JF Ptak Science Books LLC
This enormous neon sign is the identifier chosen for our locally-owned chain supermarket here in Asheville, North Carolina. It signifies that the people who own the store are American; it certainly has nothing to say about the supposed American distribution of the money spent in that chain, or how much of it replaces money sent out (along the wholesale food chain) for all of the products sold in the store that come from not-the-U.S.A.
There's nothing necessarily wrong with non-American products being sold in boldly-proclaimed "American Owned" store, the owners proud that the people giving them their money in this mountain town 450 miles from the ocean are giving it to a Native Son. The fact that this store is selling all manner of goods from all of the world seems to skirt the patriotic pronouncement of its pediment. Is it really necessary that they sell six brands of apple juice, four of which are manufactured with apples brought in god-knows-how from China? (Mott's is one of these very national brands using Chinese apples--the country of origin is stamped in small blue letters near the mouth of the bottle.) Ditto for orange juice--there are more brands, but the percentages of national/international seem to be about the same. Even outside of fruits and veggies, it is very remarkable to me how many of the non-specialty products that line our supermarket shelves come are manufactured overseas, eating up shelf space for home-grown/produced/manufactured American products.
This little screed could go on and on--I really just wanted to visit the issue of apple juice--especially since we're in the heart of apple country, and the distribution of these juices stays the same even when our apples are in season. It seems entirely wrong and suspect that by some great unknown mechanism it is cheaper to send a ship filled with apple-squeezings half-way around the world, only to bottle it with sugar and water and other stuff, and sell it cheaper than the juice grown/produced/packaged just 15 miles away. Somewhere along the food chain in this apple example must be a very weak link, which I guess must be the Chinese farmers and laborers, who must make--literally--nothing.
This store also used to sell American flags made in China--but they went away.
I am reminded that Wal-Mart originally distinguished itself as a "Buy American" store all those years ago, but that sentiment has long since passed into a dirt-filled bone-hole out there in red Arkansas clay, waiting for the time when it never existed.
"American Owned" does not make an American-goods-sold-here store, not by any means.
A friend of mine owns a clothing store with upper-end, better-made lines of outdoor wear. He has seen many of his top suppliers of American made goods take their business offshore. There is an appreciable difference in quality, and no difference in price--there is of course a greater profit to the owners who are banking on and exploiting the corporate brand. My friend won't carry these goods anymore, for many reasons, not the least of which is the salty quality. He has gone so far as to include a large (tastefully designed) sign announcing "Not one thing here made in China". Customers love the sentiment, and then most chase after wherever the cheaper-made Chinese variants made off to. Some things just aren't right.