Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Black Friday! MOJO Article Comment: O Say Can You Buy?

This is the second anniversary post about Black Friday. Am I going shopping today, instead of adhering to Buy Nothing Day? Pshaw! Just came back from shopping for weekend supplies from my friendly neighborhood Publix. And after the old man and DJ go to the museum they are Christmas shopping. So, our household has not embraced Buy Nothing Day this year. But, we always like to wring as much humor value out of the idea that people would wait in front of Beast Buy at 4:00 am in the morning to get a deal on a new plasma TV. You wait in line all night for Beatles tickets, not a TV.

Here is a snippet from today's NY Times article by Michael M. Grynbaum:
Nikki Nicely, 19, wanted a television — a 40-inch Samsung flat-screen, to be exact, on sale for $798, marked down from $1,000, and available for a limited time in the wee hours of Friday morning at the Wal-Mart store in Columbus, Ohio.
So, at 4:40 a.m., when a fellow shopper tried to pry away the box she had been guarding for an hour, Ms. Nicely did not play nice. She jumped onto the man’s back and began to pound his shoulders, screaming, “That’s my TV! That’s my TV!”
A police officer and security guard intervened but not before Ms. Nicely took an elbow in the face. Still, when the dust settled, she had her hand on the box. “That’s right,” she cried as the man walked away. “This here is my TV!”

ROAR! Nikki wasn't being Nicely, she was being Nastly. And she kicked ass, too. Why do these things always happen at Wal-Mart?

So, anyway, I was reading the online Mother Jones articles -- I posted last week sometime about an article on different sources of carbon emissions and the ways to reduce them.  And there was this new one called "O Say Can You Buy?" about how the writer spent a week trying to buy nothing but American-made products. Talk about futile exercises to prove a point. Yes, yes, we're lame because we don't manufacture and produce as much of our own stuff as we used to.

But you would think that the author would have spent a little time prior to her week of buying only American-made products planning for the thing, instead of launching herself into Nordstrom's looking for a bra manufactured in the US.  Nordstrom's?  Really?  

The comments were pretty illuminating, like the poster who blamed this on unions raising their wages so much that it forces American companies to use other countries for their production.  I wish this noise about how unions are ruining American manufacturing would die down soon -- American unions are about the only thing keeping middle class Americans in the narrow margins of this shrinking tax-bracket.  Yes, you pay more for union-made products, but you are also supporting fellow Americans.  

I liked the comment by Kathleen Pelley who buys food from her local co-op and knits her own clothes.  This stuff takes planning and it also takes time -- not everyone can knit and not everyone has the time to knit, but seeking out those who do and paying them a decent price for a sweater or pair of socks would be a start.  

The author also forgot about the concept of buying used clothing, which is about the next best thing to buying American.  Buying bras this way might be tricky, and buying underwear used is just yucky, but there are other ways around that, such as making your own undies out of used T-shirts, for instance (gratuitous plug).

The article was funny and sad, on the whole, mostly because it could have highlighted alternatives more and she could have taken longer than a week to explore these avenues.  As a gonzo piece it was fine; I guess I'm just saying that buying "American" is a concept that takes lots of planning and not relying on normal modes of consumerism.

Okay, that's it, I'm tapped.  Back to the thesis.

Got the pic from Funkyunk -- Busta is getting his plasma TV, yo.
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