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The continuously declining quality of consumer goods [rant!]

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posted on Jul, 29 2012 @ 02:57 PM
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reply to post by ChaoticOrder
 


You've hit upon one of my biggest pet peeves, and here are my thoughts on just a few of the many reasons as to why this is happening.

One of my biggest life lessons in corporate politics: I worked for an electronics company back in the 80's that suffered some debilitating internal politics. They created commercial modems, which at the time were slightly larger than a full-sized desktop computer today. My job was to repair power supplies that came back from the field.

I repaired between 10-15 a day. That's 10-15 giant modems shipped back to us from the customers, at our expense - I was told $15 each, so let's say $150 - 225 a day plus my salary, and keep in mind that this is strictly power supply problems. Many more were returned for other reasons. The quality was so bad that I could sometimes hold one upside down and components would actually drop onto the floor!

What I eventually learned was that the company had previously had serious issues meeting shipping deadlines because the quality was so poor that about 40% were rejected by QC. So how did they solve this problem? They laid off the entire QC department and had technicians test 1 out of 25 units. If one passed, all 25 were considered good to go.

It turns out that it was actually more profitable to pay shipping and repair costs than to pay for quality production in the first place, so that was good enough for them.

Secondly, I blame NAFTA in a big way for the declining quality of products, as well as our food, since much of it is now imported. China seems to have the belief that Americans would rather pay less and accept poor quality, than pay a little more for something that lasts, and it seems they're correct. It's also good for their profits, as nothing from china is designed to be repaired. We just toss it out and buy another one. There was a time when this would have infuriated the average American.

Lastly, What little is produced in this country can't compete with the cheap labor and lack of regulations overseas. I'm not saying that there should be no regulations on business, however we all know how inefficient the government is with the mountains of paperwork required for a business to stay in business. If the government were serious at all about improving the economy (both Democrats and Republicans), then they would streamline these processes and at least make an effort to encourage more manufacturing in this country.




posted on Jul, 29 2012 @ 03:28 PM
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I'm amazed how products are getting better and better. Take automobiles, for example. Remember the pieces of crap you bought in the seventies? They had to have a tune up every few thousand miles, replace points & plugs. They got 10-12 miles per gallon and belched an amazing amount of smoke. You had to pay extra for things like an AM radio or an automatic transmission. You had to actually roll the windows down manually. A/C was a luxury on more expensive models. By the time you got to 100,000 miles the things would barely start. The motor would have to be overhauled. The body was rusting out. The paint was gone. It was worthless. Have you ever tried to drive a car from, say, the sixties? They're a pain to drive. You actually have to work at it. Remember the first Subarus? They came with a 2 cylinder 2 cycle engine that wore out at 60,000 miles.

Today, for the same relative price. your auto is just getting broken in at 100,000 miles. Tune ups are a thing of the past. I have a 2004 with 122,000 miles on it and it looks and drives like a new car. Mechanical devices of all sorts are made with finer tolerances and more precision such that they don't even compare to the crap we used to be forced to buy. I'll take any brand, foreign or domestic, today over yesteryear.

Or what about computers? I bought my first Apple ][ in 1978 for $2000, invested another $5,000 into it for disk drives ($500 apiece), all kinds of cards like a CP/M card for $400. memory cost $120 for 16K, i.e.: 16,384 bytes. The thing had a 40 character wide screen and was all uppercase letters. By today's standards it was primitive. But today I can buy a brand new laptop with a 100gig drive and 6 gigs of memory for $500!

As far as food, yeah, I have to admit it angered me when they shaved the middle out of the Dial soap bars. That was a low blow. But the fact is you don't have to buy hamburger helper. Look at the produce aisle. It used to be a given veggie was available only when it was "in season." Today you can get the most exotic veggies from anywhere in the world year around. The only stuff you can only buy "in season" are local berries and English peas. I can even buy salmon year around now.

I sure wouldn;t want to go back to the "good old days." That's because they were called "These trying times."



posted on Jul, 29 2012 @ 04:40 PM
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Originally posted by schuyler
I'm amazed how products are getting better and better. Take automobiles, for example. Remember the pieces of crap you bought in the seventies? They had to have a tune up every few thousand miles, replace points & plugs. They got 10-12 miles per gallon and belched an amazing amount of smoke. You had to pay extra for things like an AM radio or an automatic transmission. You had to actually roll the windows down manually. A/C was a luxury on more expensive models. By the time you got to 100,000 miles the things would barely start. The motor would have to be overhauled. The body was rusting out. The paint was gone. It was worthless. Have you ever tried to drive a car from, say, the sixties? They're a pain to drive. You actually have to work at it. Remember the first Subarus? They came with a 2 cylinder 2 cycle engine that wore out at 60,000 miles.

Today, for the same relative price. your auto is just getting broken in at 100,000 miles. Tune ups are a thing of the past. I have a 2004 with 122,000 miles on it and it looks and drives like a new car. Mechanical devices of all sorts are made with finer tolerances and more precision such that they don't even compare to the crap we used to be forced to buy. I'll take any brand, foreign or domestic, today over yesteryear.

Or what about computers? I bought my first Apple ][ in 1978 for $2000, invested another $5,000 into it for disk drives ($500 apiece), all kinds of cards like a CP/M card for $400. memory cost $120 for 16K, i.e.: 16,384 bytes. The thing had a 40 character wide screen and was all uppercase letters. By today's standards it was primitive. But today I can buy a brand new laptop with a 100gig drive and 6 gigs of memory for $500!

As far as food, yeah, I have to admit it angered me when they shaved the middle out of the Dial soap bars. That was a low blow. But the fact is you don't have to buy hamburger helper. Look at the produce aisle. It used to be a given veggie was available only when it was "in season." Today you can get the most exotic veggies from anywhere in the world year around. The only stuff you can only buy "in season" are local berries and English peas. I can even buy salmon year around now.

I sure wouldn;t want to go back to the "good old days." That's because they were called "These trying times."

While some of what you say is true, you give absolutely no context.

1. Are cars built better than in the late 70's and early 80's? Yes, But the late 70's and early 80's is when the automobile industry decided to go with planned obsolescence. By the time, the 90's rolled around and they lost a significant amount of market share to the Japanese auto industry, They then started to change there manufacturing methods, but they still keep the planned absolescence. They've just moved it out a little farther. Cars from the 60's were hard to kill, so what if they didn't have all the comforts.of the cars today. This post is about quality, not technological advancements.
2. Your Apple reference is to technological advancement and price, not quality.
3. Your reference to food out of season does not touch upon QUALITY. It is only a by product of globalism. The fact is, you don't know how the food was grown or what chemicals were used to produce and transport it.

Clearly, you don't get the premise of the post. It is about QUALITY. It seemed pretty clear. Geez, if I didn't know better, I would say your intent was to obfuscate the premise of the original post. Why would you do that? It doesn't make sense?!



posted on Jul, 29 2012 @ 05:53 PM
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Originally posted by BravoBull
While some of what you say is true, you give absolutely no context.

1. Are cars built better than in the late 70's and early 80's? Yes, But the late 70's and early 80's is when the automobile industry decided to go with planned obsolescence. By the time, the 90's rolled around and they lost a significant amount of market share to the Japanese auto industry, They then started to change there manufacturing methods, but they still keep the planned absolescence. They've just moved it out a little farther. Cars from the 60's were hard to kill, so what if they didn't have all the comforts.of the cars today. This post is about quality, not technological advancements.


Totally unsubstantiated opinion that does not jibe with the facts nor does it make much sense. You're contradicting yourself. There is no such thing as planned obsolesence. That's pure fantasy. Cars from the sixties were EASY to kill. In fact, they died on their own. Remember that Subaru I mentioned? That was Japanese "quality" at the time. The QUALITY of cars today is lightyears ahead of the sixties. It IS a QUALITY issue.


2. Your Apple reference is to technological advancement and price, not quality.


It's also about bang for the buck. If you had to pay 1977 prices for memory today, you'd have to shell out several MILLION dcollars for memory for your laptop. I also maintain there is a quality issue. The Apple 3, for example, was so poorly built that they sent out a service announcement telling you to pick up the computer a foot off the ground and DROP it so that, hopefully, the chips would seat in their sockets better. Today you can put a whole computer on a chip. The QUALITY of motherboards has improved drastically. They don't even use sockets and chips any more. You don't have to drop them to get them to work. They work out of the box and you don't have to know anything. No more tinkering. It IS a QUALITY issue.


3. Your reference to food out of season does not touch upon QUALITY. It is only a by product of globalism. The fact is, you don't know how the food was grown or what chemicals were used to produce and transport it.


It IS about quality. If I want "organic" food, I can get it. I couldn't thirty years ago. The issue did not exist. Now there are more "organic" vegetables in the store than there were vegetables in the store thirty years ago. And yes, transportation has improved. My table has more choices than ever before. It IS a QUALITY issue.


Clearly, you don't get the premise of the post. It is about QUALITY. It seemed pretty clear. Geez, if I didn't know better, I would say your intent was to obfuscate the premise of the original post. Why would you do that? It doesn't make sense?!


Clearly, you have a political agenda. You don't care about the facts. You've made up a conclusion that fits your political persuasions, then cherry pick the "facts" to suit yourself and "prove" your conclusion, which falls apart under examination. Candy bar sizes? Please. You choose to buy crap and wonder why it breaks. Well, don't buy crap.

My intent here is express another point of view: mine, to show that your rant and point of view is not universal. That doesn't "obfuscate" the point. It simply shows its flaws. That's is why I would do that. It makes perfect sense to me.

Oh, wait.....I must be a disinformation shill paid by the government! So WHERE IS MY CHECK?????
edit on 7/29/2012 by schuyler because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 12:35 AM
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reply to post by ChaoticOrder
 


Our world revolves around money and profit. A business is not considered profitable if it does not make 100% more income than it did the year before. Keeping that in mind the following happens..

-Products are made not to last because if they last you for a long period of time then you will not be inclined to buy new which cuts into their profits so they make products that are meant to break.

-Every new manufacturing process is not meant to make the product better for the consumer but to cut costs of making the product in the first place. either by making it more efficiently with less man power, or by getting by with giving less to the consumer.

Thing is nothign will change because we will continue to give them our money so they do not have much of an incentive to change.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 01:28 AM
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Welcome to the wonderful world of Capitalism.

The process which you are describing and and seemingly fed up with is called planned obsolescence. Planned obsolescence is implemented in maintain cyclical consumption, the driving force of capitalism.

The reason why products break down, is so that you have to go buy more. This in turn supports a job market, so that everyone can have wages, and in turn, stimulate the economy through cyclical consumption.

This process is self defeating. In Capitalism, there are 3 major sections in the manufacturing process.

!) Overhead costs - Materials, resources, power/energy costs, in which the price of these goods is maintained through the laws of economics, supply and demand.

2) Labor Costs - Which turns out to be wages for people to buy the goods, thus stimulating cyclical consumption.

3) Profit - The driving motive behind the system, in which part of the profit is reinvested further stimulating economic growth.

Due to the nature of the system, the profit motive will never be threatened as self interest and personal gain is the name of the game. Overhead costs are maintained through international competition and the laws of economics. Any company which has to make cuts usually does so in the labor portion of the manufacturing process. This is why we see all the labor movements, unions, occupy movements etc.

The only real solution for any company to cut costs is to mechanize society, which is happening today at an alarming rate. This however cut jobs, and takes away wages that in turn would be used to stimulate the economy through cyclical consumption.

Add on to this the true nature of money, fiat currency, debt that can never be repaid, and the constant need for economic growth, an understanding arises which is unavoidable. We are headed to towards a global collapse.

Thankfully a Resource Based Economy is on the way, whether you have accepted that or not.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 02:48 AM
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reply to post by schuyler
 


I definately agree with you when it comes to point 1, but I prefer to call it "built-in" obsolescence. Just have a look at how many services a car needs within it's first year of being on road. Usually it's at 1000km to change oil and filters, 5000km to change oil, filters and a few other parts, then 10,000, 20,000, and every other 10,000km after that. And for those of you thinking "oh, but every 10,000km isn't that bad", well in my old job before I got sick, I would rack up between 60 to 75 thousand km A YEAR, so having to get a service at 10,000km intervals would mean I had to have the car in up to 7 times a year. And it ain't cheap!


Not sure where you got the idea that computers don't use sockets anymore......considering 3 of the 4 major components within a computer a plugged in to a socket (that being the CPU, GPU, and RAM), with the Hard Drives plugging into a socket, so technically all 4 major internal parts in a computer actually being "socketed" parts.



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 11:30 AM
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My wife made a box of macaroni for the kids the other evening and it said that it feeds 4, I think, but anyways, she hollered and me to come and look and I laughed. It wasn't enough for a elf, let alone a human! And it was expensive too. I won't say here what I say to my wife when we encounter this phenomenon because I would be called anti-semitic, but bygod, it's the truth.

It just gives us all more reason to make our own foods and to stop buying the crap from stores. Grow a big garden, can it. Make your own pasta and cheese. Can deer, squirrel, and fish. Can fuit from trees. Me and my wife have scaled back and make some things ourselves. Can't wait 'til we never have to return to the store again for anything. I'm in the middle of figuring out a way to make toilet paper from trees.
edit on 30-7-2012 by Fylgje because: (no reason given)
edit on 30-7-2012 by Fylgje because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 6 2012 @ 05:45 AM
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I dread buying new stuff these days because I know there will be a problem with it, I try to buy second hand if possible - not recommended for food though.
After many return trips to my local asbo, or asda as they prefer to be called, to return faulty goods - microwaves, slowcookers etc, the last straw came when I purchased a Clipper 'cigarette' lighter which failed after 3 days and the igniter wouldn't ignite. Returned it to the store and was told they don't do refunds on 'smoking' materials. I explained that a lighter was not a smoking material as it was for lighting 'things' like barbies etc, the store manager even got involved and told me that there wasn't much gas in the lighter, so I must have been using it.
I won't put into print how the conversation went from then on, but suffice to say, this happened on 18th November 2011 and I have banned myself from the place, and have saved a fortune. For the sake of a lighter that cost £1.35, they have lost the profit on my custom forever.
Until we start voting with out feet and refusing to prop up these vampires, they will continue to bleed us dry. The more negative publicity they get the better because they only care about profit, they don't give a monkeys about 'us'. or the consumer protection laws that are supposed to protect us. They think they're too big to fail, but we can make them fail, and it's time that we did.



posted on Aug, 6 2012 @ 07:31 PM
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Here's my rant! I have a Phillips game controller that's useless to me on my new system because Phillips will not produce a 64-bit driver. It's well-built and perfectly good piece of hardware I can't ever use now. This reminds me of the Phillips flash player that broke for no reason not too long ago after several months of use. And the new Phillips flash player that works well otherwise but came with "Songbird" software that will drive you to drink. It seems they could do better but routinely stop with 80% of the job finished. Their advertising slogan should be- "Phillips- Going most of the way for you, then stopping for a break".



posted on Aug, 6 2012 @ 11:19 PM
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Originally posted by Dreamer99
S&F
Your rant was enough to get me out of my hidey-hole today.

Immediately made me think of the old Nintendo products. The Gameboy was nearly indestructible, there's an image from Nintendo Power showing a Gameboy running Tetris that had survived a Gulf war bombing. Going on that theme, Nintendo Power decided to test their products for durability.

I can't remember the exact results, but it was surprising that most products survived most things they dished out. The one I remember the most was a Gameboy Color that they named Jesus, because they drowned it in the toilet and after 3 days it came back to life.

Personally, I have a second hand N64 that had been thrown against a concrete floor, busting off most of the outer shell. The damned thing still works. Actually, that one works better than my intact N64; the intact one freezes up randomly.

The thing is, that's where it seems to end. I never owned a gamecube, but I would imagine being smacked against concrete wouldn't be good for the optical laser. I owned a Wii, but it mysteriously went kaputski one day and I don't know why. It turns on but won't load into anything, whether it's in memory or on a disc. I owned two DS's. First one fell from my TV stand and broke. Wasn't a large fall either, but it cracked the case and the device wouldn't stay on for more than a minute or two. The second DS went the way of my Wii. Mysteriously kaput.

So that's what gamers these days have to deal with. Mysteriously kaput devices. I have a few friends who had 1st generation Xboxes or PS3's that went kaput. The really odd thing is that they conveniently seem to crap the bed right after the warranty runs out..


It's like companies like Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony are programming the consoles to start breaking after warranty is up.






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