“I see this in the food industry. There’s quite a few organizations here locally that will sell using “Amish”. And what they’re trying to do is create the perception that it does come from Amish producers. When it doesn’t. They don’t explicitly say so, they just say “Amish Country this”, “Amish Country that,”…”Amish” is big, […]
Continue Reading “Amish Country” on the label: Deception or fair game?
You might also like:
Question on the Amish? Get answers to 300+ questions in 41 categories at the Amish FAQ.
False advertising it is. If you are not Amish and or the products you are selling are not made by Amish. Why do these business people think they need to be deceitful to make a buck.
Recently a friend suggested that because my husband and I are Plain, it won’t hurt our farmer’s market sales. But I wouldn’t put on the kapp and apron just to make sales; it is how I dress all the time! I think it is unfair to use the word “Amish” to sell a product that is not in fact made/grown by Amish. It may be a perfectly good product, but it is exploiting a faith group who may not endorse your pumpkin pies or bicycle chains. I’m having toruble coming up with other faith groups who suffer from the same sort of purposeful mislabelling – amybe products from Israel labelled “From the Holy Land” with the implication that they are associated with a religious group there.
I don’t feel it is right to use “Amish” on products if it is not make or grown or raised by the Amish. I remember several years ago, when I was in the Lancaster area and went into a store to buy a gift to take home to my sister-in-law. What I found had a store sign above saying “Amish Made”, but when I looked on the bottom is said made in Japan. Of course I didn’t buy it. They lady in the store said the sign had been put there by mistake and tried to talk me into buying something else, but I left the store. When I go into a store to buy and it says, Amish, Mennonite, Irish, etc. that’s what I expect to spend my money buying-not something fake. I can buy fake stuff anywhere-I want the real thing. It should be against the law to have items labeled what they are not especially when you are dealing with religious such as the Amish and Mennonites.
I totally agree with you Marilyn,and good for you by leaving the store. And truth be known, I am sure that sign was not put there by mistake. This makes me mad, seing the Amish or Mennonite being taken advantage of. It would be the same thing, if you had made some (eg ) jam and I put my label on it and sold it. I would be the one to profit not you. THIS IS JUST NOT RIGHT.
As far as other faith groups whose name or image has been used by others to promote sales, how about Quakers? People associate the name with oatmeal more than the religion. The company is not and never has been connected to Friends, but the name and image were borrowed for their connotations of quality and integrity.
There is an amusing piece by Friend Kevin Roberts about a beer that uses Quakers as its advertising in the first post here: http://www.quakerinfo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1353&sid=5fe95e3aff7f6dbd3e6121dd2ab69023
Greetings from snowy central Illinois!!
Seems like “truth in advertising” went out the window years ago. Somewhere on a post on this site we got into the discussion about the Mennonite lady running the bakery in Arthur, IL a few years ago with the name “Amish Country Bakery”. I don’t think I minded the name so much because we were indeed in the heart of Amish Country. What I minded was the Mennonite lady intentionally let people believe she was Amish when she was not.
A customer would say, “I just love the way you Amish cook.” and she would just smile, nod and say thank you. To me that was just plain wrong. After the customers left and I had made my purchase I came right out and asked her if she was Mennonite and she said yes. Then added, I must not be a tourist because I knew the difference.
I think a lot of this really goes to what they have in the heart. Are they intentionally decieving people? Down right lying to them? Or are they playing on words to take advantage of a tourist area? I think had the woman been honest with the customers and just corrected them when they indicated they believed she were Amish, it would not bother me. But the fact that she did not correct them, she was certainly not being a very good Christian at the time.
I also think we consumers need to be better educated on what we purchase and if we are not sure, ask questions. Just don’t assume its Amish made because the word Amish is on. Just like bread or food,,, read the label folks!!
I make stone jewelry and in fact I use to own a store. It use to upset me when people would come in and tell me how they thought they brought some original jewelry from another store and found it was fake. I also delt in native-American (Indian) jewelry and that is another that some places sell the made in China and the not the U.S. items. People don’t know the difference sometimes. I couldn’t do that and never did. When I had my store you use to have to label what country that came from, but I guess you don’t have to anymore. It’s not just Amish, but any items should be real. You also shouldn’t use a store name or business name that you aren’t.
Making a buck seems to be the real religion of America, and everything successful seems to get commercialized. One TV comedian recently satirized the fact that Sears was having a mattress sale to “celebrate” Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, while KMart was offering free “MLKDAY” shipping on internet orders. Quakers have complained for decades about the appropriation of their sect’s reputation for honesty and purity by the Quaker Oats Company, which was never Quaker-run. But the courts have said you can’t make the name of your religion into a trademark for your exclusive use, commercial or otherwise.
I still have the problem with my ceramics, people think it is made in China even though I sign the bottom of every piece with my name and “Made in Clinton, IL”. Legally, if you purchase items from another country for resale you must have the country of origin label on the item but that does not stop people from removing them.
My reputation, especially in business is important to me, so I deal honestly but so many do not these days. It is sad to see.
Truth if advertising went out the window somewhere along the way. I can assume partly because there are not enough resourses to properly police it. A good case in point is Campbell’s soup. They advertise that sea salt has half the sodium as regular table salt. But go to the grocery store and pick up a container of each and read the labels and you will find that the same size containers contain the same amount of sodium. Where is the truth in that? None!!
I agree with you. The problem with those labels is that if they are paper-you can peel them off and lie. People have thought the handmade jewelry I have made is from China, also. Well, just the weight should tell the difference because U.S. is heavier that foreign, but people don’t know that or notice that.
My reputation is also important to me-I know how you feel.
This false advertising is something, too. I don’t know how they get away with it, but they do.
In my case the signed artwork is in the glaze and fired in. There is no way to add to it or remove it and people would say, this isn’t really made here. Boy did I give them an education, LOL. I started doing demonstrations at a lot of shows and explaining how that painted on name gets fired in a kiln at 1200 degrees and there is no way to add or change it without it being noticed.
I can’t blame customers who get leary of what they are buying. There is so much fraud going on today. I have become an avid label reader. Not just on food but on everything. And if I am still not sure, I ask questions until I am satisfied with the answers or I just don’t buy it.
There are so many people out there taking people-they don’t know who to believe. In my store I had items that were made out of the U.S. but they were labeled and I told people so they knew. It hurts some of us who are honest because people have been taken so many times. People should know to look, but they don’t especially if they are tourists. Tourists want something to take home from where they are vacationing and never look or read.
There is so much fraud going on today. I always check before I buy. I want to buy an Amish quilt, but darn, I want to buy it from their home rather than trust a store now days. I know those quilts are expensive, but I would love one for my bed.
Blessing to you,
I agree with you completely.
As for quilts. I found a web site recently, by accident, that advertised, “Amish made Quilts”. I can not tell you why exactly, but I did not trust it one bit to truly be Amish made. Didn’t even save the web site. It was one of those things I just knew wasn’t true. Perhaps the prices were too low for Amish made?
I am like you, when the day comes that I can get a good Amish made quilt I will go to an Amish home and buy it.
Alice,,,,, who better get out and start the first round of shoveling soon so it doesn’t get to heavy to move, LOL.
Glad we agree.
I sell on ebay and etsy, but I don’t trust when I see Amish Quilts. I just don’t trust some people. I am sure that some people obtain the quilts from the Amish and put them on ebay-but you don’t know who to trust and who not today.
Too bad we don’t live closer together-when we both save up our money we could go together and buy our quilts. LOL
I am still in my pj’s so I guess I better get off here and get dressed. Don’t over do that shoveling.LOL
Yeah that would be a lot of fun Marilyn to go quilt shopping together, LOL.
I still haven’t made it out the door yet to shovel. I was really hoping Richard would show up on here and offer to do it for me, LOL. He is too far away though. 🙁
Still finishing my coffee. Got up and looked out the window once and wondering am I really ready to go do this? LOL From the window it looks like at least 4 inches now and still coming down hard. I’m trying to get myself motivated, LOL.
Have a good day!
In contrast, I was at an Amish roadside stand in Lancaster, PA to get some of the wonderful sweet corn. I ask the young Amish boy if they had picked the corn that morning. He said that they grew everything else they had for sale, but they didn’t grow any corn this year. “We got this from the downtown Central Market”. Don’t you just love honesty?
Bob, that is a wonderful story and yes I do love honesty!! It is just a shame there is so much dishonesty in the world today.
I am finally dressed. I think we would have fun, also, Alice.
The Amish boy was sure honest, Bob. Wish more people were like that.
I didn’t realize that Quaker Oats was never “Quaker” owned! More fool I! what about Quaker State oil? “Quaker” as a brand name has certainly passed into vernacular usage, so I didn’t even think of it.
Got the first round of shoveling done but you can hardly see the sidewalk again. It is really coming down!! I was right, it is about 4 inches so far. Not suppose to end until sometime late this evening. So I am sure there will be another round or even two of shoveling before all is said and done. 🙁
I need a nap!!
Magdalena, do not feel like a fool, many of us did not realize Quaker Oats was not Quaker owned or affiliated. We make a lot of assumptions based on names and images. The advertisers count on that.
Hi Erik – My wife and I are in the process of starting a business and building a website that sells mostly Amish-made products, called Amish Workshops (http://www.facebook.com/AmishWorkshops). The exceptions to the rule include English-made games we know the Amish enjoy (Rook, Dutch Blitz, etc.) and non-fiction books by authors such as Kraybill, Nolt, and yours, of course. On the site we will make clear what is not Amish-made.
On a recent visit with a weaver in northern Indiana, we got a taste of what it means to the Amish to know that their collective name be used properly: The weaver represented a group of other crafters whose products we considered selling on the site. When we discovered that one of the products was English-made, we declined to sell it. After a long, thoughtful pause she told us how much she appreciated that we would stay true to our intention to sell only Amish-made products, that it went a long way with her regarding our credibility.
We have one Amish employee, a longtime family friend, who acts as our “logistics agent”; she will gather and ship the products from a central location. Our goal is to provide an avenue though which the Amish can sell their products and reduce or eliminate dependence on factory jobs. Currently we represent products from more than 30 crafters, and our website will include columns by a young Amish writer who is a regular contributor to the Goshen News. We hope to have the website up and running by the end of February.
My hat is off to you!! I wish you well in your endeavor. It is so nice to see that you are handling this in a trustworthy way. Please do keep us posted as things go along and let us know when your web site is up and running.
Thanks Alice — It helps that I’m getting good business advice from a certain young author. 😉
Good luck in your new business. I would really like to see it. I am always interested in Amish items for my home. I have dolls, pictures, even a wooden dog puzzle made by someone Amish.
Marilyn in New York
Magda, dressing Plain would increase sales because people tend to assume that anything the Amish sell is either handmade or organically grown by the Amish.Because the Amish have made a name for themselves of quality craftmanship and because people are curious about their attire & beliefs, people want to buy their products.However don’t think I am encouraging lying to boost sales!
Some people exploit the Amish name for their benefit but some might have to do so to improve flagging sales in the face of soaring Amish sales of the same goods.
Another thing to consider is that some probably Anabaptists exploit their name for their benefit; How many sell food, pretending they grew it when they didn’t? How many claim to be Amish when they are Mennonite? Some Mennonites may struggle to make sales because they are Mennonite and not Amish and this could be why they lie about being Amish.
But Alice, truth and advertising never went together.Adverts from the Victorian and Edwardian period were pure fiction.Over time regulations on adverts have improved but I didn’t know fraud in adverts were that bad in America.In the EU adverts are very strictly monitered.
Oh, Lucy, you didn’t suggest I lie, I know! Besides, people around here know us. I didn’t assume for a minute that the many Mennonites I know around here, or at the St. Jacobs market in Ontario were trying to pass themselves off as Amish. Maybe it is just a different attitude – I don’t think anyone here cares either way. Besides, people here are very direct and ask all sorts of “snoopy” questions. (Just like Mennonites I know!)
Keith, you are most welcome!! Erik does have a wealth of knowledge and good advice. A wonderful person to get assistance from. 😀
Lucy, we have strict laws about truth in advertising but they are seldom adhered to today because most people know there are not enough resources to enforce those laws. Of course there has always been a problem with it throughout time, but I guess I notice it more now, especially now that I am in business myself.
I truly believe it is up to the consummer to be aware of what they are buying and do their own “policing” of deceitful trade practices. Some they may choose to except while others they may not. For example, I would have bought from the Mennonite bakery regardless the name was “Amish Country Bakery” because they sold a good product at a reasonable price. But I refuse to purchase an item I know is made for example in China and the owner is representing it as American made.
just getting back home today, and a great topic today. and no, i wont be shoveling for anyone anytime soon,lol. sorry alice. speaking of alice, you did mention this topic a few times before in a few posts ago, so im glad Erik turned it into a topic on his site. since i did deal at one time in trying to sell amish made crafts in Florida, i think i could maybe ad a comment or two. when i put a price tag on a item i was selling, i would always put on the back if it was “Amish made”, and what state it came from. id say about 15-20% if the stuff i had was really Amish made. if it was not Amish made, id just leave the back of the tag blank. so i didn’t try to pull the wool- over on anyone, i did even have a few people who were Mennonites who sold to me as well, i marked the tags Mennonite made. something that is very close in topic is buying something thats made in America, alot of products pawn themselfs off as made in America, but when you look in the back of the box, you might see ” assembled in the usa using domestic and foreign parts. when i worked at a newspaper in Florida, i bumped into a guy who would test drive cars and who would write about what was going on in the car world. i had told him that the north american content ( Canada and the usa) was dropping every year on american cars, so i asked him ” whats up with that”. he looked into it, and wrote about it in the newspaper.he had called someone fairly high up at general motors at that time, and he asked how do you come up with the content ratio that goes into making a car. he was told that its based on the total amount of money spent as to where the suppliers is based. so that kind of makes sense to me, at the time my head was about to explode because i didn’t understand it, but then when i had seen him again, i asked him this. i said Steve, does that include the fact that when a supplier is making a part for general motors or ford or whatever, and lets say some of the parts that they are screwing together are made in lets say china or India. after i asked him that, i thought his head was about to explode,lol. so i think its alot easier to figure out what is Amish made or not, compared to what makes a american car american, and what exactly is really a true american car?. and do i think its ethical in trying to pass off something that really isn’t, the answer is no, i don’t……………… that’s my five cents anyway folks………. Richard, pa……………………………………. ps folks, a really good book to buy ” how to buy american” is a very good book, and i have it. it tells you about some companies that you thought were american owned but weren’t. and it gives you ways on how to buy something thats made in America, and where to buy those things…..
note…… i may have been gone for most of the day, but i made it up with the post before this one,lol………… im just too much….. Richard, lebanon,pa
"Amish-made" on products
Just a quick comment–Keith and Alice you are too kind (: Honored to know you might be carrying my book Keith. And kudos to you for your approach. I think that will pay dividends for you, and of course I’m sure you know you shouldn’t hide the fact you carry only “Amish-made”. It sounds like it will be beneficial for your Amish producers as well. I know there has been some movement into business in that settlement; to be honest I haven’t kept up with the situation with the RV factories–do you have a sense of how employment is right now?
Anyway looking forward to hearing how it goes; the website you have sounds very interesting as well–I always enjoy “Amish-created” content so I’m interested to read your writer 🙂
Amish vendors selling non-Amish products
Bob, nice sweet corn story, actually does not surprise me. In the spring I spoke with a Baltimore Sun reporter about an Amish business at the market which she had discovered did not carry “only Amish” products.
She was pretty surprised and fairly critical in the article; she wrote that “Amish food vendors in prayer caps and suspenders have come to Baltimore to sell meats, cheeses, baked goods — and a little bit of fantasy.” The problem was that the meats at one Amish stand were not Amish-produced but acquired from a non-Amish Lancaster vendor. You can read it at: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-06-08/entertainment/bs-fo-amish-market-20100608_1_all-amish-order-amish-foods
In fact I’ve found that is pretty common with some types of Amish businesses; while some products may be Amish, filling out a product line (ie food, plain clothing) often means carrying products from non-Amish sources.
So I guess the point is that it’s not only non-Amish that might be charged with “inauthenticity”, but Amish as well–depending on what kind of “purity test” we want to apply.
Richard, I do believe you have just broken my heart, 🙁 Not really, LOL. If you were my neighbor I might ask you to help me from time to time but I tend to have a stubborn streak and just go ahead and do things myself instead of asking someone else.
Sure have missed you today my dear friend and yes your very long post has made up for it, to a point, LOL.
Erik, I think there needs to be truth in business regardless of who is conducting the business. But I do not foresee total truth in business any time soon. 🙁
Blessings, Alice who is grateful we only got another inch of snow before it stopped, LOL. Total 5 inches, but no more shoveling today,,, Yayyyyyy!
Erik — According to a recent article by Roger Schneider in the Goshen News, the RV dealers and manufacturers expect this to be a really good year, with an expected increase of 3.9%. 2010 was also a good year with a nearly 48% gain in shipments after taking it on the chin after three years of declines. They had strong orders at the RV show in Cleveland a few weeks ago and expect the trend to continue.
That lines up pretty well with what I’ve heard from my Amish friends in that area. I know men who work in several different factories there and they are all grateful for the work, but I don’t believe there’s a man among them who wouldn’t rather be working his own farm or business within earshot of their families. They strive for it.
well, alice i think id have to bite the bullet, and help you shovel, after you shovel my drive way of course first ,lol. theres nothing like watching someone work pretty hard while eating a sandwich, and drinking ice tea while sitting on my couch, which i would be doing alice.i think im getting too soft in my young age. and contrary to what some people might think about me on here, well heck, who am i kidding, im just no good,,,,,ha-ha……. Richard, Lebanon, pa
Okay, Alice and Richard, when you get done with each others driveways and walks you can come over to the apartment complex I live and shovel our walks and driveays. Okay, just do the one from my building to my car. LOL…Marilyn in New York
hey marilyn, one of my fav names, thats my aunts name too. what part of new york are you from?. richard ,penn
Wow Richard, I guess shivalry is dead after all. 🙁
Alice signing off,,, good luck Marilyn getting Richard to be nice and shovel for you,,, seems he is in a mean spirited mood this evening.
good night alice….. i was kidding with ya. before i sign-off folks, heres a great site to look at amish photos, and heres the site. www.amishphoto.com
check it out, you wont be sorry……….. richard, lebanon, pa
I am from Upstate New York, in a small town, about 25 miles east of Rochester. I live in the town the Morman Faith was founded-I am not of that faith-but this is the town I grew up in.
<arilyn in New York
I have a different experience with RV making Amish. Three years ago, I had an Amish man near Topeka sell three horses for me. At the time, the RV industry was in a severe decline. The man told me that the laid-off Amish were setting up home shops and plowing produce patches for the new produce auction. He is a farmer and horse trader and thought the change was good for the Amish. Last summer, I stopped by to say hi to him. I asked whether the new shops and produce growers were doing well. He said no, the RV plants had started up again and the Amish were RUNNING back to the RV makers, chasing the easy money. Apparently reliable, easy money is a very big draw for the Amish he knows. I guess we are friends with different fellowships!
RV industry growing in Amish Indiana?
Keith that is good to hear there is some growth expected. Though I guess after getting beat up for 3 years (or even 4? when I lived in N. Indiana in 2006, many Amish were already on 4 day weeks and the like) that’s off of a lower baseline.
It seems to me RV employment is so ingrained and enticing for monetary reasons that it will continue that way, though I understand the general desire to maybe get into other occupations or at least the nagging feeling that it would be good to not rely on the RV plants so much. Seems like the recent slump would have been as good a time as any, and I guess some have opened businesses. I would doubt farming to make much of a comeback except for produce perhaps.
Richard that is an interesting story. Did you notice a difference in sales between “Amish-made”, “Mennonite-made”, and the “blanks”? (to the extent you could compare them)
Lance looks like we posted simultaneously (almost) but with similar impressions of the RV industry in N. Indiana. For Amish in this community RV work is really the “tradition” now, not farming, and has been for 2-3 generations already.
I use to be a full time RVer purchased two travel trailers-one and then traded it in and got a bigger one. Anyway they were made in Pennsylvania. I went throught the factory there. Amish and Mennonites did the interior of the wood work in the trailers. Unfortunately, the company has since closed. I am thinking of going back on the road and am looking at trailers-but none will be as good as that make was.
Marilyn in New York
Marilyn if you want Amish-made, northern Indiana is your destination. Jayco, Keystone, Newmar, and a ton of others. Employees at these companies are heavily Amish.
Hi Lance — I know just what you’re talking about: We have a young friend in that area who did the same thing to combat the downtime in the industry. He and his wife grew a variety of peppers for the auction. It was a lot of work with little payoff, but I think it had more to do with too many horses at the trough, if you know what I mean. In normal economic times they might have fared better with less competition. I don’t think they were happy about having to go back to the factories though; I think they were relieved to have an opportunity to support their families. And I think also that not everybody is cut out to work for themselves. It’s tough to maintain self-motivation, to manage resources, etc, so perhaps some of them just didn’t do well as entrepreneurs. Still in all, I think most Amishmen prefer to be close to home.
The make I had before was Sunline. The place I bought them also sold Jayco. It was funny because he said he could sell a Jayco person a Sunline, but he couldn’t sell a Sunline person a Jayco. The Jayco pulls different. I will look into those makes including Jayco. There is a RV show in Rocheter. I want to get some place warm in the winter, but I really don’t want to move full time. I enjoyed being on the road. The only things are money to buy and whether it is safe for a woman on the road alone these days.
Just out of curiosity, how “Amish” is “Jake Bakes”, a PA company that makes and exports pretzels, and uses an image of an Amish man on their bags. As far as pretzels go they where pretty good I recall, but I had a laugh at myself about their branding.
On the Quaker front, I can find you guys a recent story about a company using their image in a way that upset some in one Friends community.
Marilyn,,, I have always wanted to full time RV!! Wound up being a truck driver for a while instead, LOL. But I would go RVing alone if I had the money and health to do it. Actually, I think it would help my health in the long run, the money issue is the real issue.
I can not tell you how many times I have gone to the RV dealers and just dreamed and dreamed about being out there on the road, staying in camp grounds. I actually did a little camp hosting before. Loved it!!
Did you travel and do craft shows with your jewelry? I would love to go sell at Quartzsite, AZ one winter. That is one huge event!! Now you have me thinking about being on the road again, LOL.
Richard, I know you were joking, so was I, LOL. But I sure did make you wonder, LOL. You can be a little stinker I see, hahaha,,, but I likes ya anyway. 😀
Good night everyone!! One tired ole lady up too late and needs to head to bed.
hey Erik….. glad i popped by before i turned-in to bed, wanted to check a few e-mails. after i had saw your question, i had to think to myself for a min if i did see a difference between the Amish made tags, and blank tags. that would be an easy answer for me because most of my items were Amish made to begin with, along with the Mennonite made stuff. my non amish items dint really sell much to begin with to be honest with you, which is why maybe i didn’t have a problem with those tags. i did have people ask me, even though the tags said Amish made, they still wanted to make sure they really were made by the amish. i think i knew more about some of the families who made some of my items than most people cared to know, and i found that sad because i put some work into knowing about some of the folks who made these things, and i thought my customers cared as well. in the end, most only cared about the price, and if i could do better. i had a few pictures of some of the shops where my items came from, and the amish took them, i had alot of trouble in getting those pictures. so would i ever get back into selling amish crafts again to the public, the answer is a big “no”. but i gained a better understanding of the amish from that experience, and if for anything, that alone was worth it for me…………………. good Erik, and good night everyone …………. Richard, lebanon,pa