Category Archives: best practices

Buy Local? … Hardly anything is really ‘local’ these days

Buying local is something we can do to help the economy, increase jobs, and reduce our negative impact on the environment. We feel good when we buy local products made in small batches by community artisans.

Unfortunately, hardly anything is really ‘local’ these days.

Often, we’re buying ‘local’ from someone else who purchased items online and had them shipped from China. So, there’s nothing local about that, except for the fact that someone is scraping profits off the top and overcharging us for something we could buy online. That’s just getting ripped off locally.

Food products advertised as ‘local’ are often only locally marketed or locally distributed. Once these businesses get popular enough, their supply chain expands beyond the local community, beyond the state, and often beyond the local region to keep up with demand.

For most food products you can do a little investigative work and look up the plant number for the product. This will tell you where it’s actually being manufactured.

Go to a local craft show, and you might find items being sold that were purchased on Amazon or from online wholesale distributors. Or, perhaps the materials were purchased from China, then after minimal processing, resold as locally made.

It’s important to evaluate the sourcing of materials and labor for what we buy. What tools and machines were used? Where are those tools and machines from? Are they made in USA?

Buying local involves a lot more than just visiting a store that put a buy local sticker in their window.


Below is an infographic about the benefits of buying local.

CustomMade Buying Local Infographic

Why Buying Local is Worth Every Cent Infographic by CustomMade

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission Impacts U.S. Software Returns

For years, some retailers have falsely claimed that they can’t provide a refund for software products because a federal law prohibits returns of software.

Most consumers don’t know any better, so they take a loss on software that’s been falsely advertised, poorly written, or not compatible with their computer.

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has ordered Apple to change their “no-refund” policy for software sold through the App store:

Apple and Google have been ordered by South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission to revise their “no-refund” app store policies in addition to a number of other provisions, reports The Korea Herald. In response to the ruling, Apple reportedly stated that it would consider applying a revised App Store policy worldwide, with Korean officials requiring that Apple send a notice users when its terms and conditions have changed.

(Read More…)


Buying Local with Secondary Local Sourcing


Buying local is something you can do to help the environment and your local economy. However, not everything that’s sold as local is really locally sourced.

For example, a manufacturers of food products, although local, may get the product ingredients from suppliers hundreds or thousands of miles away.

A local computer store, although they are just down the street, may be selling computers that are made overseas. A better choice may be to purchase a computer made in the USA even if it’s sold by a company in another state, such as Apple’s new Mac Pro.

When purchasing local, we need to inquire about the sourcing used by local vendors and manufacturers. If someone is simply ordering items from Amazon, and then putting them on shelves in the store, how is that any different from us ordering from Amazon directly?

There’s also the ethical choice to not purchase local in favor of having money go to support economies elsewhere. This is the idea behind the Ten Thousand Villages project.

The choice to buying locally isn’t always as simple as we may have once thought.

Product Expiration Date Labeling – Cottage Cheese

Products we assume are fresh prior to the expiration date may be weeks, months, or years old. For example, the cottage cheese pictured below was purchased on 10 March 2014. The expiration date is 14 April 2014. It’s fresh now, and probably a month from now it will still be editable, but it most likely won’t taste as good on April 14 as it does today. When buying “day old” products, you may be purchasing something that’s been on the shelf for a long time.