Recently I looked at some leather jackets by the same manufacturer and noticed they had two models of the same style, one made in the USA and one in China.
Hang on, relax, this is not political. I just want a leather jacket to aid in my efforts to look like, as Charlie Sheen says, a bitchin rock star from Mars. (On an aside, when I lived in Honolulu in 2001 some Japanese tourists asked for my autograph thinking I was the one and only Charlie).
Back to leather. The USA made one came with a “Made in USA” label, a designation of the union local that made it, and a price tag that was 25% higher. Ah, but what about quality you say?
In this case the stitching was superior in the made in China one. Not that the USA made garment was improper or flawed but simple things like loose threads were not removed and the excess thread on the reverse side of the buttons was not trimmed as evenly. Am I picky you ask, no not at all, not unless I am spending $625. Actually my picky gene kicks in around $100 truth be told.
Here is where I make some enemies. That union worker is secure in their job and is looking forward to quitin time. To keep the manager off their back they need to meet quota before the long weekend so they rush a few jackets though. What’s the harm, it will be caught in the quality control phase right? Besides, they can’t be fired for making a couple lousy jackets as they have seniority.
That same worker in China has a different motivation in that if they screw up their family goes hungry. Now, who is more likely to make a better quality garment?
As far as buying in the USA to help keep that union workers job here, why not buy the jacket made in China and donate that extra 25% to help retrain the unemployed?
Oh yes, my friend who lives in China laughs as he tells me of seeing workers sewing in a label that says “Made in USA” right there in Shanghai. Imagine that!
PS, go out and buy something made in Japan ASAP. Samurai jeans is a good place to start 🙂