Patriotic… Or Profiteering From the American Flag?


As far as holidays go, Flag Day is neither as “official” nor as widely-celebrated as Memorial and Independence Days. Now, those two tend to spark nationwide barbequeing, fireworks and parade bonanzas like no other, right?

That’s not a problem for our nation’s retail industry, though. Every year, as Flag Day rolls around, a plethora of flag-adorned merchandise starts filling out store shelves in preparation for Independence Day a few weeks away. As the folks at WalletPop show in their recent video, these days you can purchase the American flag on pretty much anything, from neckties, candles and T-shirts, to oven mits, mugs, underwear, jackets and even what seems to be over-sized, over-blinged place settings (correct us if we’re wrong… those might simply be gigantic pins).

American families, to be sure, already own a fair bit of patriotic merchandise. According to a 2009 survey by the National Retail Federation, 121 million Americans own an American flag, 89 million have patriotic apparel, 58 million own decorations and 25 million have bumper stickers or car decals. Yet, in June 2009, 14% of consumers planned to purchase additional patriotic merchandise.

Some budget-conscious patriots might question the need to buy yet another flag-adorned tie, scarf or beach bikini. But hey, what’s more patriotic than supporting the American economy with some shopping?

Then again, we wonder, where were most of these trinkets really produced? (We’re putting our money on a country that starts with a “C” and ends in “hina.”)

WalletPop’s Jason Cochran says it best, though: “Maybe it’s easy to question the ethics of slapping the American flag on something just so you can make a quick buck. Then again, that’s capitalism. And isn’t capitalism the American way?”

Happy Flag Day!

Watch the video above, or check it out on


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