Recently I had to buy some new jeans, my old jeans had reached the point beyond patching and I was down to my last two good pair. The others had assorted holes and such that would have been fine for some young 20 something hot gal, but when the same holes are in pants worn by an ageing baby boomer that could loose a couple of pounds it is more like an indecent exposure bust.
I had been dreading shopping for new jeans as my size is a bit odd and usually I end up needing to order the pants even from the local stores. Also the cost has been getting beyond ridiculous. All the overseas outsourcing and the price keeps going up.
A quick recon run to my local store yielded not much, Levis not in my size and made in some country that I had never heard of. Later I figured out the country was some lump of an island in the South Pacific. Levis from the South Pacific, a long way from the gold fields of California. Cheap labor and the price still had not went down, not a good start at all.
I had been listening to Big Eddie flog Made in America on his radio show so I decided to at least look at his advertisers since the odds were that I would need to order them anyway. So a few clicks a Google search and I ended up at Made in USA Forever, then there was the problem of converting the many options to a style that I liked and would fit.
After many page views I finally decided on two pair each of Carpenter Jean’s and Relaxed Fit, Lower Rise, Boot cut. Put the order in and wait for the UPS guy. Of the two styles the Carpenter Jean’s are the favorite, roomy front pockets of heavy material, and yes one day I will figure out something to put in the side pocket or the hammer loop. (PS – I think now they will do any pants custom inseam, so if you need say 33 1/2 and not 34 go ahead and ask, I bet they will make them fit!)
A few days later the jeans arrived, a short hand written thank you note from Todd the founder and president was also enclosed along with several business cards.
Well what did I think? Well, blue, they fit, lasted through the first few wash cycles, denim felt good quality, extra stitching in the spots it is needed. Friends said they looked good, could not believe the price (about $ 35—plus shipping).
Long term quality? Well stay tuned and I will let you know in a couple of years. So far they have survived a few washings and all is well.
The cost was about $ 10—a pair less than the made in wherever Levis at my local store and maybe half the cost of the fancy pants at the fancy store. What should we think of the whole thing? One friend is still in shock over the cost I paid, she had just went through the new pants trip with her husband and collage age kids and they paid a lot more per pair than I did.
Where did the extra money go? Why if the labor is so much less than it was before has the price not went down? Where have all the profits gone? I doubt that Todd at Made in USA Forever is doing this as a hobby.
The magic words are “Transfer Payments,” sounds harmless enough. If it costs say $ 10—to make a pair of pants overseas and ship it and it is wholesaled for $ 30—then there should be $ 20—profit, right? Wrong again suckers! First you create a shell company (wholly owned) with it’s headquarters in some tax haven overseas. The shell company then buys the pants and sells them to the US parent company for $ 28—giving only a $ 2—margin. The $ 18—just stays in a tax-haven, sort of like moving a $ 20—bill from one pocket in your pants and then saying “look honey we are broke.” The transfer payment scam is so bad that over 10 years ago Forbes Magazine, you know “The Capitalist Tool” said the transfer payments were a big scam that was being abused and costing the US billions in lost tax revenue. So when even a pimp for billionaires says something is being abused you KNOW things are getting out of hand. The companies still use the local infrastructure like police, fire and roads but they are no longer paying for them, so who pays? Well you do you, after all someone needs to pay for the industrial welfare the billionaires receive.
And we wonder why the jobs are disappearing, borrow for billionaires with tax breaks to send your job overseas.
Does Made in USA count anymore? Well yes and no – When was the last time you went in and ask for “Made in the USA” at the store? When was the last time you saw a sign “Made in the USA” at your local store? Well “Made in the USA” still counts, just not in the US I got a newsletter from Todd and one of the things in it was that they were shipping jeans overseas. Levis are not made in the US anymore so they are not as desirable as they were several years ago. People overseas still value “Made in the USA” so Todd has started shipping his genuine “Made in the USA” jeans to people that used to buy Levis. The shipping seems to be a pain in the rear end, but Todd and his company are if nothing else true believers in “Made in the USA” so they are shipping jeans overseas to anyone they can figure out how to make the shipping work.
Hats off to someone that still believes in good old “Made in the USA”
UPDATE: Sept 26, 2012 – well after two years the pants are still hanging in there – the Carpenter pants have been worn almost daily – did need to to do some patching a while back on a couple of pair, but given the amount of wear and abuse probably not too bad a record. So I just reordered three pair of the carpenter jeans and a couple of the other pants to see how they work – so yes I did reorder and they did last – not sure if it is new or not but they have a 14 oz. All Purpose Jeans so I am giving them a try – sound heavy duty.
– m /m –