Saturday, November 17, 2012

... on a bi-annual RANT!

It's been at least six months since my last rant, and I think I'm allowed two per year, so here goes.

I was shopping for some supplies the other day, and I got a shock. 
What's that, you say? It's something that was a bit tricky to photograph, but I think you can see it okay. This is tigertail. It's a plastic-coated stainless-steel wire used in jewellery assembly, and I use it for putting my wall hangings together. The upper piece there is a quality 7-strand Australian-made product that costs almost $38 for a roll containing 100 metres. The lower piece is a, what... 4? strand product made in That Place Where Cheap Things Are Made. It costs... get this... five bucks. For 100 metres. Retail! Standing there at the counter, I was astounded, and I think the chap helping me noticed, as he said (referring to the cheap one) "This will fall apart in a year." Lots of things ran through my head. Like this; how the hell can an Australian company compete with that, even though their product is far superior? And; so this is why things break. THIS is why things break. A manufacturer could swap from using a $38 roll to using a $5 roll. The consumer wouldn't know, the manufacturer saves $33, and the retail price can stay the same, right? GAH!

I re-stocked with the $38 roll. Walking out of there clutching it, I thought about all the substandard crap that we put up with. We put up with new cars that fail majorly when they're just out of warranty. We build 'affordable' off-the-plan houses that have frames of untreated timber, and wonder why they fill up with termites. We can buy a cheap component that costs one eighth the price of a quality one. 

Things aren't designed to last any more, and this is why. GAH!


Isis said...

oh don't get me start on this one!!!!!
this sort of things gets me fuming all the time. when we did the fit out for the cafe i needed to buy a saw. i went off to the hardware with dad and bought myself a saw. yes, it was the cheapest one there (about $9) but hey i was stressed, totally out of my comfort zone, worried about money, and i sorta did trust that at least at the hardware this would build half decent.
anyway i got home and spent a good half hour trying to saw the thinnest of pieces of wood. the saw would not cut even 1cm and kept bending. after much huffing and puffing on my behalf my dad came out and said it sounds like you're having a bit of trouble. i said yeah sorry i must be crap at this, i'm a girl... blah blah blah... not like me at all! then dad had a go and says this saw is a piece of rubbish! he'd never used such a useless tool.
what pissed me off more than the fact that i'd been so stupid as to pick the cheap one, was the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of these pieces of crap being made and sold. a total waste of the world's resources and energy. and i'm sure the retailers are relying on customers, like me, not bothering to ask for a refund because it was only $9

kuber... said...

Oh my goodness Isis - how incredibly frustrating! Did you take the useless saw back? It's hard to believe - when you factor in the costs of (cough cough) 'designing', manufacturing, marketing and then freighting a useless saw around the world - and it still only retails at $9... scary, man.