The story is an unsurprising one: most souvenirs the 15 million tourists visiting SF every year buy to commemorate their visit to SF are actually made in China, says a video report (you can watch it above) from ABC.

Watching the video, we hear pride in the fact that SF’s quintessential landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge, was built in America from US manufactured parts. But when a reporter speaks with tourists buying souvenirs of the bridge that were made in China, few seemed bothered. One even said she didn’t mind “because it’s cheaper”.

At SF Kites, however, the art of making at least one thing is alive and well. Californian Daniel Prentice makes all the spindles for their (made in China) kites.

Says Prentice, “I’m a kite maker, I make things… and if you buy your products in China you just become a distributor. you’re not really making anything anymore.”

Does the provenance of our local souvenirs matter to you? If you buy something to commemorate your vacations elsewhere, do you bother to see if the item was manufactured there?

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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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  • EW77

    This same thing really bothered me on a recent trip through New Mexico. We were surprised to find that most of the Native American souvenirs on reservations were also made in China (dreamcatchers, moccasins, etc.). One shopkeeper in Albuquerque told us that a local tribe’s moccasin operation had completely gone under after decades of business because they could no longer compete with the Chinese made ones. As a rule, I try to buy domestically made products in the interest of keeping our own economy alive. If Americans aren’t careful, we may discount shop our way right out of an economic base (if we haven’t already).