November 22, 2006

Label Shock.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 1:36 am

While I was in the Hotel Thayer at West Point this weekend, I strolled into the Gift Shop with an eye toward buying a West Point souvenir, maybe a tee shirt or hat. As soon as I walked through the door, a nice looking windbreaker caught my eye. I looked at the label, and it said:

Made in Vietnam

Now, I know that the leadership of the past and current administrations has decided to normalize relations with Vietnam (a notion I have never been all that comfortable with), but seeing West Point merchandise that was made in Vietnam being sold on West Point Property was a shocker.

I left the store without buying anything. So did the Usual Suspects, all of whom are Vietnam Era and Vietnam veterans. I suspect many people, particularly veterans and non-veterans in my age group, leave without buying anything.

The gift shops at West Point (one in the Hotel Thayer and one in the Visitor Center) are operated by the Daughters of the United States Army, a nonprofit organization, which donates the profits to local communities, but the trademarks associated with the United States Military Academy belong to the Department of the Army, and their use requires the grant of a royalty-bearing license. The trademark page of Academy website states in part:

The Department of Army owns the trademarks associated with the United States Military Academy, and has authorized the Military Academy to administer the trademark program. The marks are controlled by the Office of the Directorate of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Association of Graduates. The Collegiate Licensing Company of Atlanta, GA oversees the use of the trademarks on products and grants licenses for their use. Collegiate Licensing Company also polices and enforces the marks and is a vital partner with the Department of Army in ensuring West Point’s names, symbols, and colors are used in a manner consistent with its reputation as a builder of leaders of character prepared for service to the Nation as an Army officer.

To use any USMA-related trademark on any item or in connection with any service, a potential vendor must first obtain a license, or permission, to use the trademark from CLC. Licenses generate royalties, which are paid into the general funds of both ODIA and AOG to directly support the Corps of Cadets. West Point’s Licensing Director works with CLC to ensure only the highest-quality goods and services carry the USMA-related trademarks and is the final approval authority.

Is anyone watching the store?


  1. This really did floor me.

    I so wanted to go to West Point and spend some days there now that i am up in this ‘neck of the woods. And, now, i wonder?…What do folks think of when they do this?

    I’m really thinking about writing…no…i AM going to write a letter. This is outrageous in my eyes.

    No…i AM NOT a happy camper with the West Point gift shop! And they shall know it!

    Comment by imp — November 22, 2006 @ 8:36 pm

  2. I imagine that feels a like a slap in the face for many. I think imp has the right idea… thank you for making this public knowledge.

    and… Happpy Thanksgiving.

    Comment by Pixie — November 23, 2006 @ 11:27 am

  3. ok, if THAT outrages you, consider this: on a recent trip to OUR NATION’S CAPITOL we were at the Washington Monument gift shop and we could not find EVEN ONE SOUVENIER THAT WAS MADE IN THE USA (China, Thailand, Taiwan…) NOT ONE. We left with nothing. The same at the Smithsonian, the Lincoln Memorial… I was afraid to look at Arlington. I think that EVERY souvenier in EVERY gift shop at EVERY National monument or institution (i.e., those paid for with taxpayers dollars) should be made in the USA. No exceptions. Do you thonk if you go to the Great Wall you will find souveniers made in USA?

    Comment by Some Soldier's Mom — November 23, 2006 @ 7:47 pm

  4. I completely agree with Some Soldier’s Mom.

    I didn’t mention that every other article of clothing I saw in the Hotel Thayer/West Point gift shop was made in places like China or Bangladesh.

    Perhaps the worst I’ve ever seen was a post card, purchased at Pearl Harbor, showing the sunken U.S.S. Arizona, which is the resting place of many of its crew. You guessed it. The post card was Made in Japan.


    Comment by Jim — November 23, 2006 @ 11:58 pm

  5. Come on now!! Are you all serious?? We are a world of diversity and anyways our country shoves our policies down other countries throat. What’s worse buying a t-shirt in Vietnam or destroying Vietnam and or invading Iraq??
    Stop buying gas!! It comes from Iraq and Iran.
    We are a world, planet earth and we need to learn how to live together ,in peace, and take care of our planet and all living things upon it.

    Comment by Andre — May 11, 2007 @ 3:02 am

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