Banter Bites

Label Yourself An American?

Should Made in the U.S.A. be the first – or last – thing to ask yourself?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: If you were to ask us how we show that we’re proud to be an American, Red would tell you about the large bear in her entry hall that displays an American flag for July 4th and cheering for American teams in world sports competitions; but Black tends to work on holidays (and her birthday) so it’s not surprising her answer would include a major business decision.

Before Black turned Red’s “crisis” into a book (what are big sisters for?!), Red never thought about buying American-made products, focusing solely on price and quality. But when Black insisted on printing in the U.S.A. (even though it doubled the cost), Red listened to logic and decided she’d try to buy American more often. However, it’s never happened,

I know I should, and I want to, but I just don’t seem to be able to turn my “good intentions” into actions. I wonder if it’s because I try to be very cost-conscious when buying things and, let’s face it, most products made overseas are usually cheaper.

Black is quick to point out that cheaper is a relative term. How it might be true in terms of the price tag. But often not when you consider quality. Something that may be cheaper at first may not last as long, so needs to be replaced more often and may become more expensive in the long run.

Black does understand Red’s focus on cost and that calculations such as “cost per wearing” aren’t how Red’s brain functions. So, she suggested Red think about “why” (probably Black’s favorite word, especially when it comes to guiding decision-making) she’d like to “Buy American”,

Are you doing it to be patriotic? Is it to show your support of American workers and local businesses? Is it for environmental or social reasons? Knowing the “why” can remind you it is more than looking at the price tag. At that point, you can decide (if there is a premium) how much extra you are willing (and able) to pay. It does not matter whether it is a big purchase (like a car or major appliance) or smaller items (like clothing or household items); the key is getting into the habit of thinking before spending.

And the single best and easiest way to start to buy American? Simple! Just get in the habit of checking labels.

This is one of Red’s favorite Banter Bites in large part because of Black’s “corny” puns, but also because fresh corn is a summer staple – whether cooked on the grill or in the microwave, whether eaten on its own or as a primary ingredient in refreshing summer salads

This may be one of the corniest things you’ll ever read.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It’s just a vegetable, so how can it possibly elicit such a strong reaction from Red, while, for Black, it’s more a source of amusement and even, it turns out, admiration?

Keep Reading ...Show less

Think you can avoid artificial intelligence? Think again …

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red already fights technology at every turn, preferring to keep her ostrich head in the sand, plus, she finds Artificial Intelligence (AI) scary; whereas Black knows ignoring reality merely postpones the inevitable, so she’s started playing with AI to understand it better …

Keep Reading ...Show less

A man better known for his death than his life, although Red, the straight-A student and history lover, immediately thinks of the costly and controversial movie of his life. (Well, technically, it was the life of Cleopatra.) Black, of course, focuses on business – leadership lessons, including the power of words, although she surprises Red with some food trivia. But the fact July’s named after him is the perfect excuse to rerun one of Red’s favorite Banter Bites …

Quick! If someone says "Julius Caesar," what comes to mind?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Almost everyone has heard of Julius Caesar, but how many of us really know much about him, or at least that's what Red starts to wonder when she receives the usual flippant, but still accurate, reply from her sister, after feeling very proud that she knew that July was named after the famous Roman.

Keep Reading ...Show less