I have made a commitment to buying local whenever I can and to supporting American business whenever possible. I try to avoid buying Chinese, though I often fall short because I can’t find American or European made products. So much of what is in the stores is produced in countries which are theoretically enemies of America.
Recently I have had two experiences which have backfired. I found an alternative American source for a product we sell to replace an item that we discovered was being made in China. We contracted for the product to be made with our company logo and felt good about “buying American.” We told the manufacturer that he was chosen because he is American and we wanted to support American business. And then the products came–many of them were defective. He gave us all kinds of excuses and said that the defects are not serious enough to do them over. He also told me that we are the only customers who have ever complained about the quality. They were, in fact so bad that we couldn’t sell many of them. His attitude was just plain awful and the fact that we chose him because his business is American didn’t faze him. In fact he got just plain rude when I told him the quality was inferior to the Chinese ones we were replacing. We won’t be doing business with him anymore.
The second instance was with a local business. I mean real local. I live in the country and chose a jeweler who is nearby to fix a ring. The fix didn’t last so I returned the ring to the jeweler. When I went to pick it up, she tried to charge me again for the repair. I told her that I wasn’t expecting to have to pay again for a repair that had just been done in her establishment, and her response as she waved the back of her hand at me was “OK, just take it.” I can’t put her tone of voice in writing, but trust me, it wasn’t friendly. I won’t be doing business with her again.
Is business so good that small companies as well as American manufacturers can treat their customers so poorly? Or is this part of the loss of civility we are all experiencing in today’s post-modern America? I am puzzled by it.
I will continue to buy local and American when I can, but I won’t support businesses that treat customers with contempt. Those enterprises deserve to fail. After all, who provides their paychecks but their customers?