Be reasonable about what you buy; help local traders, waste flow and supply chain | Quigley

Press reviews are so contradictory – a consumer doesn’t know what to do.

First of all, they keep warning us that supply chain safeguards probably mean we can’t get the Christmas gifts we want for our family and friends if we don’t order them now. Hurry up, hurry up, they tell us. Buy now.

Then the following story tells us that safeguarding the supply chain is all our fault, that we consumers have ordered so much from so many sources that shippers just can’t keep up with, and things won’t get better until we all reduce to ordering.

Frankly, none of these reports ring true to me.

I know things like appliances and auto parts take a long time to ship. I understand the main reason is that factories cut back on manufacturing during the pandemic because workers had to stay home. I also think reports indicate that shipping companies now cannot encourage enough workers to return to work quickly enough to catch up.

Yes, that means we have to order early for the things we absolutely need, but it also means we have to be reasonable about what we need.

Everything that we cannot do without is not from China or some other foreign supplier. There is no better time than now to say that products made in the USA are worth a little more money. American workers are better paid and have better benefits than foreign workers, so the things they produce will be a little more expensive. But they’re generally worth it.

Not just because workers deserve to be paid well. Also because the manufacture and distribution of these products is overseen by a variety of government agencies whose mission is to make sure that no one gets ripped off along the way. Most American products have performance and reliability guarantees. Not all products made abroad can keep these promises. Products made in the United States can be more durable and sturdy, which turns out to be a worthwhile investment.

We have become a throwaway culture. We buy cheap clothes designed to last only a season, schlocky toys that won’t outlast a neglectful toddler (and aren’t they all?), And shoddy household items that barely do. work before collapsing. Then we throw the unnecessary things in the trash and buy more, not better than the last.

I’m certainly not recommending that we revert to the WWII era motto: “Use it, wear it, do it or do without”. I love the latest trends in clothing and home decor as much as anyone, but I recommend leaving out the trash, especially this year, and only buying things that we can use and enjoy for a while. time.

Doing this won’t instantly improve the supply chain, but it will help us appreciate our possessions a little more. And we’ll save money in the long run, including reducing the cost of disposing of all this waste.

Now that we can shop at local stores again, let’s do it. Of course, I also love the convenience of shopping at home, having packages delivered, and only having to browse websites rather than scouring malls to locate a hard-to-find item. But hey! stop ordering things like toothpaste and pantyhose from online retailers and go out and support your local merchants.

Of course I have to put a plug for the Christmas spirit. Remember, it’s not just about the fanciest decorations and the most extravagant gifts. It is love, joy, the only thoughtful gift that will mean anything to the recipient, and kind consideration for those who cannot get or give anything. Also remember this while you’re in the mood to spend.

An old assemblya of Jersey City, Joan Quigley is President and CEO of North Hudson Community Action Corp.

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