September 30, 2010

The Un-COOL-est Place I Know

It's getting to be that time of year again: the time of year where you suddenly realize that a major gift-giving holiday is approaching and you have NO! IDEA! WHAT! TO BUY!  Let alone how in the heck you'll afford it.  In response to this feeling, when Shannon found something that was both cheap and looked like it might make a good present, he grabbed it.  I won't say what it is, or who it's for, but I do bring it up for a reason:

Shannon bought it online - at woot! no less.

And it was made in Poland.

So, point #1: Shannon needs to know that I'm only buying American again.  I know we're separate people and all, but I was kinda hoping we would be doing this together, especially considering as how I spend less than 1% of the money in this house.  (Until tomorrow...Then I get to be in charge of grocery shopping again!)

But point #2 is more interesting.  After I made the mental note to talk to Shannon about buying domestic, I wondered where on earth he would have found out where this particular product was made.  I mean, I found out by looking at the packaging, but he didn't have the packaging right there in front of him when he ordered it.  All he had was the website.

A quick look at the website reveals that they don't include information about country of origin on their products.  Although I'm looking at a different product because they're not selling what Shannon bought anymore, I should imagine that the information they provide is pretty consistent from product to product. So if the website where I'm buying doesn't tell me where the product is made, where could I find it?

Do you really have to ask?

I asked Google.

And Google didn't know!  (How is there something - anything! - that Google doesn't know?  Are the Evil Overloads slipping?  Maybe I shouldn't have said that...)

Okay, so maybe woot! doesn't list country of origin.  But maybe they're weird, right?  So I checked Amazon.


I wanted to check other places, but I guess I'm either totally out of touch, or just too old for the internet, because I couldn't think of any other popular places to buy stuff online.  (*shakes cane* Darn-new-fangled-inter-webs!)  I did think of eBay and etsy, but since their products are sold by users who post their own product descriptions, country of origin information would be inconsistent at best.

But it still seems crazy to me that there's no listing like this on internet storefronts.  The reason we have country of origin labeling is so that we can make more informed choices as consumers, and although it's all well and good for that information to be provided on the packaging, having it on the packing does absolutely nothing for us if we're buying online.  I suppose that I could buy something just to get a look at it and return it if it's foreign; or maybe I could find the same thing in a brick-and-mortar store to check the packaging; or maybe I could research the hell out of it online and maybe Google would eventually be able to show me what I'm looking for.  But all of those seem REALLY HARD, and doesn't that negate the entire point of shopping on the internet?  You're buying online because it's easier and faster to research, find, and buy products online than it is in stores.  But if I can't figure out where my stuff is coming from when it's being ordered online, how is that making my life easier?

Question of the day: what do you think is the best way to handle this situation?  Stop buying online?  Crazy mad online research?  Buy and return?  Brick-and-mortar research?  Or do you have another idea?  Comment, my pretties, comment!

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes stuff labeled as made in America is actually only manufactured in America. One way to research is to find out who makes the product and visit the about us link on the company's website. Most corporations love to tell their story about when/where/how they were founded. You can usually pick up clues about where their products are made in this fashion.