Saving Money in the New Year: No Cheap Crap from China

I try not to accumulate stuff. When, on the rare occasions I shop as a form of entertainment, I almost never actually purchase anything. We bought a small house not only to live within our means, but also to limit the amount of space we can dedicate to useless collections.

Still, I had a moment, earlier today, at Target.

A few days ago, my mom showed me what I assumed was a Blenko water bottle. She got it at Target for $10. I know that Blenko water bottles are generally about $45.

I have a little Blenko water bottle habit.

She said she would have bought more, but the one she had was the last one on the shelf. I assumed it was an actual Blenko water bottle that Target was making available for a limited time in that one aisle they set aside for special designer items, so I made a note to check next time I was in the store.

Time for tissue this morning, so I hit Target. Nothing in the special aisle, but, up on the top shelf in the regular glassware part of the kitchen section, two bottles sat, one close enough to the edge that I could reach it without having to ask for help.

Not Blenko. Anchor Hocking, made in China.

No sale!

The easiest way I’ve found to curb spending is my no cheap crap from China rule. Nine times out of ten, when I’m on the fence about purchasing something, I can find the willpower to put it back on the shelf and walk away when I see it is from China.

Here’s the deal with the water bottle. Blenko means a bottle that will appreciate in value, is American-made by a family-run company, and a supply chain carbon footprint that runs from West Virginia to Houston. Target means a bottle, not collectible, with a design that rips off the intellectual property of another company, and a carbon footprint that runs from China to Houston.

I’m not willing to say I’ll never buy anything made in China, but made in China seems to be a fairly reliable proxy for a whole slew of issues that are likely to influence my purchase.

You can walk around our house, no doubt, find plenty of things made in China. I just picked up my stapler to make the point to myself that it is impossible to ban China-made goods, but see that my long-lived Swingline was, in fact, made in Great Britain. Who knew?

I’m also not saying that I’m totally on board the buy local movement. I am not yet prepared to give up my Miquelrius notebooks from Spain, or my Italian and Spanish shoes, or French cookware.

I’m just saying that as a cost control measure, no cheap crap from China helps me keep it on the rails.

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1 Response to Saving Money in the New Year: No Cheap Crap from China

  1. Bill Shirley says:

    Between 1939 and 1956 Swingline was Speed Products Co., Long Island City, New York. My stapler is my grandfather’s and has that stamped on the bottom, and it’s awesome. One of my favorite possessions.

    And Swingline does produce their stuff in Mexico and China now.

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