Thursday, November 5, 2009

Diary of an American Shopper (WYCD On the Leesh Challenge)

Day 1:
Armed with my shopping list and an uber amount of confidence, I head
to the drug store. Perhaps I was filled with a cocky sense of pride.
This is America, I can find things that are made here. No Sweat! Our
forefathers joined to build a more perfect nation and all that jazz.
What's the big deal? I even decided to go easy on myself, opting to
shop at the Mega drugstore vs my small hole in the wall terribly
stocked chain that never has anything.

I look at the list and two items stared back - Small Garbage Bags &
Glass Cleaner. Piece. Of. Cake.

I walk into the sprawling metropolis, a rarity in Manhattan and
swagger my way straight for the cleaning supplies. I usually shop
Seventh Generation. They're made in America (What's up New England!)
and good for the environment. Win win! However, this store doesn't
stock Seventh Generation - news to me - so I must begin my OK Corral
face-off with the garbage bags.

I start with name brands, pick up box one. ABORT - Made in China.
Bummer. Then I go with the store-brand's eco-friendly line. Again,
Made in China. I start to sweat. My black hat-wearing opponent is
gaining the upper hand as Sergio Leone's music starts to play in my

Another box looks out at me, and I wrestle with the possibility that
only Seventh Generation garbage bags are made domestically. Can be
possible? This box will have the answer - I turn it over, and
apparently it's made no place. Not a good sign. I have decided unless
it says Made in the USA - it will not be traveling home with me.

Moving on - I will not be swayed in my quest for Glass Cleaner. Mark
my words! Product one....FAIL! Ugh - on to Clorox. Everyone has
heard of Clorox, and after my garbage bag debacle, I fear this means
defeat. I hear foreign music and voice overs in documentaries about
cutting costs by outsourcing production overseas. I flip over the
Green Works bottle, and... Surprise, Surprise this piece of plastic
bares the four most precious words to me this month- MADE IN THE USA.
WOOHOO! Happy dance begins, drop it in my basket and head to the check

but wait...

the candy is calling my name. Must. Resist. Urge. But all the
Halloween candy is on sale. Must have the Reese's Pumpkin - second
only to the Reese's Egg. LOVE IT!!!

I pick up the nice chocolatey goodness, flip it over and - WHAT?!
Hershey's, the quintessential America company is now making Chocolate
in Mexico? How can this be? It's true - here's the link to the article
I found.

I drop the candy back in it's SALE bin, and head to the register

Still in pursuit of garbage bags, I head to another drugstore which
apparently doesn't sell Seventh Generation either. The sweating
continues. (I mentally decide to pick up a deodorant) The Good the
Bad and the Ugly theme starts again - I unholster my hand from my
pocket, reach out for box one - box two - everything is made in
China. UGH! One more option. The discount bag. Braced with
trepidation - since the whole M.O. of these companies for outsourcing
is to cut costs - I flip over the box. and. It's MADE IN THE good ol'
USA. Go figure.

I happy dance over to the counter and take out my good old American

At the end of Day 1, I have learned a lot about where products are
made - but more importantly a normal one minute shopping trip took a
half hour. Isn't this what I wanted? To slow down and become more
conscious about my purchases. Overall I mark day one a success.

Diary of an American Shopper -

Day 3:
Back from a successful shoot for a client, I am in need of coffee.
This time of year, I love the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. I love
it so much, I send Julie photos of it when it comes back to the store.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! The warm smell, the cinnamon freshness.
DELICIOUSNESS abounds. As a treat, I head to Starbucks to get my
Latte, and as I hand over my cash, I am gripped with a horrific
realization. Starbucks is an American Company. The barista across from
me will be making my coffee in America. But where do these beans come
from? Where is the cinnamon imported from? The HORROR!!! And the
question is asked- how extreme do I want to go for this challenge?

For my home and office brews, the month of November is all about Kona
coffee and Sugar in the Raw. Both made on lovely island of Maui,
their tasty goodness doesn't let me down. I can feel the tropical
breezes and warm rays of the sun as the gentle aroma wafts up from my
coffee cup (made from a Pennsylvanian artist no less). At home and in
the office I'm on it, but on the road - what do I do?

And what do I do about products that can't even be Made in America -
Cinnamon isn't grown here, so what do I do? Eliminate it from my diet
completely or just opt for Fair Trade? Since Thanksgiving is in the
month of November, I opt for fair trade on this one.

But where was I. Oh yeah, In Starbucks.

My latte has been ordered; it's been paid for; it's been made. As my
name is called - I drop my head, take the coffee and sadly partake in
my imported defeat.

Overall I mark Day 3 a failure.

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