Buy American when you canOne of few advantages in becoming an old geezer is that by the time you reach my age (62), you don’t really need anything in the way of material gifts and gear. I have rifles, shotguns, knives, clothes, boots, a boat, a pickup, enough fishing tackle to open my own shop, and all the camping gear I ever will need.
By: Bernie Kuntz, The Jamestown Sun
One of few advantages in becoming an old geezer is that by the time you reach my age (62), you don’t really need anything in the way of material gifts and gear. I have rifles, shotguns, knives, clothes, boots, a boat, a pickup, enough fishing tackle to open my own shop, and all the camping gear I ever will need.
Still, it is interesting to peruse the multitude of catalogs that fill my mailbox every day beginning in October. (They are still arriving!)
I am not the first person to notice the lack of “made in USA” items today. Cabela’s, for example, the enormous outdoor store chain headquartered in Sidney, Neb. is loaded with stuff made in China. I see some boat rod-holders (which I do need) that are made in Canada, but most others are from China. Boots from a dozen or more makers are mostly made somewhere else. In fact, I recently read an angry letter on a hunting forum from a hunter who bought some Meindl boots, which he believed were still made in Germany. To his horror, they were made in Vietnam, and lasted three weeks before falling apart.
I suspect the Orvis Company from Manchester, Vt. has taken some complaints about the lack of U.S.-made gear, so in this year’s catalogs (they seem to send me one or two almost every day!) there is a section of U.S.-made gear. But hang onto your hats — flannel shirts made in Farmington, Mass. for $149, Gokey boots for $300 and more … that’s what it costs these days to buy something manufactured in the U.S.
Somewhere I read that even Rapala lures are no longer made in Finland. I can’t vouch for that, because my collection of Rapalas goes back decades. To the best of my knowledge, Eppinger Dardevles are still made in Dearborn, Mich. the very best hand-tied flies are fashioned by expert fly-tiers in the U.S.
The National Rifle Association also has fallen into the “made in China” trap. The NRA’s catalog is full of caps, T-shirts, sweatshirts and a hundred other items — almost none of which is made in the U.S. Look at an L.L. Bean catalog sometime and you will see the same situation — most everything is imported from somewhere else.
I noticed that even the great Filson Company based in Seattle — the company that made clothing for the miners who flocked to The Klondike in The Yukon Territory in 1898 — now imports its flannel shirts from outside the U.S. (Filson’s fine wool coats, vests and trousers, of which I own many, I am pleased to report still are made in the U.S. And the price reflects this. Most Filson woolens start at $150 or so and top out with the double mackinaw cruiser at close to $400.
A few months ago I saw an ad for a WaveSpin spinning reel. It looked pretty snappy to me, so I e-mailed the company, asked about the place of manufacture, and got a prompt reply from the company’s vice-president. He wrote, “If you are looking for a spinning reel made in the U.S.A. there is only one that is still assembled on our soil that I know of, and that would be Ardent Reels. Even U.S. Reel and Penn spinning reels are not made in the U.S.
“Don’t blame the reel companies, though,” he continued. “There is (sic) only one or two factories left in our country that will even consider taking on fishing reels as part of their production … we spent six months looking. AND, if one of those two was to be used, then a reel that sells for $90 would have to sell for $210 — much due to union factories and union trucking, but also due to taxes and other required fees.
“It is law that a product has to have where it is built on the box, so look carefully when you are shopping. You will find a ‘made in China’ on the bottom of the box of our reels. It is a shame for sure.”
So there you have it. Shop with caution and buy U.S.-made products when you can. And Merry Christmas to all of you loyal readers.