As a child, you learn that having parts left over after reassembling something is not good. Among your spares lies something integral to the function of the whole, and gone are the days when you could sweep up all the parts and take them to some neighborhood fix-it shop. At the fix-it shop, you could defer the tasks of making something work onto the shoulders of someone who was mechanically talented. Not so anymore.
Tried to find a cobbler recently? There may be one five towns over, but the question will be, is it repairable? Many shoes and boots are made to be disposable. The shoe repair person looks at them and offers to dispose of them for you. One place I went to last year carried a line of repairable, well-made shoes. They were about twice the cost of what you have on your feet now.
In a twist on the repairability of new products, my new bandsaw is made in China by an American company. It is pretty much entirely rebuildable by the owner with relatively modest mechanical skills. So a repairable product is possible.
I hear so many complain bitterly about the poor quality of imported goods. But many of the things I own are made abroad and are well made.
I worked for many years for UPS. One of our frequently used statements about quality control was, “what you accept is what you’ll get.” If your company manufactures goods and has low-quality control standards, then that’s what you’ll always get; shoddy goods. Please note that I didn’t specify where the goods get made; shoddy “made in America” is still shoddy.
I don’t blame the foreign worker or factory when quality control is absent. I blame the company that contracted for the goods and wasn’t concerned about quality. They were more interested in a year-end bonus’ that could be generated by cutting costs by two percent. The executives may be motivated more by the bubbly they drink at the holiday party and less about the goods they sell or the service they offer.
I suggest that we pay less attention to where an item was made, but I spend lots of attention on product reviews. And there are reviews of almost anything you want to buy in multiples. Although you have to be careful of paid-for-play reviews, you can gather lots of information by looking at percentages and the minor caveats in even the best reviews. Just start by typing ” best__________” and start throwing out those that are apparent advertisements—buying a durable good? Some sites review washers, dryers, and such.
We don’t have to be victims of companies that sell trash. More poorly manufactured stuff is out there, but reciprocally it’s easier to research products now than it ever was before.