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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Buying American

I have a husband who believes in buying American, primarily when it comes to automobiles, but really, it could be anything.  Not that he reads a lot of clothing tags, so it’s selective reasoning, but he has been known to reject apparel made in Myanmar (child labor), or Egypt (the Moslem Brotherhood)….

His reluctance to buy a German car is pretty understandable after World War II.  More out of necessity, while not listening to his inner voice, we once found ourselves in the position of buying one that promptly blew up a week after our purchase.  I kid you not.  Go figure.

He feels the same about Japanese cars, good safety ratings or not.

“They were our ENEMIES,” he reminds.  “The Japanese, the Germans….”

“The Italians…” I tag-on for his Italian benefit.

“Very funny.  Would you like to discuss the Cold War?” he adds for my Russian benefit.

Both of our fathers were in WWII, so I understand the sentiment of not wishing to help their economies.  He has no problem with the people themselves.  It’s also a well-known fact that many foreign cars are now made in America, while many American cars are made abroad with cheap labor.  There are a number of philosophical arguments to be made either way.

We probably should buy another car sometime soon, and truly, what most consumers want is the same thing:  a car with a low price tag, offering high gas mileage.  In our case, if it has to seat six people and two dogs, good luck with that.

Personally, I dream of a tiny car, a Smartcar, or the Fiat 500, or the mini-Cooper, just big enough to seat me, myself, and I, which would technically be myself, and Scotties Misha and Grisha.  The three of us, period.  Alright, maybe Petya, he’s a good egg.  And a few pairs of shoes, or my very large purse.  Zip around town.

Let’s just say that the ethical questions of something’s origins don’t keep me awake at night, but concern me with the same low-level of angst that, if I thought about it enough, would equal my dislike for any animal giving his life for my evening meal.  (And  I always thought it curious that when donations were being solicited for Russian orphanages, it was always emphatically stated that Chinese goods would not be received in any way, shape, or form.)

If I could ride a bicycle and carry groceries in a basket, that would work, too.  But a peasant skirt, espadrilles, and straw-hatted bicyclist on the side of a highway doesn’t sound like the smartest idea, no matter if the bike were made in America or not.  Along with the fact that feeding a family of six would require a couple of side-cars to stock full of supplies.  Then I’d need to upgrade to a moped or motorcycle, and dress in goggles and leather helmet, a modern version of the WWI flying ace.

“Mama, I have a question,” Petya ventures during a long, mother-son trek.  He’s been thinking about all of the car talk with his 16th birthday approaching in the fall.

“If Papa believes in buying American, how does he feel about buying Italian?  I mean, would he feel okay about a Maserati, or Bugatti?” he wonders.

“I can see these things weigh heavily upon your young mind,” I smile.  “I’m sure he would have no problem, whatsoever,” I laugh.  “Did I ever tell you about the time an acquaintance wanted to give him a Maserati?”

His eyes widen, and I relate to him how his father turned down the offer for reasons all his own.

“But are you asking about him and Italian cars, or yourself?”

He chuckles as we discuss the world economy, justice and injustice, sweatshops, and how we might make a difference in the world.  I nudge him and nod my head in heavy traffic, as a yellow Lotus stealthily slips up on our right.

“Oh, wow!” he exclaims, as all of our philosophizing flies out the window.

Do you have similar scruples?



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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Winnie says:

    I would love to have similar scruples. However on a middle class budget it’s pretty difficult to “buy American” in most things.

    We have Toyota mini-van, I didn’t really make the decision to not buy a Japanese vehicle I made a decsion b/c that was the best value for my money. I can’t afford to make a large purchase based on ethics, wish I could. When Detroit starts making comparable vehicles in quality/design/ and price to the imports they might have my business. Yes I did look at American made vans and they felt cheap even with fancier features and a lower price than the Toyota and had lower reliability reviews (the most important thing for me) For what it’s worth our other vehicle is a Ford and Hubby is always out there tinkering with the dang thing. In 100K more miles I’ll shop again, if American manufacturers can put a vehicle in front of me that is good quality at a competitive price I may buy it. But to me the problems felt by the American automotive manufaturers were brought on by themselves not offering good products at competitive prices. Yes I know they pay laborers in Japan low wages, but does and American auto worker really derseve $40 an hour to put a tire on all day? Besides with the way they outsource and build cars is a car really “American” made when the tires are made in China, the radio in Japan, and alternator in Mexico?

    • avatar admin says:

      At those pay scales, maybe the assembly line would be a good alternative Plan B type of thing if the kids aren’t cut out for college-! Hmmm…

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