Good stuff

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I’d like to expand on what I discussed on Tuesday, and on what David talks about today. And that’s good stuff, and where it comes from.

I’m a good, patriotic American, always have been, but some people think I’m not. Why? Because I buy what I consider to be good stuff that meets my demands for quality, without regard for where it comes from. I’m an equal-opportunity buyer: I’ll spend my money on whatever I consider to be the best product. Every manufacturer of every type of product has an equal shot. All they have to do is make good stuff that satisfies what I want. Simple.

I’m wearing a Carhartt flannel shirt I bought in 2008. As it happens, it’s the very shirt you see me wearing in the photo above right. I bought three that year, and love all three. I bought two more in 2010, but I rarely wear them because I don’t like them. The 2008 shirts were made in Pakistan; the 2010 shirts in India. Same brand, same size, same style, even the same model numbers on the tags, but in switching countries something changed and the newer ones just don’t fit the same way. I love those 2008 Carhartt shirts and will wear them till tattered, but I’ll never buy another because I don’t like the newer ones. They’re not good stuff, so bye-bye.

The Chinese-made Crocs currently on my feet are almost worn out because I wear them so much. I have other around-the-house shoes, but these are the best and most comfortable ones I own. I hope when I go to replace them that they haven’t changed.

However, the keyboard I’m typing on – the one attached to my excellent Chinese-made Mac computer – isn’t the keyboard that came with the Mac. That keyboard was an impossible-to-type on piece of junk. My keyboard is a new made-in-the-USA Unicomp keyboard, patterned on the original IBM model M keyboard from nearly 30 years ago (yeah, the loud clicky one), which was, by the way, also USA-made. I won’t use any other, because this one is simply the best.

Not caring where a product is made doesn’t make me a bad American. Being a good American means being smart enough to buy good stuff, not subsidizing inferior products simply because of someone else’s idea of what patriotism is. Instead, I’ll give my money to whoever makes me good stuff. In some cases, that means spending more; my American-made keyboard costs almost double what a replacement Apple keyboard costs, and it’s money well spent.

It’s the old build-a-better-mousetrap principle, really, and I’ll always buy the better mousetrap. No matter where it’s built.

A.J.

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