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Old 03-21-2008, 07:57 PM
 
Location: North of The Border
253 posts, read 1,514,469 times
Reputation: 423

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About a month ago I went to a chain discount store (think of it as a mini-Walmart) to purchase a couple bottles of vinegar for cleaning (69 cents there vs 3 bucks at my local market). It was there and then I made a regretful mistake, but one that has finally changed my mind FOREVER. I caught sight of a kitchen spice rack for sale, stacked up in boxes all heavily taped. The picture on the box looked just like a spice rack I had many years ago which was manufactured in Germany - glass bottles with metal screw-top caps, designed to hang neatly on a spinning base so you can easily find the spice you want. The spice rack was $15, and I thought "oh cool, it must be a closeout special," and I bought it, no returns allowed.

When I got home and opened the box, what I found was $15 worth of cheap, plastic crap and I almost started crying, but instead I got pissed off. The glass was of poor quality with air bubbles in it and the "metal screw-top caps" were just cheap plastic with a metallic film that chipped off when I touched it. When I unscrewed the bottle lids, little shavings of black plastic fell all over - I'm supposed to put food in these? I tried hanging the bottles on the spinning base (which was of course a flimsy piece of plastic) and it was so lopsided I just put everything back in the box and wrote it off as a personal loss.

I don't shop at big box stores, period. It's been about ten years since I stopped giving them business. I buy most things second hand, including 100% of my clothing (except underwear), or if it's something really special I'll pay top dollar for something that I know for sure is a quality product with positive consumer reviews, and was made in Europe, or anywhere but China. The spice rack was the final straw for me, and I now refuse to purchase junk products that break after one use or clothing that rips and frays after one wear/wash.

This is the only way to change the economic disaster of Americans buying cheap junk, over and over, made by 5 cents per hour slaves in Asia. And you wonder why thousands of people are crying over the loss of work in the US, yet they run over to the Walmart and exacerbate the problem by buying more and more crap from China. I refuse to be in that system.

And this is not a rant against China, which I believe to be one of the most fascinating and innovative countries in the world. What I do believe is they are laughing all the way to the bank, making a killing off cheap, toxic products that we "rich white people" keep buying and buying. China's population is so out of control that the masses will do anything to make money - even if it means throwing their values and integrity out the window. It's the corporate business monsters that I despise, not China. What a mess.

I sorely lament the days where people took pride in the things they made. There were once words like quality, craftsmanship, and product endurance. Not now. The items, particularly furniture, that I find at thrift stores and resale shops are far superior in quality and endurance than the brand new stuff you'll find at the store. Last year I hurriedly bought some inexpensive garden trowels - I wasn't thinking. One of them broke the moment I used it out in my garden - the handle just broke off. After that, I went to a flea market and found a bunch of old, used yard tools that actually work and should last for some time.

NEVER AGAIN.
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Old 03-22-2008, 05:32 AM
MB2
 
Location: Sebastian/ FL
3,496 posts, read 8,133,993 times
Reputation: 2657
I can understand your frustration....I've been there myself.
Like every shopper, do I like good deals, when I spot one.
But, I shop now with 2 "phrases" tucked in my head : 1. You pay for what you get and 2. If it seems to good to be true, it isn't.
I study the "Made in ...." labels more closely, and I don't hesitate to open up a box to inspect the goods, BEFORE I buy it.
Just made that into a routine and habit....and have had no more rude awakenings once I got home and used it.

But, it does get tricky when one is looking for a household item like, say, a vacuum cleaner or such. (Since electric items like these are mainly made in foreign countries anymore ).
I insist of "plugging" it in right in the store........and make it to the point of studying the warranty period, extended warranty offer and return policies more into detail.
So far so good.......
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Old 03-22-2008, 08:47 AM
 
1,126 posts, read 2,211,316 times
Reputation: 557
that's what happens when you try to go cheap
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Old 03-22-2008, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
3,111 posts, read 4,375,587 times
Reputation: 2714
I avoid cheap junk as much as possible. I prefer buying home accessories from craftsmen in NH and VT than at Christmas Tree Shops or Walmart. I don't buy cheap furniture made in China or similar places made from particle board.

It is hard to avoid buying things from China, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc., when traditional sources of quality products such as L.L. Bean now rely heavily on these imports as well.

If we didn't have an appetite for so much stuff to have in our possession (personally guilty as well) people would perhaps choose better quality products that offer a better value over the disposable ones that are being constantly consumed and replaced.
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:51 AM
 
Location: England/France
13,091 posts, read 11,831,386 times
Reputation: 26783
If that happened in the UK -ie what is inside the box does not resemble what was shown on the box, then you'd be entitled to your money back and Trading Standards would confiscate the shipment.

People sometimes complain that everything seems to be made abroad, and it does seem that way.

Vote if you can with your buying habits, not always easy I know.
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
14,866 posts, read 44,243,455 times
Reputation: 21275
"The picture on the box looked just like a spice rack I had many years ago which was manufactured in Germany - glass bottles with metal screw-top caps, designed to hang neatly on a spinning base so you can easily find the spice you want. The spice rack was $15, and I thought "oh cool, it must be a closeout special," and I bought it, no returns allowed."

The UCC is the equivalent of the UK Trading Standards. Consumer laws vary from state to state, but the concept is "merchantability." A store that sells an item that cannot serve the advertised purpose is in violation of the Uniform Commercial Code. Various state consumer protection agencies enforce the code against the worst offenders, but the consumer is on their own until the point of egregious behavior is reached.

I would take the item back to the store in that original packaging, show it to the store manager, and simply state that I wanted my money back on the POS, or I would stand outside on the public sidewalk for half an hour courteously explaining my experiences inside the store to every single customer that walked up to the door.

My bet is that not only will you get your money back, but an apology.
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:12 AM
CBB
 
Location: Munich + FL, 32082
481 posts, read 1,876,050 times
Reputation: 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnubler View Post
This is the only way to change the economic disaster of Americans buying cheap junk, over and over, made by 5 cents per hour slaves in Asia. And you wonder why thousands of people are crying over the loss of work in the US, yet they run over to the Walmart and exacerbate the problem by buying more and more crap from China.
Good point. But if you want to do something for the American economy, you also shouldn't buy European stuff.

Plus - Europe is large. I may be a bit biased , but "made in Bulgaria" normally can't be compared to "made in Germany".

The problem these days is: there are a lot of products that are not MADE in China (or any other cheap labour country), but its components were made there and you will never know.
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Old 03-22-2008, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Florida
47 posts, read 542,634 times
Reputation: 34
that stinks.... I am esp. careful when buying toys or anything for my 6 y.o. I also try not to buy anything, regardless of where it's manufactured, that cannot be returned.
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Old 03-23-2008, 09:14 AM
 
7,138 posts, read 11,982,724 times
Reputation: 2289
I was in one of those bed and bath stores, taking back a very poorly designed ortho pillow (no doubt made in China). Can barely move my neck... And was looking at the kitchen gadgets, pots/pans--EVERYTHING made in China! I have for several years now started "shopping" for kitchen things at the antique stores, older "stuff" generally just better quality, the bowls are glass, nice and sturdy, etc. Guess I will continue doing so. But did finally find a nice pillow (and MUCH less expensive) made in the USA at another store!!
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Old 03-23-2008, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
28,993 posts, read 60,873,050 times
Reputation: 13998
Well I'm happy to see the "Wally World Cheerleaders" have yet to come onto this thread calling us "unpatriotic" because we boycott Wal-Mart. It seems like whenever I personally say one unflattering thing about Wally World I get reamed out for it. Let me just tell you that if you ever watch the DVD "The High Cost of Low Price," which I personally own, you'll NEVER want to step foot in a Wal-Mart ever again. I haven't purchased one item there in two-and-a-half years, and my next-door neighbor also boycotts them for unfair labor practices overseas. Wal-Mart is crying poverty nowadays, but if they would stop blaming their losses on a "poor economy" and instead due a TRUE STUDY, they'd probably see that they have lost a large chunk of their formerly loyal clientele due to their OWN actions. If and when Wal-Mart cleans up its act, maybe (and that's a BIG maybe), I'll be back. Until then I'll continue to waste gas driving even further and further to independent merchants to do my shopping, passing by the Wal-Mart that is a half-mile from my home, in order to prove a political point.
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