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Our Story

How we stopped buying Made in China…

In February, 2006, our family decided to stop buying things made in China (“MiC”).  Completely.  We weren’t sure if it would be possible, if people would think we were crazy.  But in February 2006, our (now) 9 year-old’s Made-in-China (Gary Fisher) bicycle was the last pre-NMIC (“Not made in China”) purchase we made.  Not quite the last product made-in-China – see the box below – but just about.

OK, we’re not an entirely typical family in every respect, but pretty close. 1 house, 2 parents, 3 kids, 4 pet fish, a minivan, a schedule full of soccer, gymnastics, piano lessons, and church.  Weekdays spent waiting for Saturday (and work to end), and weekends spent waiting for Monday (and school to start). 

We think there a lot of good reasons to read the label when spending your hard-earned dollars.  This website gives some of those reasons, tells our story, and provides you with some tools if you want to start thinking about taking country of origin of the things you buy into account.  It's been over 2 years, and we're still going strong!

Buying Not Made in China (NMiC) has been great for our family, and has allowed us to exercise a measure of ethical judgment in our spending choices.  See our FAQ for answers to the most common questions about NMiC, but here on the NMiC Home Page, let me answer just one – Do you really think it makes a difference?  Well, I don’t think the Communist Party Central Committee has a task force working overtime to address our family’s spending choices, but I do think we make a difference, in 2 ways:

1.     It makes a difference to us – that is, we know that we’re doing what we believe to be right with the resources we have been entrusted with.  Maybe it’s a “sleep soundly at night” sort of answer, but each of us ultimately is accountable for our individual choices. I believe that great evils (like the World Wars) and times of great good (like the abolition of slavery) are more the result of the sum of many small choices made by many people than of the great leaders and big events.

Michael Jackson’s The Man in the Mirror says, “if you want to change the world, take a look at yourself and make the change.”  Not that I consider Michael a source of spiritual guidance, but for once, he’s right on – the only real power to change we have is in ourselves.

2.     We’re proof that it is (about 99.5%) possible to live NMiC, and even if the people we meet don’t engage in NMiC as completely as we have, next time they have a choice between two items, maybe they’ll buy the one made in USA, or in a democratic country like El Salvador. 

Thanks for visiting our page.  Your choices count!

Breaking the NMiC rule:

Our purchases of MiC goods after post-NMiC fall into two categories – unintentional ones, and those where for whatever reason, we felt there was no alternative. Here’s a snapshot of some of those: 

Apple Juice – Who would have imagined that with  1.6 billion people, China had spare apples to export, but look on the bottle of any Wal-mart store-brand apple juice, and you’ll see that China obviously does.  It happened by accident – Rhonda picked up two bottles, assuming they both came from the same places.  One was made using “concentrate from USA, Argentina, and Chile”.  The other?  “Concentrate from USA, Argentina, and…” you guessed it.

Watch out for other food! -  Pine nuts, raw garlic, mandarin oranges, smoked oysters and other processed fish, dried apples - and Pringle Stix.

Apple Airport Express -  This one is kind of annoying - I bought one online, made in Taiwan, ordered a second one and it was MiC!

No Other Choice purchases:

Kids Bikes – Arggh! we looked and looked. You can find adult bikes made in Taiwan, in Italy, etc. if you look.  But kids bikes? Nope.  So we bought a GIANT, since they at least make some bikes (not ours though) in Taiwan.


Laptop Powersupply – OK, the laptop is nearly 5 years old, the battery lasts about 2 minutes, and cellphones now have more RAM, but it has our whole iTunes library on it.  So when the power supply died, we compared the twin evils of buying a new laptop or just replacing the powersupply, and went for the latter option.  We figured either way, we were getting a MiC powersupply.  Looked at suppliers all over the world, but the only ones that fit were from China.


Hardware – I’m no Tim Allen, but I do try to fix things that break.  Building stuff is easier, because you can take the time to plan and source NMiC, but when things break, usually it’s whatever the Home Depot has that will have to do.  Case point: we have a pond with our fish in it, and the pond uses a pump to filter the water and keep it oxygenated.  So when the pump died at 9:30 at night before a trip, I had to buy whatever pond pump I could find at Home Depot or plan to replace some fish in a week – all the options were MiC.


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