Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Made in the USA? (Why It's a "Patriotic" and "Crunchy" Thing To Do)

The time has come for my baby boy to have his first "real" meal.  I have been holding out for awhile.  I think in part because he is growing so quickly and I want to keep him a newborn forever.  Obviously that's not an option, so in eleven days he is going to be 6 months old and it's time for me to make that leap.

One of the items I've yet to acquire is a set of eating utensils.  Now simple living might dictate that I just use what I already have, and I might just do that.  However, I know that a soft spoon would feel much nicer on my little one's gums.  Yet, when I go and look for some to purchase I find that there are really not a lot of options if I want something environmentally safe and something that is made in the USA.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not an uber-patriotic type, not that there is anything wrong with that (unless you're the xenophobic kind).  I'm just a little concerned with all the reports that continue to come out about food and toys coming out of China being contaminated in some ways by lead or other harmful substances and also the more recent tragedy in India where over a 1,000 workers lost their lives.  These reports cause me to take a hard look at my own spending habits and purchasing choices and how they affect the greater good.

Buying products that are "Made in America" sounds ideal and all, but talking about it and actually doing it are two different things.  I'm finding it very difficult to find many goods that meet this requirement.  Go to Wal-Mart, (an "all American" store loved by those "uber-patriots" that I spoke of before) and try finding something that was actually made in America.  It's not an easy task and honestly we as American consumers are mostly to blame.  Of course there's lots of blame to go around.  Some will blame the corporations, some blame the US government, many will blame China or other overseas countries.  However what it really comes down to is cost.  Wal-Mart is concerned with their bottom line the same way millions of families around the world are also concerned with theirs.

Simple living shouldn't just be about how to live on a dime.  Of course when you live simply you don't need lavish or unnecessary things.  I believe simple living should be not about never spending money, but rather when the time comes to spend, we buy things that we need and that will last with QUALITY in mind.  If we keep quality in mind, ideally we will spend less in the end.

When shopping I think it's also important to ask ourselves, why is it cheaper?  As a collective group we seem to love a good sale (think Black Friday) and yet we also love to complain about jobs being shipped overseas or the lack of government oversight when our dog food from China is found to have poisons.  If we truly care about living conditions of our fellow man and the current state and future of our own living conditions here in America, does it make sense to trample each other on this new national holiday in order to save a few bucks on cheap plastic goods that we really do not need?  Do we really need this new "sport" in America?

The argument is that "Made in America" is a label that many simply cannot afford. However, are the implications to the future of our country, the health of our families, and the greater good of a global workforce reasons enough to cause a rethinking of our spending habits?  It's apparent that governments and politicians push for a one world economy where profit numbers speak volumes.  But what about the cost to our planet?  Is it acceptable to purchase goods that were essentially created on slave labor wages?  Is it possible to purchase quality items made here in the U.S. and not pay exorbitant costs?  Would "Made in America" be more in our reach if we spent less on crap and more on quality?

Essentially, this topic is one that warrants much more discussion and depth than I am able to provide.  I just wanted to touch on some of the issues that I was thinking about in my quest to simply find a baby spoon. Seems like everything I try to do simply still warrants choice and contemplation.  Then again, maybe that's what is at the heart of "simplicity"....conscious choices.

So what about those baby spoons?  Forget about finding anything in the stores.  When doing a general online search I found not a lot, but there are a few options.

  Baby Liberty Soft-Bite Spoons

Green Eats 8 Pack Feeding Spoons, Yellow

Green Toys BPA-Free Feeding Spoon/Fork

Spuds Utensil Set, Red

Re-Play 8 Count Utensils

Camden Rose Maple Bowl and Baby Spoon Set

        Constructive Eating Garden Utensil Set

BABYBJORN Plate and Spoon, Green (made in Sweden)

I haven't decided which ones we are going to go with.  I know that I need to make up my mind soon.  They all seem to have their pros and cons.  In then end I would love to find something that's cute but more importantly I want it to last.

What do you think?  Are there any of these anyone has tried?  Are there any other options that I missed?

Disclosure:  I was not given compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.  This post does contain affiliate links.