Skip to main content

You’re probably all familiar with the old proverb

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

I had the misfortune of experiencing it firsthand. Puzzled? More after the break

My wife and I are building a backyard chicken coop. Hell, it’s more of a condo than a coop. Anyhow, we needed some trim boards and finishing nails to complete the inside so we headed to the Lowe’s in the nearby town of Issaquah (I’d have gone to the local hardware store but they don’t carry lumber). As I was looking at the nails I tried to find some made in the US. I figured there have got to be US made nails, so I started looking.

 As usual they have 300 kinds of nails but you can’t find the ones you need. Eventually I found the size/type I was after – one was from China – those were right out. The other was from Grip-Rite. The name sounded familiar, maybe they were an American company. Sure enough on the box they say they’re located in Texas. But where were the nails from? It actually took me a while to find where they were made. It’s listed on the package – in a 4pt font that most people would be hard pressed to find let alone read – “Made in UAE” That did it, I got mad. I got mad and I decided I was going to do something about it. I went to the service desk and asked to speak to a manager, they called one over.  The conversation, such as it was, went like this:

Me: “Do you have any American made nails?”
Mgr: “I don’t know, I’d have to look”
Me: “Don’t bother, you only carry two brands in this size, one is made in China, these are made in the UAE. Why don’t you carry American made nails?”
Mgr: “The UAE?”
Me:   “The United Arab Emirates. Why don’t you sell American nails?”
Mgr: “You have lots of choices..”
Me:  (cutting him off) “Sure, I can get Chinese nails, UAE nails, maybe Mexican nails, but none made in this country! You wonder why so damn many people are out of work in this country? Here’s why!”
Mgr: “I’m going to have to ask you to calm down.”
Me: “I’m going to have to ask you to carry American products or I’m not shopping here again.”

I actually made a bit of a scene. I got three shoppers to ask why I was upset. And one of the employees tried to find the place of manufacture and couldn’t until I showed him. Then he an I spent several minutes looking and couldn't find any American made nails or screws, though we did find some bolts. And it got me thinking of that proverb, updated of course:

For want of a nail a job was lost
For want of a job a home was lost
For want of a home a family was lost
For want of a family a town was lost
For want of a town the nation was lost
And all for the want of an American made nail.

The actions of the protesters in Wisconsin and elsewhere have given me some hope. Maybe, just maybe, if enough of us actually demand American made products whenever and wherever possible we might actually get them. Don’t just buy the Chinese-made or whatever product, even if it is the only one available. Yes, you might have to buy it, but complain first. Complain in person. Complain in writing. Tell them you’re going to take your business elsewhere (or nowhere if you can’t buy American). But don’t just buy it without complaining.

In the end I bought the damn nails because I thought I needed them. But when I got home and I was rummaging thru the garage to find my circular saw I found some old nails in a bag. I don’t know where they were made but they were from 15-20 years ago so there is a good chance they’re American.  I took the UAE nails back to Lowe’s the next day. I hope they sit on their shelves forever.

Updated by ontheleftcoast at Thu Feb 24, 2011, 03:15:04 PM

h/t to BlackSheep1 who found Maze Nails. An American manufacturer (and with a dealer in my home town, yay!)

Originally posted to ontheleftcoast on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 09:16 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Poll

Do you actively buy American?

34%57 votes
33%55 votes
26%44 votes
0%0 votes
1%3 votes
1%2 votes
2%4 votes

| 165 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site