Sure, people will buy the cheapest thing if there is no compelling reason to buy the more expensive thing.
The compelling reason is their own economic security, their job prospects. As the other poster refers to, in other countries the people better understand this and do have a bias towards domestic goods. It is something they consider. The problem is we don't. In the 1970s there was a popular bumper sticker, "Save a Job, Buy American". Back then people couldn't imagine the offshoring that would come. Now people should have a better appreciation of this phrase. The people in the other countries have often had their own bad times and already learned this lesson.
Walmart doesn't manufacture products. Walmart can't sell you an American made version of a Samsung TV if Samsung doesn't make them!
That does not change the fact that when consumers do have a choice they generally choose low cost import.
Nor does it change the fact that 45 years ago consumers did have a choice in TVs and chose the cheap import. Again, we're talking about a trend that has been at work for at least 50 years.
Poor(er) people think that way. If you're rich, you have the luxury of getting what you want, and not having to have the cheaper stuff; of not having to choose between a good product or a good holiday/eating out more/clothing and feeding your kids. Poorer people don't have that choice. And it's not as if the elite/rich people are doing all they can to lift poor people out of poverty. I'd not blame "consumers" for trying to stretch their money as far as possible.
That the impoverished have a more valid reason does not change the fact that businesses that go the offshoring route are rewarded by consumers, that consumers drive offshoring process.
Also this was largely driven by the middle class, as most things are. Keep in mind that this trend started long ago when it was far more likely for a HS educated person to find a job that offered a living wage.
big map books of the local area are not that easy to use in the car and what if you need 2-3 of them cover the drivers zone?
Well, we had three of those guidebooks (Thomas Bros) and we looked at them when not actively driving. Basically there was a planning stage where we created a mental map, it was enough or it was supplemented by notes (street names, distances, turns, etc.). Then once we had a plan we executed the plan. It really was not much trouble, two or three minutes up front before you started driving.
I confess that my guides are 10+ years old and move from trunk of old car to trunk of new car unused. Off in the wilds, there I moderate the wonders of handheld wireless computing. Drop GPS pins where we park and where we set up a campsite but navigate with printed maps and mechanical compasses, brushing up on that perishable skill, leaving the phone/gps in a waterproof bag turned off for backup.
You're oversimplifying a complex issue to blame the working class. Americans shop on price because we're desperately trying to maintain our standard of living in the face of declining wages. Those wages are declining because of globalization and automation.
Globalization is in part a result of the consumer's willingness to consider price above any other consideration. The consumer drives the offshoring process through their choices, their "tragedy of the commons" logic. CEOs may be greedy but it is sales that satisfy their greed, and it is consumers who decide whether offshoring improves or hurts sales.
Walmart's slogan nails it: You're not destroying Unions and plunging the country into the worst income inequality since WWI; you're saving money, living better.
The thing is Walmart is not creating that behavior, they are capitalizing on that pre-existing behavior, they leverage the pre-existing behavior.
I beg to differ. I have never seen any attempt to market products this way. When I go to the Apple store, they don't sell an iPhone made at Foxconn and an iPhone made in the US. It doesn't happen with any product.
We are talking about Walmart not Apple, a retailer not a supplier that happens to have a boutique retail store. I believe I can find US made goods like a MagLite flashlight, a Nalgene water bottle, a Leatherman multitool, a Lodge skillet, etc at Walmart.
We are also talking about a current situation that is the result of consumer behavior that has been going on for 40 to 50 years. And now with online shopping it is easier to find US made goods than in recent years.
If consumers wanted to demonstrate a preference for local products they have options. Such a trend would be recognized. That is why you find various "greener" products at the grocery store nowadays, consumers started voting with their dollars and stores responded.
... force quality down in the name of price
Technically that is we the consumers that are doing that. Offshoring, low quality, etc
Why do all of the tanning beds have vodka racks?
Citizen: This is a public service announcement to inform you that your electric meter may be off by between -32% to +582%.
Legally required reminder:
You are required to pay for the electricity you use, promptly and accurately. Tampering with an electric meter is a serious criminal offence.