on that topic).

If anyone knows of any stores that carry--or even specialize in--products made in the United States, leave me a comment or send me a message on my MySpace page (

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