Are our aplliance manufacturers growing more stupid over time?

joyfulguyMarch 14, 2007

About one Friday in each month, an appliance repair man comes on the provincial section of our national broadcaster for an hour's phone-in program, diagnosing problems with appliances.

He says that they used to make appliances to last 30 - 40 years, routinely.

Most of such only last about 10 years, now.

He's complained to the manufacturers, to little effect - so far.

It's very wasteful to use precious resources to dig iron ore, smelt steel (an energy hog), then haul it to another factory to cut it and shape the pieces, then haul them to an assembly plant, and finally to a dealer's showroom. And the energy that it takes to get all of this done. Plus additional pollutants.

To need to do that same procedure over again in 10 years, when they're capable of building an almost identical product that'll last for 40 years, with little more complicated manufacture, and little more costly?

We need to get on the manufactureres' case and let them know that we are dissatisfied: we want a quality product that'll last a lot longer than currently.

There are other important uses for those materials - e.g., equipment to drill wells in Africa and other places, and pumps to draw the water near people's homes. So that Mom doesn't need to walk for miles to collect dirty (possibly polluted) water for the family's needs - can use that time and effort more productively.

They say that were we to develop a world-wide society that uses the world's scarce resources at the level that North Americans do ...

... that we'd need four planets in order to meet their needs.

That isn't going to happen!

But third World people are insisting that they have a fairer share of the world's resources - and that's going to happen.

Whether we like it or not.

Let's reorder our life systems to be more conserving of the world's resources.

ole joyful

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Our Whirlpool dishwasher broke after 5 years. I was able to repair it with a new $30 part.

The trend is definitely cheaper parts and/or production being sent to Mexico. They would be making large appliances in China by now if the shipping costs weren't so prohibitive.

So not only do we get lower quality products, but we also see our factories being shut down as production shifts south.

This is modern capitalism. Let the buyer beware!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 9:16AM
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My mom has a Hoover upright vacuum that's over 50 years old. I used it recently and it still works great. On the other hand, I have gone thru three vacuums in the last ten years, including one Hoover bagless that was a total waste of money, IMHO. My current is a Bissel, not so great but it's still running.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 10:06AM
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To need to do that same procedure over again in 10 years, when they're capable of building an almost identical product that'll last for 40 years, with little more complicated manufacture, and little more costly?

The relentless drive for corporate profits notwithstanding, many of the improvements on current appliances have come to some extent at the expense of longevity. But would we want it differently?

So that big ol' Maytag washer has been sitting in the basement for the last 30 years. Sure, it's saved some metal and plastic and the manufacture/shipping of a few replacements by lasting that long. But it's swallowing 40-45 gallons of water for every load of laundry you do -- with a concomitant higher level of detergent use (all of which have their own effects on the environment) -- compared to a current front-loading washer, which uses one third of the water, one third of the detergent, and takes better care of your clothes (so they have to be replaced less frequently).

Same thing in your kitchen. It's nice that the ol' Frigidaire has lasted 20-25 years. But it's sucking up electricity at three times the rate of a new fridge (and the new fridge is using significantly less than fridges from just five years ago). That old Frigidaire is feeding a refrigeration system that lasts a long time because it was designed for longevity, not efficiency. How much do we pay for that, every single month?

At what point does it make sense to replace old, inefficient appliances with new, efficient appliances? Manufacturing typically is not a "green" process. But in view of starkly-higher energy used by older appliances, it's a matter of choosing the lesser evil. Sadly, hardly anything "green" is ever a clear-cut choice. And, with the pace of improvement speeding up, you start wondering how long you want things to last.

They would be making large appliances in China by now if the shipping costs weren't so prohibitive.

That's why they've come here. Haier, the largest appliance manufacturer in China, makes refrigerators of all sizes in South Carolina, and has indicated an interest in making other appliances here as well. They even are rumored to have put in a bid for Maytag before Whirlpool snapped up the Iowans (or what was left of them).

Don't forget -- 40 years ago, "Made in Japan" was a joke. No one is laughing anymore.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 10:41AM
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This is the exact reason why I'm keeping my old stuff. I go to furniture show rooms and appliance stores and I find high prices and low quality now. Lots of features, advertising and sales talk, but the basic quality isn't there in most items. It might come in a hundred different colors and have more dials than a submarine, but often I just want something that works. How many cycles do you really want on your washing machine, I've only ever used the two anyway. I can't even imagine why an oven needs to be digital either.

I'm not particularly wealthy and I don't like consumerism for the sake of it, so I normally go shopping only for items I really need, and look either second hand (many high quality bargains to be found) or head to a new shop which has good quality stock - but I do expect to pay perhaps 2-3 times as much, sometimes more even, for the 'same' item. I eventually save money as these items last a very long time, and I much prefer them anyway. The expensive department stores have been beaten on price by 90% of their competitors, but the best value for money is rarely the cheapest price.

Besides, I don't buy household items every month, not even every year, after all I have collected (mostly second hand at first) a house full of reasonable quality items.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 11:04AM
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I think the idea is to make high quality appliances that last and work properly and hopefully use less water and electricity without sacrificing performance.

Manufacturers don't seem to understand that many consumers would pay more for a high quality appliance. How would a consumer know which one lasts a long time? How about a 10 or 20 year full warranty. Another tactic could be a design that allows easy service and diagnosis by a homeowner with available and reasonably priced parts.

Whirlpool, the appliance leader by volume, has been shifting low to mid-end production to Mexico and will probably continue to do so. Corporate CEOs have a short tenure and the temptation to quickly drive up profits is so great because of their stock options tied to such.

What the consumer is left with today are products that have short lifespans and are difficult to service due to the latest whiz-bang features and electronic controls.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 11:51AM
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Don't tell me that guys who build rocket ships to go the the moon and Mars can't build an appliance that is easy on water, easy on detergent, ...

... and lasts 30 years?

O.K. - maybe not the same guys/gals.

But we're claiming that we're so smart.

Trouble is - so many people want the latest thing, the designer stuff ...

... that looks great, but doesn't last.

Sort of like the false faces on so many of us humans.

So much of it is show.

I'm more interested in where someone's heart is than what her/his face looks like.

After all's said and done ...

... give me a fridge that is skilfully designed, easy on electricity, doesn't make a lot of noise, looks after my food, medicines, etc. properly ...

... and will last for 30 years.

Is that too much to ask?

Don't tell me that it can't be done! We all know that it can.

The smart people today can do it.

They just don't want to.

If we leave their crap on the shelves ...

... they'll change their tune.

And not until we do precisely that.

We North Americans have to forget about this religion that we've followed for years of "growth".

We need to learn to live less high on the hog - because those days are coming for us.

We need to learn to live more efficiently, concentrating on quality.

Our shoddy stuff will be on the garbage heap soon.

And we with it.

The tough, sharp, hard-running people in the third world will hang our soft, short-visioned (greedy) hides on the fence.

I'm not too worried - I'm closer to 100 than to 50.

And I have no grandkids.

ole joyful

P.S. Don't forget - the pace of change is speeding up, every year.

o j

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 1:53PM
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A prime example of this is the Singer sewing machine company. They made their early models so well that they just did not wear out. So their marketing strategy was to go out and offer a great trade in value for the older machines. Once they obtained the older machines they promptly sledgehammered them. They realized they would never be able to sell newer machines unless they put newer gadgets on them to entice people to trade in. They had made them so well, they just did not wear out. Now most of your sewing machines are made with plastic parts that wear out rather quickly. Maytag wringers were given bad raps with a lot of hipe on getting your hands caught in the wringers, so people were eager to rid themselves of those. A lot of the plus's on the wringers is water saving, they are not difficult to use, might take a few more minutes than using an automatic. But the plus's are water saving and reuse of water if you are on a ground floor, as you can recycle the water for gardening. You also tend to look at your clothing more closely as far as repair or cleanliness. With automatics, you tend to just dump the load in and walk away. The parts are accessible for repair, both as far as ordering and being able to get into the machine to fix it. And they were made to last a long, long time when cared for properly. The other plus to a wringer, is you tend to unplug it when not in use, it is very easy to clean out the tub and remove the agitator and clean out the collected lint. How many of you do that with your automatic washers after each bout of running laundry. Some of the newer washing machines are designed so they seem to have a well or hollow under the agitator that does not drain, so you can end up with a smelly machine and whatever is leftover from the prior load just mixing in with your current load. Most newer machines also have a lint filter that you cannot get to. The washers of twenty or so years ago had a filter you could get to and clean out.
Food for thought. Good topic Joyful Guy.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 3:56AM
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I don't entirely agree that new appliances consume less energy than old ones. People today use a lot more energy per person than they did 20 years ago, even though the appliances from then are supposed to waste a lot more energy.

There are obvious lifestyle changes now, but I believe that many appliances today use more energy than ever before. The latest 'energy efficient' A-rated side by side fridges have turned up in the shops and they use about 500-600 kWh a year according to the tags. However, my entire house with three people living in it uses on average just under 1000 kWh of electric a year. This includes two freezers and a fridge (all from the 70s-80s and supposed to be energy wasting).

Also, I know that many of the latest plasma TV screens consume more energy per square inch than the old CRT sets do, and they're often a lot bigger too. My TV is from the late 70s, maybe very early 80s and was considered a big screen back then at around 20", but these days it's tiny compared to the new ones. It also uses a reasonably modest 80-90w of electric, while the biggest plasma sets use over 1000w, which is like turning on 12 TVs just like mine at the same time!

Many things are getting bigger and so is their energy consumption.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 10:54AM
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Manufacturers don't seem to understand that many consumers would pay more for a high quality appliance. How would a consumer know which one lasts a long time? How about a 10 or 20 year full warranty. Another tactic could be a design that allows easy service and diagnosis by a homeowner with available and reasonably priced parts.

Actually, there are manufacturers who design and sell appliances designed to last a couple of decades. Miele from Germany, in particular, has a reputation for being the Rolls-Royce of appliances -- at a Rolls-Royce price tag. ASKO of Sweden, Bosch of Germany, Aga of England, La Cornue of France, and a few others also go as far as saying that their products are designed for decades of service -- and they charge appropriately, as well. Trouble is, most Americans blanch at the idea of spending $1,500+ for a dishwasher or $2,000+ for a washing machine -- especially since they move every five years or so (on average) and, in many parts of the U.S., appliances are conveyed to the house buyer upon sale. Besides, most U.S. consumers, IMHO, are driven to buy the most they can for the least money, so the idea of spending more now to save later (especially when the later savings come in the form of not clogging landfills or sparing the energy cost of manufacturing a new appliance) is sort of -- um -- foreign. :-(

Don't tell me that guys who build rocket ships to go the the moon and Mars can't build an appliance that is easy on water, easy on detergent, ...

... and lasts 30 years?

I am reminded of the line attributed to John Glenn, as he sat in the cockpit of his Mercury spacecraft: "I felt about as good as anybody would, sitting in a capsule on top of a rocket that were both built by the lowest bidder."

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 11:06AM
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You can buy a miele washing machine for less than that here Steve_o, their cheapest model is about 500. However, for European prices that's pretty steep, a comparative machine with similar size drum from a major name will cost about £250 now. In fact, that cheaper model will probably have a slightly larger drum and faster spin speed.

The appliance market is very competitive between the major brands, they know that in retail it's all about the price. Consumers want to consume more of everything and are very eager to buy in to the idea that they can get more for their money. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Ideally things should be built to a good specification and sold for the actual cost plus a reasonable profit for the company, but as consumers have consistently bought cheaper and cheaper goods companies have stayed in competition by cutting back on quality. The actual quality of many major brand appliances is terrible now. I'm talking about when cables inside are trimmed absurdly short and barely reach between components because it saves £0.15 a machine, and when parts that were once made of metal are now made of thin plastic to save the company quite miserly amounts of money. I honestly believe that if you raised the price of every cheap appliance by something as modest as £20 and put that money in to improving the quality, then these appliances would last easily twice as long. Simply replacing the plastic parts that take the most wear with metal and using heavy duty switches would make a vast difference.

Anyway, while the tag in the store reads "fantastic washing machine for just £249.99", they're routinely selling their cheapened low quality machines for more the the good ones from companies like miele. The miele comes with a 5 year warranty included in the price, while you have to pay for it with the cheap one. Something small like £4.99 a month, that over the next five years adds up so many times that the total cost for the 'cheap' washer with 5 year warranty is significantly more than the miele or other expensive machine with the same warranty. And that's only if you don't also take out the hard-sold store credit, which usually starts at something shocking like 19% APR and goes up as high as 50% in some places, because then the total cost of your cheap bargain washing machine will be approaching that of a very high end machine. But of course customers rarely do the maths or consider the bigger picture, so very few of them realise they're buying £250 washing machines for over £700 or more.

As for energy savings and helping out the environment, the UK government have estimated the money saved from replacing a normal old appliance from 1995 with a new high efficiency one and the savings are low, something like £5 a year for a washing machine and £20 for a fridge. Many of the low quality appliances sold today will be in the landfill long before they've paid for themselves in energy savings. The big focus on energy ratings and the environment has greatly mislead customers and actually an appliance sold in 1980, 1990 or today has minimal differences in energy use, and in some examples the older ones are better. Also, the energy ratings are not as far apart as people are led to believe, the cost to you from buying a C rated washer rather than one rated A+ is less than £10 a year. I'm all for saving money and helping the environment, which is ironically why I'm telling people to ignore the current energy ratings and buy for quality and longevity first. That does pay for itself.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 5:23PM
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Just over a year ago I bought a 1993 Ford "Taurus" station wagon for around $2,000., with 187,000 km.(117,000 m.), for about $2,000.

Just before Christmas a gravel truck thumped it in the tailgate - which everyone says makes it, at just under 129,000 m.) a write-off, as it'll cost far more to repair than it's "worth".

The insurance Co. will pay me $2,000. plus tax, or sell it to me for $150. (scrap price).

They tell me that it'll likely cost about $4,000. to repair it.

Suppose that I can get, possibly, 20% more mileage (or less? or more?) out of it before it dies, at a cost of a few materials (many of them taken from a vehicle now in the scrap yard) and a substantial amount of (expensive) labour.

Is that worthwhile to reduce the use of scarce energy, plus production of more carbon dioxide and pollutants, and contribution to global warming, through avoiding 20% of those costs to produce a new car to replace it?

I don't think that my long-term friend who operates a body shop, at regular prices, in the city, wants to do it.

I haven't found someone, perhaps working in a shop at home, who might be interested.

Being nearly 15 years old, it uses some more gas per mile travelled than recently-built vehicles, and the products of combustion are somehat dirtier - but it passed emission tests.

And my enthusiasm for more or less dropping a couple of thousand down a rat-hole, is rather limited ... but it strikes me that such may be the environmentally responsible thing to do.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone. It's snowing, here. Anyone for a snowball fight? (Second childhood, you know).

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 8:18PM
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GUILTY of not reading the whole thread! But I wanted to respond to the third post about vacuum cleaners:

Posted by jannie (My Page) on Thu, Mar 15, 07 at 10:06

"My mom has a Hoover upright vacuum that's over 50 years old. I used it recently and it still works great. On the other hand, I have gone thru three vacuums in the last ten years, including one Hoover bagless that was a total waste of money, IMHO. My current is a Bissel, not so great but it's still running."

I didn't have a vacuum for years when I started out on my own. I was always borrowing my Mom's. When she bot a new, she gave me her old. But it still didn't do the job. We had a small long-haired dog, and the fur was always all over the RUG. Many times, I'd scrape the stuff with my bare hands. (This was in the early '70.s)
I shopped around - mostly at Sears - my Dad's favorite back then when it came to "important things". I was not impressed with what they had to offer.

I was working at the time, and noticed the vacuum that the "cleaning guy" was using at our workplace. I was impressed!
I found my way to a small vacuum/sewing machine store. Watched the salesman put carp on the piece of get the picture. (Now, my Aunt had had that vacuum that they refered to as "the little green pig" - my mind is blank right know on the brand - and she swore by it!)
So, I let the salesman demonstrate both to me.

I finally settled on the one used at work: An upright RED (which was not a popular color then) "Heavy Duty COMMERCIAL" vacuum - "wide track SANITAIRE" at the whopping price of $400.00! It has a heavy duty 50 FT CORD! and it even has settings for low shag, medium shag, high shag! LOL!!!

And boy - does that thing "SUCK"!!! My Mom was so impressed, she started borrowing it from me! I still own it today as my primary vac. (I probably should have it serviced - doncha think? haha) Most I've had to do is replace the belt a few times - not a big deal.

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to use normal "household" vacs, and to observe that commercial vac at work - how could I miss it - it stuck out like a sore thumb - RED -before I went shopping for one!

When the time comes to replace, you can bet I'll pay more for a commercial vac than settle for a normal household vac.

(BTW - I also have a small canister vac "Mighty-Might" with all attachments that I bot at Target many years ago for those "other" jobs...Got it on clearance for 50 bucks.)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 11:13PM
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cathie, you've hit on one of the true secrets in the appliance business (IMHO). For the money people spend on essentially-disposable plastic vacuums, you can buy high-quality ones at "real" vacuum stores.

Sanitaire is from the same company as Eureka. But while the Eureka will get by with screws tapped into plastic and plastic brushrolls with integrated brushes, the Sanitaire will use screws which are bolted into metal brackets and you can replace just the brushes instead of the entire (metal) brushroll if that's all you need. I'm a little fuzzy on Sanitaire details because I don't own one, but that is typical of the construction differences between vacuum-store vacuums and discount-store or big-box vacuums. Yet these higher-quality vacuums come at prices that are literally a few dollars away from the better models from the big advertised brands. If you don't need a vacuum named after an SUV or one in decorator colors -- and certainly if you don't need to have some salesperson visit you with the vacuum -- you can get a high-quality product that will last for years for less than it costs to replace a bargain brand every few years.

bry84, your comments on Mieles being available for £500 remind me of the tack some companies take in selling outside their home countries. Most Americans, no doubt, are used to Mercedes-Benz and BMW as luxury brands in the U.S., and would be surprised to visit Germany and see M-Bs and BMWs used as taxicabs and rental cars just like other brands. It's all in how one chooses to market, I guess.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 10:50PM
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Some long time family friends of ours moved into their family home in the mid 50's. The house came with one of those stoves with the warming drawers, hot plates and 6 elements. It's honking big, but that stove is still in use today. I'm sure the energy it uses is not that efficient, but now that the style is coming back, the Mrs. is laughing because she's had that all along and people now pay a premium for those old fashioned types now.

My mom had her speedqueen washer and dryer for 35 years before they finally konked out about 20 years ago. Since then, they've replaced their "new" W/D's two or three times.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 4:08AM
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Interesting thread. I'd probably have more to say if I wasn't a bit tired (it's Friday night and I've been so busy lately). Anyway, just wanted to say that Asian-made large appliances are starting to appear in Australia. We have a few local brands and also Miele and Maytag. Always seemed to me that gave a good range for people to choose from. Hope it doesn't go the way of clothes, which are virtually all from Asia now and usually not of the same quality that we used to have.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 7:41AM
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I don't understand the connection between a company moving its production overseas and lowered quality. After all, american automobile manufactures are saddled with a poor reputation in quality when those cars were being made in america.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 10:51PM
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I don't understand the connection between a company moving its production overseas and lowered quality.

The connection is not causal (that is, moving production overseas does not lower quality). However, many companies which move production overseas do so because it cuts manufacturing costs; these same companies typically are quite interested in other ways to quickly and dramatically cut the manufacturing costs of their products. That can lower quality in a hurry.

High quality is high quality and it is a property of management, not location. The same folks who will snub their noses at a Pontiac Vibe will gladly buy a Toyota Matrix even though both vehicles are built on the same assembly line. Honda's plant in Maryville, Ohio, builds Civics good enough to send back to Japan, while Daimler-Chrysler (with a lagging rating for product quality) is closing its plant in Toledo, Ohio.

Products which are made elsewhere don't have to be junk. Not if the management of the manufacturer doesn't want them to be.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 11:25AM
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I think there are a few rose-colored glasses being donned here. I remember the '60s. Back then, you could figure on replacing a washer and dryer about every five years. (One exception was old Maytags, which ran forever. But they were very pricey, and I recall my mom saying that friends of hers who had them hated them because they didn't clean very well.) It seemed like my dad worked on ours constantly. Besides the frequent breakdowns, there was regular maintenance: the agitator spindle had to be lubricated every three months or so. Once a year the washer and dryer motors had to be oiled. And the dryer needed a new belt about once a year. Oh, and washers didn't have self-cleaning filters then. There was a oblong-shaped screen thing that had to be pulled out of a nook in the tub and cleaned after every load, or else the next load wouldn't get clean. The timer would go out in about three years. Same for the dryer element. And when you finally bought a new set, you didn't sell the old washer and dryer; you took them to the dump because they were completely used up.

You could figure on the TV breaking down about once a year. I recall making many trips to Sears with my dad and a bag full of tubes, to use the tube tester. If that didn't get it, time to call the repairman. You could figure on a TV lasting about seven years before the CRT or something else expensive failed, and then it was time for a new one. In the kitchen, the stove needed a new element somewhere about once every two years. That more or less coincided with the schedule on which the fridge broke down. Diswashers weren't a problem because nobody had one. Microwave ovens were unheard of.

When a car got to be about four years old, it was worn out. My dad kept a '61 Buick for nine years and I remember his friends teasing him about that old car. Every few thousand miles it ate a starter solenoid. Dad always kept one in the trunk. He got to where he could change one in about 15 minutes. Even a new car needed a quart of oil every fourth or fifth trip to the gas station. Tires were good for maybe 20,000 miles. Shocks for not much more.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 11:40AM
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I think from the late 70's up until the early to mid 90's was a period or good construction and ease of product repair/longevity. I know this is a general statement and obviously does not apply to all things, but it seems the manufacturing goals of the last 10 years have been to make assembly quicker and parts lighter/cheaper at the expense of ease of repair and longevity.

I have no ownership experience with cars before the 80's, but our 1988 Olds Delta 88 went 200K miles on the original engine and tranny and repairs were easy. My '95 Mazda has 206K miles and repairs are moderately difficult. I expect our 2001 Olds minivan to go 200K miles, but this van is complicated electronically and very challenging for repairs. I am still dreaming of a car that is designed foremost for ease of repair. As anyone who keeps a car over 150K miles knows, parts do eventually wear out and/or fail.

Appliances parts today are cheaper, and in some cases inferior, to parts from 20 years ago The overall appliance is probably better than 40 years ago though.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 6:54PM
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We are the folks who use the products.

If we keep quiet and allow the makers to continue to foist this crap off on us, the more fool us!

Let's get active and let them know that we are unhappy with being treated like chumps ... we want quality goods for our hard-earned dollars!

And if they won't give them to us ... we'll find manufactureres who will.

Maybe they would be well advised to consider the serious bind that North American car manufacturers are facing because they were taking consumers for granted for so long.

If we are willing to sit still and not complain (and take our money elsewhere) ... we'll get more of the same old, same old.

We've seen many of our high-paying jobs disappear in recent years - we'd better get busy and learn how to make the scarcer dollars that many of us'll quite likely be getting in future work harder for us, in order to avoid having our standard of living take a serious beating.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 5:32AM
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I have bought a number of extra long life or commercial grade products. They're generally worth the money, they look and feel like quality, and they last a long time. Commercial products also tend to have higher standards of design too, for example being easier to clean or store.

For bed linen and towels I would always recommend going to a hotel supplier, this stuff not only looks and feels great, but it retains its colour no matter how much you wash it, nor does it stain, and it will last just about forever. I have hotel grade towels from the 1970s that are in almost perfect condition, as well as some equally old bed sheets and blankets. Do however expect to pay some serious prices for this kind of quality, but also be assured that when you pay four-times as much for a towel designed for the hospitality industry, you're going to get far more use out of it than four regular towels.

Heavy duty stuff is often good too. Wherever possible buy extra life or outdoor rated - even if it's going to be used inside. I have a number of compact fluorescent bulbs from the early 90s that are rated for outdoor use, but they were used inside. They still work perfectly, and I have used them almost every day.

Quality examples of many items are still available, but you sometimes have to shop in unconventional places for them.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 6:40PM
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Jrdwyer, the long-lasting stuff we have/had is mostly from the late 70's.

Bry84, what you say about commercial grade products makes a lot of sense but how do you know you're getting genuine ones, as opposed to items marked "commercial quality" as a marketing gimmick? I would have thought you'd need to buy a minimum quantity too? Come to think of it, a couple of places we stayed at on our recent holiday will sell you towels (one indicated they were tired of guests pinching them). I'm guessing those towels would stand up to hot washing and tumble drying, not like some of the fussy stuff I see these days that shrinks across the . . . don't know what it's called at the ends.

Ole Joyful, I bought something once (can't remember what) because I needed something and it was all I could get that came anywhere close to doing the job. A few weeks later I was listening to the car radio and they said on the news that the company had announced sales were up, record profits, etc. I was so mad that they were giving themselves a pat on the back and celebrating their record profits because people like me sometimes buy their rubbish out of desperation. I really do try to be an intelligent consumer and it felt like they were really rubbing it in that I'd made this one reluctant compromise.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 8:21AM
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It is not that shipping production overseas ruins quality. It is that the companies get greedy and IN ADDITION to saving $$ by paying eastern european workers $1.50 an hour instead of the money you would pay an american to assemble... they ALSO decide to save money and spec with low quality parts.. made in china... They cut corners in anyway they can... like stated above... it is company management bowing to the almight stock flippers that ruins these companies and forces them to create cheaper and subpar products that drives the stock prices (for a while) .

It disgusts me that you can't get anything quality anymore unless you pay huge $$. And even then it is hard because we are all so distrustful of how big companies nowadays operate, you don't want to shell out thousands and have a piece of junk.

Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 11:51AM
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klim for kms.,

At least ...

... you got a quality audience ...

... for your $.02!

ole joyful

P.S. We used to have a powdered milk product whose name was "Klim". Your user name made me think that I haven't heard of it in years.

o j

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 1:55AM
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