Lately, the past 5 years or so,I seriously read all labels. Whether I am buying a food item, a gift, an article of clothing or an item for my house, I read the labels carefully.
Regarding food items, I am always watching my diet. Although I fortunately don't have any food allergies, I check fat, carb, salt and calorie information as well as the ingredient lists. Shopping may take longer but it is well worth it.
Clothing.........almost nothing is made in the USA anymore but I still look and hope. Though it is hard to find American made clothing, there are definitely countries I will not buy from....that's another blog post, maybe! Of course, materials are important as I do have a wool allergy, so I check that as well.
Home and gift items.......here's the stickler and the provocation for this post. Today I was in a store downtown that advertises itself as an "old fashioned general store". They sell clothing, home goods, shoes, candy, etc. Do or did they have these stores in Vietnam? China? Rangoon? I walked towards some tiny sock monkey key chains....made in China. Nearby were local college mugs and sports paraphernalia...made in Vietnam. Across from them were embroidered towels made in Thailand....you get the picture, I'm sure.
And then I was reminded about buying handmade....items like sock monkeys and embroidered towels and sports paraphernalia that don't have labels because they are made in the USA by wonderful craftspeople with their blood, sweat, tears, talent and love.
So read labels. Be informed and when tempted to choose an item, check out handmade for similar and probably better items that keep your dollars local and support your neighbors. I certainly know price is often an issue, an important one but.....!
By the way, they had magnetic bookmarks, similar in concept to mine, with the store logo on them. I sell mine for $3.50....their's were...are you ready?......$0.99. Here are some of my new ones and I will unabashedly say bigger, prettier and well worth it. Oh, yeah, theirs were made in China but you knew that!