More and more, our purchase decisions are driven by the cost, rather than by quality. People are focused on having ‘more’ instead of having ‘better.’ ‘The Latest’ drives purchase decisions instead of true need.
My sister-in-law recently got back from Sweden and nowhere else is this more evident. Swedes will own one washing machine for 15 or more years, until it grows completely uneconomical to repair it. Here’s a stunner: for a country with so many cold days, not too many Swedes own clothes dryers. The wash is hung in special drying closets instead.
To get to the point: We end up buying cheap junk made in China because we want stuff without thinking too much about where it comes from and how it’s produced. Lead paint scares and dead pets from toxins in pet food are two examples of the quality we have given up voluntarily through bargain-seeking.
A large number of exports from China are produced through the use of forced labor. No one involved in the production of those goods is making a living from the work of their hands. And how motivated do you think that person is going to be toward producing a good product, anyway…? “Oh, that paint’s got lead in it? So what? It’s paint!” No satisfaction, no pride of workmanship.
I would like to suggest that as Americans, we use our freedom of choice to buy locally when possible, and to decide to pay the extra to support our own economy. Spend enough dollars offshore, and our jobs go where your dollars went. Spend more here, keep everyone here working.
Americans may never be the top producer of stuff like Christmas lights; yet we as consumers can make a moral decision about the purchase. I would like to recommend Randy Alcorn’s Safely Home, for an eye-opening and satisfying read.
At the same time, we must make our products worth buying. This is key: If we produce better work, we begin to bring back the pride implicit in “Made In America.” When we have a premium product, with premium quality, people around the world will pay more for it. And our jobs stay here while our workforce grows. Let’s get back to work, and do that work well which God has given each of us to do. Doesn’t matter if it’s sweeping floors or flipping burgers or adding columns of numbers. God smiles when we do it well for Him. Think about this: Give your work today to God. Suddenly it becomes important to do a good job, doesn’t it?
And I know that even now, as I turn back to my regular work, I’m going to try to be just that more conscientious in what I’m doing. I’m starting here, where I am right now; will you join me?