Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Don't Do Cross-Border... Yeah Right.

I have had a few individuals give me grief because they don't like that I take a group of sewers to the American Sewing Expo just across the Ontario-Michigan border. I usually don't get into it, as I pick my battles. And of course, the customer is always right, right?

If you shop at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Michael's, The Bay or Target, guess what? You are cross-border shopping. And you can argue that they employ Canadian locals, but at what cost? Minimum wage jobs with few benefits. They put many locals out of business, so that you can have cheap goods from China.

Many quilters buy cheap fabrics online from U.S. retailers and show up at the local quilt store for blenders or backings. Garment sewers order Kwik-Sew, McCall's, Butterick and Vogue patterns online. Online shopping from the U.S. is cross-border shopping too.

Like it or not, the U.S. is our neighbour, and we could do a lot worse. Most of the exhibitors at the American Sewing Expo are small to mid-sized businesses. The teachers are creative individuals without whom there would be far fewer resources for us. Even the sewing machine companies are small players on a global scale. And none of them caused a global recession.

And if you don't think your local retailer is buying the majority of their goods from suppliers in the U.S., you are mistaken. My point is, a little weekend of fun and shopping at an independently run sewing show in Michigan is hardly unpatriotic.

1 comment:

  1. You are dead right. Of course all of those stores you name channel their profits into the US.
    I would die of joy if I could truly shop totally Canadian. As it is, there is a hierarchy of dislike for other countries.
    Some I will simply not support no matter what I need or want-- not just because of working conditions but because people who criticise the government, even a little, tend to vanish.

    Others I try hard to avoid- but sometimes it just becomes an impossible feat.

    Somehow I have thought of crafts as a sisterhood, where we all enjoy our respective hobbies, and love to share ideas with others anywhere in the world-- Ravelry and Stitchers Guild being two examples.
    It seems a bit isolationist to think that we can only get supplies and ideas and encouragement from our own country.

    I buy from my great local store when I can- but if I'm in the UK -or anywhere really, and see some smashing tweed, or amazing knitting yarn, it is mine-- happy to keep the textile manufacturers going. Way too many closing.

    Sewing is supposed to be fun, folks!!