Fall into the GAP and Other Made in USA Fails

A Made in USA Fail found at the GAP uncovered a slew of misleading labels throughout mall stores. Patriotic labels, branding and graphics can pull at the heart strings of consumers. But checking labels carefully remains vital to finding out where a product is actually manufactured.

Item Found: After a disappointing run through the clothing in the Old Navy and GAP stores, we found a “Bobble” water bottle for sale by the check-out that is American made.

Most Common Countries: China, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Indonesia

Corporate Info: The Gap Inc.’s ethical stance is a bit perplexing. Despite past child labor scandals, the company has been consistently ranked as one of the world’s most ethical companies by The Ethisphere Institute. After a BBC reporter captured footage of forced child labor in an India factory making clothing for Gap Kids, the Gap took quick action. The GAP also participates in the Product Red campaign, supporting the Global Fund to fight AIDs, Malaria and TB.

Overall: The Gap may have a shady past, but it seems they are doing what they can to work towards an ethical business model. I suppose that when a company outsources the manufacturing of all their clothes to take advantage of cheaper labor, there is only so much they can do to monitor it from overseas. To me, this makes the importance of buying locally even more obvious.

Some time ago I ran into a funny post on The Consumerist about the Gap’s latest PR snafu involving their promotion of American made “FEED” bags supporting American hunger projects. It turns out some of the mentioned FEED USA bags were actually made in China, and a cyber-scandal ensued.


Here are some other “Made in USA” fails I’ve come across, the first courtesy of Old Navy.


Fourth of July Shirt made in Indonesia.


USA Flag Pin made in China.


B&BW soap “Made in the Heartland” in Mexico.

What misleading patriotic labels, graphics or other types of “Made in USA Fails” have you come across? How does the information that these seemingly patriotic products are actually made overseas make you feel as a consumer?


  1. says

    What a unique and awesome concept for a blog! You definitely have a new follower. It really is crazy how many USA things are actually made not here. I’ve often bought the Old Navy USA t-shirt and never even thought to look where it was made. Nice to know people in Indonesia are helping us show our American pride.

  2. says

    Wow – your writing really makes me think. I take many things for granted and don’t read labels or pay attention where my clothes come from. I applaud your work and am a new follower.

    Dayna Musto recently posted..The Red Suitcase

  3. maria says

    Thank you so much for your kind words on my blog. I really appreciate them. :)
    I found this post so interesting and sad that you only found one item made in USA.
    Side note-there is a maggie moo’s right near the old navy I shop @ and always wanted to try it! Now I’m going to have to! :)
    Happy Tuesday!

  4. says

    Hmm…I shop at Old Navy regularly, but it’s sad only one thing was American made. I guess at least they made an effort to correct the labor issues. I will have to think about it next time my son needs new clothes.
    Sarah recently posted..Stop Making Every Movie in 3D!

  5. says

    Wow! I actually have one of those Bobble things! You know, it’s unfortunate how easy it is to become desensitized to this stuff. I am totally guilty of “label indifference,” or not even bothering to look at where a clothing item is made. I wish I could blame someone else, but it really is my own fault, even if the desensitization happened because I could NEVER find ANYTHING made in the USA, so I just stopped bothering to look. Thanks for bringing more attention to this matter and helping folks like me to “snap out of it!”

    Enjoy the rest of your week! Smiles, Jenn @Misadventures in Motherhood
    Misadventures in Motherhood recently posted..Must… Get… Out!!!!

    • madeinusachallenge says

      Jenn, none of us are perfect consumers! Just being aware is a huge positive step! Before I started my challenge, I rarely looked at labels either. Now that I’m looking, I pleasantly surprised by all the American-made options. Keep reading and I’ll be happy to find them for you! :)

  6. madeinusachallenge says

    Ang, I agree with you. The “fails” are funny, but the real tragedy is the conditions the workers making these “patriotic” goods face in sweatshops. If we keep buying these “cheap” products made in developing countries, we are in essence supporting their existence.

  7. Todd says

    Last year my mom gave me an American flag shirt that says “Proud To Be An American”. It was made in Mexico. I went camping and used it for my toilet paper.

  8. says

    I never thought about American paraphernalia made outside the US as being a “fail” before because so much of it is made in China, but you are absolutely right.

  9. says

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