There’s no better time than now, as Black Friday and end-of-year holiday spending quickly approach, to make consumers aware that some companies are not what they lead you to believe. In fact, some American companies will do just about anything to convince you to buy their products — even if it means creating corporate videos filled with patriotic language and iconic symbols so you will buy their imported products.
Let me explain.
A few weeks ago, one of my sons needed new work boots. When he asked about buying boots, I only had one request: make sure they are manufactured in the US. A couple of days later, he told me he couldn’t find any US-made boots in his price range which prompted me and my husband into immediate action.
In a bout of dueling iPads, our search for an affordable American-made work boot landed us on the Wolverine website. Front and center on the homepage was a patriotic video filling me with American pride: “Every Stitch, A Story. Made True Since 1883″. In the first thirty seconds of the video, Wolverine packs in images of the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, the American flag, a Model T Ford, the Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, and Dodgers baseball. In the fifty-seven seconds that follow, the barrage of iconic American symbols continue. By the time the the video concludes, you will have seen not one but four images of the American flag. Very patriotic indeed. The only problem is that most of Wolverine’s boots are made in… you guess it — China!
But here’s the deal: I didn’t catch on until after we ordered the Wolverine boots. When they arrived, I excitedly opened the box and noticed the funny smell. Immediately I looked at the label and read “Made in China.” I was angry and disappointed. Angry at myself for falling for their video scheme and disappointed that, like most other US shoe manufacturers, they had sold out and were hiding the truth behind their video.
I went back to the Wolverine website to search more thoroughly for a real American-made boot. Frustrated with the search, I submitted a request through their website asking:
“How many of your boots lines are actually made in the USA. Seems like the majority are made in China.”
The next day I received the following response:
This number of boots may seem impressive until you go to the Wolverine website and search for work boots: there are 254 results. That’s a lot to sort through to find the few that are made in the US. What’s more, the boots that are made in the US cost a bloody arm and leg.
The least expensive pair is listed at $345.00 on the Wolverine website and the most expensive cost a whopping $555! My son works as a part-time package handler at UPS and goes to college. Neither of those options fit within his financial plan.
Thank goodness for Chippewa, whose tagline The Best. By Far seems most accurate. There’s no brand video on the homepage to misleadingly tug at your patriotic American heartstrings. Just the product and facts about the company. Through Chippewa, we found the perfect work boot for our son and he is very happy. Prices vary by retailer but I found them for $136 on Family Footwear.
It’s easy for online retailers to mislead buyers, but only if buyers are unaware of the tricks. Don’t fall for the moving American heritage video like I did and always confirm where your product is manufactured. So long as you are mindfully aware, you’ll be a happy shopper.
Additional Resource: Can’t close without telling you about Tic-Tac-Toes, another fantastic US shoe manufacturer that makes their product right in Gloversville, New York. Not only are their products top-notch, they have great customer service.
Do you know of a great US shoe manufacturer? Share it in the comments section below!
Image found here.