Would you prefer shopping at the international chains and seek world class brands than the local ones? How can this tendency be reconciled with the suggestions that consumer have a strong tendency for home country of origin of many goods? Can a government take any action to discourage consumers from purchasing foreign goods?
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My shopping preferences are for local goods and for maximum value.
To win my money, the best quality products must also have a price point situated in such a position so that the quality per dollar ratio represents what I take to be "good value". (I will gladly pay $2 dollars for a cheaply made plate or cup instead of paying $1,000 for a really well made plate or cup, because the $2 item has a greater value.)
So, if I had access to high quality and high value foreign-made goods to the exact same degree that I had access to local goods of lesser quality and lesser value, I would be in a quandry.
Due to costs of shipping, I would hope that locally produced goods could make up in value what they may have to compromise in quality so that those locally made goods can still be the best value product.
I try to support the "local guy" when it is economically feasible, and I do pay attention to where things are produced, but as others have noted, at the end the of the day, I want quality, and I can't ignore my bottom line. I live in a colder climate, so I can only buy local produce about half of the year. I love to go the local farmer's market, and I am willing to pay more than at the chain grocery store, but not on everything. I have to make choices. For things like clothing, I tend to shop at the larger chains and pay less attention to where it was made because I am more concerned about style, fit, and cost.
I would have to say that the product cost and durability is most important to me. If I can purchase a car which gets better gas mileage from a foreign producer, I will buy the foreign car. As for products that are locally constructed, I do enjoy supporting American products, but only if they are affordable. Given that I live in a farming community, local produce does not pose a difficult decision--I buy local.
It depends on what it is. Why buy lettuce from China if you can get it fresher locally? Regarding durable goods, like appliances or cars, It would be nice to buy American, but that nicety has an intrinsic cost -- you may be rebuying the same item again after the first one fails. Although that's thankfully not universal for all American products, people will buy what they perceive to be the best value; all the government will do is discourage those choices (but not eliminate them) through tariffs or taxes. The wealthy will buy whatever they want anyway.
Governmental influence on purchases made by individuals mainly takes the form of tariffs or taxes imposed on the products imported from other countries. If products are completely banned, customers can choose to take the risk of purchasing from the black market, which I suppose is another form of government control due to the possibility of arrest for disregarding the blockade.
As previous posts have indicated, I think the choice of where to purchase a particular item is influenced by the purpose of the purchase. If exchange of something I buy for myself is a possibility, I like to purchase from local merchants whenever possible and practical. If I'm sending something to someone not from my area, I'll probably use a larger vendor to simplify the recipient's life if exchange becomes necessary.
Really the only thing the government can do is to impose things like tariffs on goods from other countries. The government could simply ban goods from other countries, though many governments have entered into organizations like the WTO that would not allow such actions.
I sort of doubt the idea that customers actually prefer domestic products. In the US, people are always talking about buying American and yet the best selling cars are foreign. I think it's something we give lip service to but don't really believe in.
I think many consumers shop at the international chains when they are purchasing something as a gift. If I mail my cousin a wedding gift, I want her to be able to return or exchange it in her home town. If I purchase something for her from a local store, she won't be able to. The international chains can be cheaper than the local chains, but it is important to support our local, small businesses. Local groups often take action and try many methods to encourage shoppers to seek local products. The government also takes action to encourage local purchases. There are import taxes and other factors involved in purchasing goods not made in this country.
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