I bought a pair of Ugg boots a few years back at Big 5 for less than $30 to keep my feet warm.
I didn’t consider where the boots were made, and I never intended wearing them to go shopping or outside. Since I work at home and save money by leaving the heat off on cold days, my feet get cold so it made sense to wear a pair. (I just Googled Big 5 and saw Uggs on sale for $39 a pair).
Uggs do not appear designed for outdoors, yet I see many young American women looking sharp shopping in Ugg boots. It seems to be the latest fad.
Curious, I did a bit of research to learn more about this popular fad.
I learned from Business Gather.com “Make no mistake about it: Ugg boots are not just for girls. Sure, they may look cute and snuggly, but with football quarterback Tom Brady on board as the brand’s new spokesperson, Ugg boots are poised to attract hoards of manly men all around the world.”
Then I wanted to know where Ugg boots came from and what it costs to make a pair.
I discovered this video on YouTube of a factory in China where the material and labor come together to make Uggs. The conclusion of the description below the video says, “These boots are the most cheap and excellent quality boots in the world.”
The New York Times recently reported “The salaries of factory workers in China are still low compared to those in the United States and Europe: the hourly wage in southern China is only about 75 cents an hour.”
Chinese factory workers often work overtime as long as sixteen hours a day for six days weeks.
However, in 2009, the US federal minimum hourly wage was $7.25, which pays about $15,000 a year for a full time job not counting hidden benefits, which don’t exist in China.
In China, the Ugg factory workers in that video are probably earning less than $3,700 (US) annually and working twice the hours to keep those Ugg prices down so American women and men may buy a cheap pair to look stylish while shopping.
This is a video explaining how to detect fake Ugg boots
After I watched this video, I checked the Ugg boots I bought from Big 5. They were fake. Does that mean they weren’t made in China?
Who makes a profit from the real Ugg boots? Deckers Outdoor Corporation holds the Ugg trademark in more than 100 countries worldwide and reported sales of 689 million US dollars under the Ugg brand in 2008 and sales were up in 2009. Source: Source: Wiki.Ugg Boots
How many Americans would be willing to pay four or five times the price for a pair of Ugg boots so those low paying minimum wage jobs would come to the US?
Then, how many Americans are willing to work for the federal minimum wage without benefits? Not many since there are about eleven million illegal aliens in the US working those jobs.
So, if you live in the US, next time you hear political ads or someone bashing China for stealing jobs from Americans, look in a mirror.
Update: After I wrote this post and up-loaded it, The Walking Company sent me an e-mail advertising “Zealand” slippers (another “Ugg” type product) on sale at 70% off. Instead of paying $65 a pair, I paid less than $20. I stocked up and bought four pair and was surprised when the shipment arrived to discover that the “Zealand” product line is made in China instead of New Zealand.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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