I work with new and nearly new furniture every day. While nothing surprises me any more, I am usually appalled at the quality.
While it all looks good from a distance, giving it a closer look shows the engineering lacks understanding, details are skimpy, materials are shoddy and workmanship is sweatshop. Distressing fills in for careful handling, engineered wood is put in places where it can't handle the stress, paint and heavy pigment covers up unremarkable woods (or engineered wood product), drawers don't operate smoothly, parts crack and split from shrinkage, joints are held together with staples (plenty of them), and in an effort to save $5 or less on a piece, hardware bends under hand pressure.
Most of this furniture is falling apart before "5 years same as cash" is paid off.
Comments? Thoughts? Do we get what we deserve by thinking a $399 sofa is going to last? Has Wal*Mart so infiltrated our thinking that we need to buy everything based solely on purchase price?