Made in America… again

It turns out that some companies are discovering the problems with manufacturing their goods in China. Fortune Magazine reports that some companies have chosen to move manufacturing back to the United States due to rising costs and supply chain problems.

One big issue I have is paying for quality. When I pay $100 for a widget, I expect it to be a good quality one. But when the widget is made with cheaper labor, I have a hard time accepting the price.

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Proud to be a cheesehead

Wisconsin is still the leading state in cheese production. It’s no wonder, with the quality put into each ounce of cheese, we should still be number one. What’s more, our craft cheeses are sought in other parts of the world. California can keep its happy cows; Wisconsin has hard-working cows and people that produce some of the finest cheeses in the world.

The Daily Cardinal: California cheese production no longer a threat to Wisconsin supremacy

The Associated Press: Wis. remains tops in cheese contest with Calif.

Protect your ID while shopping

‘Tis the season for holiday-shopper predators to use any and all opportunities to steal your personal and financial information.

In a recent post, I commented on how one Wisconsin State Senator provided good information on using a budget, and I also noted the importance of protecting your identity. I recently visited the Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection’s Web site (OPP), which has a number of fact sheets available to the public.

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Safe and smart shopping

Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach was nice enough to post a list of suggestions to shop safely and smart this holiday season. He suggests taking some initiative to make it as stress-free as possible.

With so many cases of fraud and identity theft occurring, I would also like to encourage you to take your time and remain diligent while you shop. Know who you’re buying from, and make sure that they handle your credit and personal information with care and caution. Don’t forget to put your receipt and credit card in a safe place at the end of the transaction. Lock your items in your trunk, and lock your car. Don’t give would-be thieves an incentive to rip you off.

Senator Erpenbach post: Safe and Smart Shopping This Holiday Season: Use the Resources Available

Gas boycotts are ineffective

I’m a little late on this one, but there is no evidence that not buying gas for a day would make a huge impact on gas prices. This Cyclelicious article explains where the real impact would be felt: the station owners and employees. Snopes better explains how this scheme would not work. The fact is that there are many factors that go into gas prices. Furthermore, by not buying gas on one day, you would still have to buy gas on the day before or after anyway; you would still buy gas.

A better way to not give into the price of gas is to travel smartly. When traveling by car, try to accomplish several errands in one trip. Better yet, try to avoid driving: walking and bicycling are great ways to get exercise and to avoid using gas at all. Finally, try to use public transportation, which costs less and promotes better use of fuel use.

I especially like bicycling: it’s a great way to exercise and it’s faster than walking. Just follow all traffic laws and learn to share the road with cars.

Statewide smoking ban sought

I’ve stated in the past that I believe it should be up to each business owner to allow smoking in his or her own establishment. But I’m going to recant. I will soon celebrate not smoking for two years (not once have I put a lit cigarette to my mouth in that time). And I give the City of Madison a lot of credit for imposing a municipal ordinance that bans smoking in all public businesses; it has helped me stay smoke free.

So when I read that Governor Doyle is on the same path to push this statewide, I thought that this is a great idea. I’ll follow this up with an anecdote in a minute. But I fully support this initiative, even if it requires a phase-in period.

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Midwest Airlines must remain in Milwaukee

I have always admired Midwest Airlines for its unwavering dedication to customer service. I have flown Midwest a number of times, and I admit that I’ve always enjoyed it. Its wide, two-across seating and excellent service make flying a worthwhile experience.

Enter AirTran Airways, who wants to have Midwest’s shareholders vote to allow it to purchase Midwest Airlines. AirTran’s president argues that Midwest will not survive in today’s competitive airline market with its philosophy.

It reminds me of another small company that, despite recent acquisitions, still manages to put customer service and satisfaction before the quick buck. Over 40 years ago, Gary Comer started a small, sailing supply mail-order company that focused more on service and quality than just a product. It soon became a clothing company, but Lands’ End never lost its philosophy of service and quality. Midwest Airlines carries the same philosophy of making the flight a pleasant experience. Other airlines focus on moving people efficiently, resulting in crowded conditions, poor service, and people that generally find flying a chore. Quite honestly, I dislike flying other airlines.

I hope that the stockholders will remember why Midwest Airlines is in business and its philosophy on providing its customers a positive flying experience. In today’s day and age of being herded through airport security and sitting elbow-to-elbow with strangers, Midwest Airlines needs to remain independent and continue its practices of wide, two-across seating and fresh-baked cookies. These are the touches that make it a better airline.

Midwest Airlines: Customer Experience

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article: Midwest sale may hinge on price

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial: Big Questions for AirTran

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article: Independence will save Midwest, chief says

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article: Airline plans to expand service