As long-time readers of this blog know, I am committed to the idea of Made-in-the-USA products. I don’t believe that this country can prosper if we send manufacturing overseas. Nor do I believe that manufacturing jobs are obsolete or unnecessary for America. Not in a country where at least one in six working-age American citizens is effectively unemployed. It’s a nice thought to believe that the American economy can subsist entirely on Starbucks and real-estate sales and working at Subway but it’s not true and it is leading to the inevitable collapse of this country as we have known it.
Which is why I’m typing this as I sit in an American-made chair, wearing American-made shoes, socks, jeans, belt, and shirt. Regrettably, I’m typing it on a Chinese laptop. The next one I buy will be at least assembled in this country. Maybe a Lotus PC.
It’s my goal to bring American-made products to your attention as often as I can. The flip side of that is calling out companies for moving production overseas. So… step into the ring, “Manhattan Portage”!
I’d heard good things about Manhattan Portage backpacks. Noting that they cost a bit less than the Waterford bag that’s served me faithfully for years (more on that in the future) I thought I’d check them out. But when I read the following paragraphs, I knew there was something afoot:
Manhattan Portage is New York Tough and Downtown Smart.
We have preserved our core principles and egalitarian vision of “a bag for everyone” with the added value of “New York Tough” – a bag for all, in a style for everyone that’s as smart as the city itself. We remain committed to the fundamental guidelines that we set years ago for great, innovative designs, use of the highest quality materials, superb construction and excellent craftsmanship which have always been the hallmarks of all our products.
When we began this extraordinary enterprise some three decades ago, it was a labor of love and a lesson in necessity really being the mother of invention. We responded to the needs and lifestyles of New York’s fast-moving bike messenger community by creating the strong, practical and well-constructed Manhattan Portage prototype. The reputation of these rugged and versatile bags spread like wildfire and very soon, not only were working class heroes like messengers using them, but moms, students, artists and musicians, teachers, nurses and people from all walks and ways of life were carrying MP bags in the streets and on the subways all over town and on trains and planes across country.
A local phenomenon was becoming a national sensation and a symbol of the new emerging urban culture. Our bags and backpacks have earned their “street cred”- their proven usefulness as a reliable and really tough companion on the streets in one of the most demanding cities in the world, New York – the epicenter of fashion and finance, the arts and culture, media, music and money.
Like the ever-changing city itself, Manhattan Portage has weathered the tides of history from the economic storms of the 1980’s, the political turmoil of the 90’s, the fallen heroes and the fallen towers of September 11th to the turbulent currents of the new century. And like the city, we were a witness to these events and we have endured, we have grown, we have expanded and we have survived because Manhattan Portage is New York Tough.
That’s why we have created a brand new campaign based on this theme – “Manhattan Portage: New York Tough and Downtown Smart”- because we have lived it and experienced it ourselves from the very beginning through the difficult days of our first venture on the Lower East Side to our current headquarters in fashionable Soho.
Manhattan Portage has weathered the fallen towers of September 11th. And you thought that you knew what the word “shameless” meant. But although MP survived a pair of Saudi-piloted American jetliners, they were unable to withstand Dutch-owned container ships full of Chinese junk. Experienced observers of Chinese sellouts know that the more the company bleats about “New York Tough” or “Designed in California” or “Pittsburgh Tools”, the faster they’re moving production away from those places. Two pages later on MP’s bloated, self-important, and hugely embarrassing “About Us” subsite, it’s time for the money shot:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Everybody’s got an excuse. We’re so glad you managed to retain the Web design and synergy-leveraging and cappuccino-making portions of the business in your “New York Tough” home office while letting your company become nothing more than an importer for a real factory somewhere else. Hit the road, Manhattan Portage, and take your pathetic attempt to capitalize on 9/11 with you.