Following on from yesterday’s blog, Made in America Toys – At What Price?, about the pro’s and con’s of spending more on made in USA toys vs. spending less on made in China toys, here’s a recent post by Harold L. Sirken at Businessweek’s The Management Blog: Made in the USA’ Still Matters.
In it, he relays research that shows that:
80 percent of Americans………will pay more for products labeled Made in the USA.
He goes on to say:
60 percent of Chinese consumers also are willing to pay more for products labeled Made in the USA—as much as 80 percent more, in some cases….
To most of the world, “Made in the USA” still means something special: quality, dependability, safety, reliability—products that feature the most advanced technologies and the hippest styles. Buy these products, and you too can share in the American dream.
So, that doesn’t answer my question about buying American made toys, but it’s an interesting twist to learn that the Chinese and others value the made in America label.
What premium would you pay for made in America toys?
As some of you may know, Turner Toys exhibited at the Vermont Rails Model Railroad Show yesterday. While we had a great response for our classic toys and educational toys, we were not as successful with our wooden trains and wooden track for children.
If you can’t sell wooden trains at a train show, you know something is wrong.
What we found out from some folks is that they can buy inexpensive wooden track that works with Brio and Thomas the Tank Engine from outlet stores and toy companies on the internet. Where are those wooden trains & tracks made? Not surprisingly, they are made in China. Our wooden trains and track are made by Maple Landmark in Middlebury, Vermont.
Turns out that you can buy kids’ trains and track from these stores for less than we purchase them from Maple Landmark.
Not all made in China toys are bad. We carry the award-winning toy, Woodkins Dressup Doll, that is made in China. We know that there is strict oversight and product safety testing.
In a positive light, cheaper products are an economic benefit to consumers. On the other hand, we know the value of buying made in USA toys. Several sites such as Made in USA Challenge highlight the economic, environmental and cultural value of buying local.
What do you think? Spend more money for high quality, American-made toys that support your neighbors or save money by spending less on products that may or may not be high quality and benefit other economic markets?
What matters most to you?
I took a break from Turner Toys to visit the Vermont Flower Show which is down the street from us at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction.
At this time of year, Vermonters are always itching for some signs of spring. Luckily, the show did not disappoint. This year’s theme is “The Road Not Taken,” inspired by Robert Frost’s poem. Robert Frost has a special place in Vermonters’ hearts so it wasn’t a surprise to find his poem as inspiration for this year’s show. According to the organizers, Green Works, the theme lies in the:
“discovery of less-travelled places, exploration of the natural world and reconnection with forgotten wonders of enchanting green space. The poetry of Robert Frost often draws upon the landscape of New England and his home here in Vermont.”
The central display ranges from “literal interpretations of the theme to the more abstract: paths to choose from; asphalt jungles with glimpses of green; backyard urban micro-homesteads; bees; chickens, there are many opportunities for wonder and discovery.”
There was a re-creation of Robert Frost’s writing cabin and, as a part of the urban display, a narrow alley with graffiti-adorned walls, strewn garbage and some pretty tough plants.
Forecast for tomorrow calls for snow…….
What are your favorite signs of spring? And, are you seeing any yet where you live?
Not sure how I feel about this, but the New York Times ran an article today: Gym Class isn’t Just Fun and Games Anymore. In some school districts, PE teachers are incorporating academic concepts and lessons into their PE classes. For example,
” while in push-up position, they balanced on one arm and used the other (“Alternate!” Ms. Patelsky urged. “That’s one of your vocabulary words”) to stack oversize Lego blocks in columns labeled “ones,” “tens” and “hundreds.”
I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing to combine physical activity or entertainment with education. Isn’t that what parents are looking for in?
As a seller of classic and educational toys, Turner Toys, is proud to offer many toys that provide fun and learning opportunities. For example, our Butterfly Alphabet Wooden Puzzle uses puzzle play to teach capital letters, colors, problem solving and improve your child’s fine motor skills. Plus it’s fun. Is it any different than what these schools are doing?
As a music educator, I know that teachers are being required to incorporate literacy and math concepts into all subjects. I do want my students to know that when they study violin, they are learning science (acoustics), language (music notation & foreign musical terms), math (rhythm reading and performing), etc. That’s on top of the art, beauty and emotion that they express through their music.
There is the argument that kids need to run around and move. Some say that’s what recess is for. I know that my children only have recess through the 5th grade. More and more schools have cut recess and PE (and music and art) for budgetary reasons but also to devote more time on “academics” because of the pressures of test scores.
Tell me what you think about integrating academics (even superficially) into physical education (or art or music)?