Even in a National Park it’s Tough to Buy American
I'm not going to go on a big Made In The U.S.A. rant, but I was surprised at the lack of American-made products available in the shops in Yellowstone National Park. When I took my handful of souvenirs to the counter, all of which were made in China, I asked the cashier a couple of questions about the merchandise.
The first was, does the park, the government, own the store? He told me that the stores were privately owned and the owners had contracted vendor space in the park.
I then asked about the country of origin of the products and how it seemed strange that in our first and largest national park, I couldn't find one single made in the U.S.A. product. He was a very nice elderly gentleman and had much to say about it. He said that he, in fact, had brought this up when he first started working there and was told that they were making an effort to change that. The problem is, with these specialty products, e.g. buying a box of knives, water bottles, etc. and having "Yellowstone" printed on them, there simply aren't any U.S. suppliers.
He did say that the screen printing on the clothing products were done in the U.S., but none of the fabrics were made here. I suppose that is something, although I wonder if they are simply worried about translation issues.
As I said in the beginning, this isn't any sort of rant, I was just surprised that in a United States national park that draws visitors from around the world, so little of us is represented.