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glockdoc21
11-27-2012, 19:36
Two things got me thinking last week...the first one was the obvious debacle that was black Friday, the second was cleaning and conditioning my Danner boots. I used some saddle soap and leather honey (no affiliation, just love the stuff) on some WELL worn Danners, and they came back to life. They look brand freaking new. They are the most expensive shoes that I own, but the quality that they exude and the ability to work them hard and then clean them right up got me thinking about the other low-quality dispostable crap that fills my home. What if instead of 6 junky coats we all just had one NICE coat, or one or two NICE pairs of shoes. Our grandparents knew this (I'm 29) but our parents had rather have closets full of crap than nice stuff. I was raised in the throw away generation. I can't help but think about 1911s and how some of the originals are still combat worthy, or how some of my nice tools could be handed down to my grandkids if I do my part. What other things have you gotten rid of and replaced w/ a nicer, but more permanent version? It used to be about needing an item, now it's about the thrill of buying something...

gwalchmai
11-27-2012, 19:53
I got T-shirts older than my kids.

USMCsilver
11-27-2012, 19:58
Funny you mention Danners. I have a pair I polish nearly every other time I put them on. They are ~11 years old, and still look great.

Not to get OT here, but does Danner re-sole shoes if you send them back to them? Mine are gettin' kinda flat.

ChuteTheMall
11-27-2012, 20:00
I've got a pre-revolutionary war trade axe that's been in my family for generations.

We only replaced the handle twice and the head once.






:uglylol:

skinny99
11-27-2012, 20:08
The buy once cry once mentality is gone. The average person lives so far beyond their means that they really can't afford quality. Combined with the mentality of having to have something right now, people buy junk instead of saving for products that last.

Restless28
11-27-2012, 20:16
I got T-shirts older than my kids.

Ditto.

I have old FD tees from the 90s, lol.

janice6
11-27-2012, 20:20
I think most people buy new stuff just to get new stuff. Very little to do with need.

That said:
I ruin my clothes doing various kinds of work, so:

I buy T shirts and sweat shirts at the recycling (thrift) stores. Around $2/$4 ea. and my jeans at $20 each from the farm store. I don't try to impress anyone.

Atomic Punk
11-27-2012, 20:23
this has been kind of a policy with me and my best friend. we usually have rather empty pockets. so when we get/need something. we do some research on what would work best, and last longest, and get that. cant afford to buy two pieces of junk when we could just buy one good item.

NMG26
11-27-2012, 20:27
I get attatched to my stuff. I have had wallets that were duct taped together for so long that my wife never thought I would replace it. The wallet I am using now is duct taped. Guess that is because I buy cheap wallets.

gwalchmai
11-27-2012, 20:31
I'm wearing a $5 Goodwill sweatshirt. My underwear is new, though...

nmstew
11-27-2012, 20:32
What other things have you gotten rid of and replaced w/ a nicer, but more permanent version? It used to be about needing an item, now it's about the thrill of buying something...

Totally with you. I used to buy the cheap stuff, so I could afford more stuff. Now I buy quality and expect it to last.

I bought a Cuisinart 9 piece stainless steel cookset and have used it for about 5 years. It still looks great, cooks great, has been used and abused, and shows no signs of stopping. I also sprang for a nice chef's knife that with the occasional honing, I expect to last longer than I do.

aircarver
11-27-2012, 20:32
I get attatched to my stuff. I have had wallets that were duct taped together for so long that my wife never thought I would replace it. The wallet I am using now is duct taped. Guess that is because I buy cheap wallets.
I got a wallet the kids made as a camp project ...

100% duct tape ... :supergrin:

.

Harper
11-27-2012, 20:33
It's not an exact science but the average person should be able to make an educated guess as to the cost to benefit ratio of various items they are considering purchasing. For instance, you could go to sears and buy a $120 weed eater that will last about two years(I know I sold them) or you can spend about twice that and get a brand that will last over ten years. It always struck my as odd that customers would get upset their lawn equipment only lasted a short time when they bought roughly the cheapest thing they could.

Sometimes disposable is more cost effective. I have a cheap printer(it does everything I need), last time I needed ink I found out a new printer (including ink) was cheaper than the ink it took, so I bought a new printer. The old one was getting a bit finicky anyway.

So if there's a tenet to follow, it should be to assess the situation and make an objective decision.

skinny99
11-27-2012, 20:46
It's not an exact science but the average person should be able to make an educated guess as to the cost to benefit ratio of various items they are considering purchasing. For instance, you could go to sears and buy a $120 weed eater that will last about two years(I know I sold them) or you can spend about twice that and get a brand that will last over ten years. It always struck my as odd that customers would get upset there lawn equipment only lasted a short time when they bought roughly the cheapest thing they could.

Sometimes disposable is more cost effective. I have a cheap printer(it does everything I need), last time I needed ink I found out a new printer (including ink) was cheaper than the ink it took, so I bought a new printer. The old one was getting a bit finicky anyway.

So if there's a tenet to follow, it should be to assess the situation and make an objective decision.

That kind of critical thinking is very rare today.

Z71bill
11-27-2012, 20:47
I can see both sides of quality VS cheap crap - I buy both - it depends --

I will say this - you buy something like a refrigerator, washer, dryer, lawnmower - whatever --

If after a few years it develops a problem - even a minor one - you call a service person out to fix it and the repair will be 50%+ the cost of buying a new one.

I don't think it matters if you get the $500 or the $1,000 dishwasher - they will both have the same door lock - and it will be cheap plastic crap.


Back in the olden days the average salary was $1,000 a month and a washing machine cost $500 - and it cost you $50 for a service call - so if it was 3 years old and it broke you got it fixed.

Now the average salary is $3,000 a month and a cheap washing machine costs $400 and it will cost you $275 to have someone come out and repair it. So you buy a new one.

Kevin108
11-27-2012, 20:55
Many things simply aren't build to last anymore, almost regardless of how much you spend or how much you care for them. Microelectronics are in so much of everything that when it fails, the cost to repair it is more than the item is worth. Home theater equipment and personal electronics are well in this category. Computers and modern household appliances can find themselves there as well.

janice6
11-27-2012, 20:56
It's not an exact science but the average person should be able to make an educated guess as to the cost to benefit ratio of various items they are considering purchasing. For instance, you could go to sears and buy a $120 weed eater that will last about two years(I know I sold them) or you can spend about twice that and get a brand that will last over ten years. It always struck my as odd that customers would get upset there lawn equipment only lasted a short time when they bought roughly the cheapest thing they could.

Sometimes disposable is more cost effective. I have a cheap printer(it does everything I need), last time I needed ink I found out a new printer (including ink) was cheaper than the ink it took, so I bought a new printer. The old one was getting a bit finicky anyway.

So if there's a tenet to follow, it should be to assess the situation and make an objective decision.



My reasoning exactly.

My family is getting full up on my old printers for free if they just buy the ink.

My target price is $70/$80, or just cheaper than ink. I refill cartridges until the originals are shot. Then out it goes.

ChuteTheMall
11-27-2012, 21:21
My underwear is new, though...

Only because you don't wear any.:eric:

Sveke
11-27-2012, 21:29
I agree, the majority of stuff I buy is top quality and expensive.....but cheap and disposable certainly have their place.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

larry_minn
11-27-2012, 22:22
Thing is, even quality stuff is not worth fixing. I broke a switch on a $100 battery charger/booster. I took it apart, found part number, source. IIRC they wanted $45 and $15 (postage/handling) So instead I bought a $40 replacement. (that weighs half as much) It went dead the other day. BUT I had a 2nd I got free from relative. So pay $150+ for quality or $50 for disposible.

MarinePride
11-27-2012, 23:15
A lot of stuff is manufactured to last a certain amount of time and then fail, it's called "planned obsolescence". Examples are all around you, but the most notable are electronic gadgets that have an internal battery that cannot be user serviced or replaced.

syntaxerrorsix
11-28-2012, 04:56
Funny you mention Danners. I have a pair I polish nearly every other time I put them on. They are ~11 years old, and still look great.

Not to get OT here, but does Danner re-sole shoes if you send them back to them? Mine are gettin' kinda flat.

If you have stitch down constructed boots they can recondition/resole them.

gwalchmai
11-28-2012, 04:58
Only because you don't wear any.:eric:Eeek! TMI fer shure! ;)

JW1178
11-28-2012, 05:14
First thing that came to mind was IKEA furniture. Working for a moving company for a while I hated that crap because once moved its never right again, if it doesn't fall apart in your hands.

Cars are getting like this. There is little maintenance compared to the old days but there isn't much fixing them either. Once they start to break, go buy a new one because anything major totals it out.

glockdoc21
11-28-2012, 06:46
First thing that came to mind was IKEA furniture. Working for a moving company for a while I hated that crap because once moved its never right again, if it doesn't fall apart in your hands.

Cars are getting like this. There is little maintenance compared to the old days but there isn't much fixing them either. Once they start to break, go buy a new one because anything major totals it out.


those are two great examples. Kitchen tables used to take 5 people to move and lasted several generations. Now you're lucky if the cam bolts don't fall out of the chairs and water doesn't ruin the crappy veneer. I just found a local guy that makes furniture from old church pews/shelving. They are bulletproof. The auto is another great example. A local (very wealthy) businessman chooses to rock a classic jaguar instead of a new BMW every 2-3 years. He always looks like a British millionaire when he shows up. If you do that with a new jag, the LCD display and other junk will be gone in a few years.

Bruce M
11-28-2012, 08:31
I agree its best to get the best even if you have to save up. I am saving up for these http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nike-Air-Foamposite-one-HOH-314996-030-BLACK-NEO-LIME-jordan-11-13-4-10-1-7-6-12-/230804287886?pt=US_Men_s_Shoes&hash=item35bd01f18e

shooter1234
11-28-2012, 09:52
I feel the exact same way. My parents are the same way as well. I usually go way out of my way to buy something of superior quality, so that I have to buy it only once, and never again. (unless of course I lose it) I look at all the things around me and think the same thing; why do we put up with this ****, when we can just buy nice stuff and be done with it? Of course there's things we don't want one of forever, so it just makes sense to make it cheap, because it's going to get replaced anyhow. But for me, I usually make sure my daily use items are of the highest quality I can find; my pens, watches, knives, guns, cars, furniture, clothes, (mostly wet weather/cold weather gear and foot gear) and tools. Other things I don't get too expensive on because I'll usually break or lose them regardless, like sunglasses etc.

I hate that we just toss stuff when we don't like it anymore. And by stuff, I mean everything from furniture, to cars, to shoes, to even other people. Why not just rebuild it and drive on? Buy it one time and be done with it? I never got that... I must be reincarnated from another generation, because I do things the old way.
Personally I think we're screwing ourselves by doing this...

Haldor
11-28-2012, 10:04
A lot of stuff is manufactured to last a certain amount of time and then fail, it's called "planned obsolescence". Examples are all around you, but the most notable are electronic gadgets that have an internal battery that cannot be user serviced or replaced.

That is not just planned obsolescence.

Portable electronics are valued in part on how thin and light they are. Replaceable batteries mean the product is not as thin and light as it could possibly be.

Plus portable electronics are rapidly evolving. If you are using a device that requires a service contract (cell phone for example) then using a phone that is more than 2 years old means you are probably not able to use the services you are paying for. There is virtually no reason to design a cell phone that lasts for more then 3 years.

I evaluate quality differently for products that will remain useful for an extended period of time than products that even if still functional will become effectively obsolete within a couple of years. My shoes cost on average $200 a pair (I have high arches and wear a narrow width) and expect to get many years of service from them. I see no reason to expect that kind of service life from a cell phone and wont pay extra to get it.

SC Tiger
11-28-2012, 10:15
I can see both sides of quality VS cheap crap - I buy both - it depends --

I will say this - you buy something like a refrigerator, washer, dryer, lawnmower - whatever --

If after a few years it develops a problem - even a minor one - you call a service person out to fix it and the repair will be 50%+ the cost of buying a new one.

I don't think it matters if you get the $500 or the $1,000 dishwasher - they will both have the same door lock - and it will be cheap plastic crap.


Back in the olden days the average salary was $1,000 a month and a washing machine cost $500 - and it cost you $50 for a service call - so if it was 3 years old and it broke you got it fixed.

Now the average salary is $3,000 a month and a cheap washing machine costs $400 and it will cost you $275 to have someone come out and repair it. So you buy a new one.

I think this is spot on. Mostly, if I can fix it myself by either getting replacement parts or "re-engineering" the system I will. Otherwise it depends on what it, how old it is, and how much it costs vs replacement costs as to whether I get it repaired or replaced.

SC Tiger
11-28-2012, 10:17
That is not just planned obsolescence.

Portable electronics are valued in part on how thin and light they are. Replaceable batteries mean the product is not as thin and light as it could possibly be.

Plus portable electronics are rapidly evolving. If you are using a device that requires a service contract (cell phone for example) then using a phone that is more than 2 years old means you are probably not able to use the services you are paying for. There is virtually no reason to design a cell phone that lasts for more then 3 years.

I evaluate quality differently for products that will remain useful for an extended period of time than products that even if still functional will become effectively obsolete within a couple of years. My shoes cost on average $200 a pair (I have high arches and wear a narrow width) and expect to get many years of service from them. I see no reason to expect that kind of service life from a cell phone and wont pay extra to get it.

When I went to get my first cell phone, I looked at the Star-tac. I was told the cable that connects the two halves of the phone had a mean life expectancy of 1-1/2 years. Considering you get an upgrade every two years...

SC Tiger
11-28-2012, 10:19
I think a lot of it depends on what you plan to use the item for. It makes sense to buy a high-quality dishwasher or refrigerator that will last many years.

However, for something like a belt sander that I only use once or twice a year, the cheaper, less durable model will do.

Rinspeed
11-28-2012, 10:29
Not to get OT here, but does Danner re-sole shoes if you send them back to them? Mine are gettin' kinda flat.




My local guys quoted me $60 with Vibram soles. I think Danner charges $80 plus you have to worry about shipping. As syntaxerrorsix said you can only resole on stitchdown constructed boots.

Happypuppy
11-28-2012, 10:33
Boots try Resole America. They use good materials, and do great work. They can do glue on soles and custom work such as improved foot beds. Good boots are not throwaway items, however the soles are wear items.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Harper
11-28-2012, 10:36
A lot of stuff is manufactured to last a certain amount of time and then fail, it's called "planned obsolescence".

It makes sense for computers since they will be pretty much obsolete in a few years whether they work or not. I built my own desktops and other than a power supply and maybe a hard drive everything lasted until I decided it was time to upgrade.

flyover
11-28-2012, 10:47
When I bought my first cow herd, I bought a real nice high dollar knife to cut strings off of the bales. I lost it shortly thereafter. I bought cheap junk knives that would not hold an edge and could never lose the darn things.

fnfalman
11-28-2012, 10:52
This is why I bought Rolexes and not Timexes. No disposable stuff for me...:whistling:


Two things got me thinking last week...the first one was the obvious debacle that was black Friday, the second was cleaning and conditioning my Danner boots. I used some saddle soap and leather honey (no affiliation, just love the stuff) on some WELL worn Danners, and they came back to life. They look brand freaking new. They are the most expensive shoes that I own, but the quality that they exude and the ability to work them hard and then clean them right up got me thinking about the other low-quality dispostable crap that fills my home. What if instead of 6 junky coats we all just had one NICE coat, or one or two NICE pairs of shoes. Our grandparents knew this (I'm 29) but our parents had rather have closets full of crap than nice stuff. I was raised in the throw away generation. I can't help but think about 1911s and how some of the originals are still combat worthy, or how some of my nice tools could be handed down to my grandkids if I do my part. What other things have you gotten rid of and replaced w/ a nicer, but more permanent version? It used to be about needing an item, now it's about the thrill of buying something...

ZombieJoe
11-28-2012, 11:30
There are a lot of good points here.

I had a teacher from Russia who summed it up well. He would always say, in his thick Russian accent "In Russia we are to cheap to buy things twice".

But like others have said disposable does have its place.

posted using Outdoor Hub Campfire (http://www.outdoorhub.com/mobile/)

captainstormy
11-28-2012, 11:38
I typically prefer to buy something that is higher quality, but it all depends on the planned use and how often I'm going to use it.

I kind of break things in to three categories.

1. Cheap, Just good enough to get the job done, sometimes barely.
2. Value, These are things that are good quality, but not great.
3. High quality, often also means expensive compared to competitors.

Depending on my use, I might buy any one of the three categories.

For example, I typically buy high quality boots, firearms, etc etc. These are things that I'm planning on keeping for a long long time and want something that will serve me well.

I buy cheap stuff, when it's something I'm only going to use once, or stand a good chance of loosing. For example. While I have some good quality of tools and knives, the ones I keep in places such as my truck and tackle box are cheap. If they get lost or stolen I'm not out much.

Value are things that I use alot, but don't want to risk the money on loosing. Sunglasses and pocket knives are good examples. I'll buy the made in China Kershaw knives for example. They are really good for the price, certainly not as good as some others but if I lost it or broke it I'm not out $100 or more either.

Electrikkoolaid
11-28-2012, 11:48
The problem is, if when you think you're buying quality, some college boy has engineered every last penny of cost savings out if it.

I bought a KitchenAid mixer (for a lot more money than I thought it should cost) and it broke in a few years. Then I discovered it had PLASTIC gears in the transmission, and was essentially unrepairable.

Meanwhile, my grandmother's 1968 version of the same model continues to chug right along without difficulty. She used to bake her own bread, so I know that thing took a beating over it's life.

Too many MBAs focused on spreadsheets and not enough designers focused on excellence is why American industry is going down the tubes.

SC Tiger
11-28-2012, 13:13
The problem is, if when you think you're buying quality, some college boy has engineered every last penny of cost savings out if it.

I bought a KitchenAid mixer (for a lot more money than I thought it should cost) and it broke in a few years. Then I discovered it had PLASTIC gears in the transmission, and was essentially unrepairable.

Meanwhile, my grandmother's 1968 version of the same model continues to chug right along without difficulty. She used to bake her own bread, so I know that thing took a beating over it's life.

Too many MBAs focused on spreadsheets and not enough designers focused on excellence is why American industry is going down the tubes.

Some (electric) chain saws have plastic transmissions in them as well.

glockdoc21
11-28-2012, 13:41
There are a lot of good points here.

I had a teacher from Russia who summed it up well. He would always say, in his thick Russian accent "In Russia we are to cheap to buy things twice".

But like others have said disposable does have its place.

posted using Outdoor Hub Campfire (http://www.outdoorhub.com/mobile/)

I had always bought Troy-bilt outdoor tools. When my weed eater broke I ordered some replacement parts and tried to fix it myself....$240 later I was using a Husqvarna and will never look back. The $100 difference is 10x difference in quality. I'm sure that if I upgraded to a Stihl I'd say the same, but I'm not a contractor.

Glock20 10mm
11-28-2012, 13:49
I was raised to take care of my things and they will take care of me as well as last. Sadly quality is a past notion since it's "cheaper" to make a new one. I have never really understood that. The truth is in my opinion, it's driven by the unsustainable need to grow... and if you are not moving product then you can't grow, so make it flimsy, cheap and in large quantities.

devildog2067
11-28-2012, 14:08
Cars are getting like this. There is little maintenance compared to the old days but there isn't much fixing them either. Once they start to break, go buy a new one because anything major totals it out.

...

My Porsche is 10+ years old, runs just fine, and everything on it is fixable when it breaks...


Yes, there are some components that need to be replaced where older technology might be able to be repaired, but overall cars are still fixable.

JerryVO
11-28-2012, 15:06
I definitely think there is room in my life for both trains of thought. If I am buying something for my or my wifes exclusive use I usually research and buy the best but with 2 kids having disposable cheap everything works out great.

Their playroom storage shelves from IKEA... yeah after a year with a 3 and 1 year old there is more pen and marker on them then in the sharpie factory. Thankfully they were cheap and when it is time out they go. The carpet in their rooms that is now full of stains, cheap, our leather couches... the cheapest discount ones we could buy. This way once they are destroyed I don't have to shed a tear. Now when they are older I will go back to researching and buying things to last without hesitation.

GlockinNJ
11-28-2012, 15:11
Most crap is disposable. People used to fix things when they broke, now they just throw them away and buy a new one. Young kids these days don't even know what shoe polish looks like and they've never seen a sewing machine.

clancy
11-28-2012, 16:08
I got T-shirts older than my kids.

I got boots older than my last girlfriend.

Electrikkoolaid
11-29-2012, 00:46
There used to be TV repair shops in every town. (I even remember going in and testing tubes in a big machine at the drug store.)

Not anymore.

Says a lot.

N4LP
11-29-2012, 01:29
Microelectronics are in so much of everything that when it fails, the cost to repair it is more than the item is worth. Home theater equipment and personal electronics are well in this category.

Good speakers will still last a long time. I have a pair of speakers I bought in '99 that have outlived several A/V receivers. They've been moved cross country twice, across town 4 times, and they still look and sound good as new. It was only this year that I finally got rid of the original boxes - even the boxes were built to last.

Atomic Punk
11-29-2012, 02:31
This is why I bought Rolexes and not Timexes. No disposable stuff for me...:whistling:

my timex was $12. so far, this one is about 4 years old. has taken a lot of wear and tear, but still works. in an ideal environment a rolex could last a very very long time, but if i got one it would likely be crushed inside a month. actually what happened to the last glass top watch i had a long time ago, while i was wearing it.

Aurora
11-29-2012, 05:36
I'll agree that it's tough to tell what's quality and what not. It takes an astounding amount of research to find out what's TRULY high quality when making an unfamiliar purchase.

I've noticed that a lot of newer items are built with the assumption that the item will be used in a certain way. Use the item outside of these parameters and the item will fail. Older items could be "used and abused" but not so much anymore.

V.

SC Tiger
11-29-2012, 06:48
...

My Porsche is 10+ years old, runs just fine, and everything on it is fixable when it breaks...


Yes, there are some components that need to be replaced where older technology might be able to be repaired, but overall cars are still fixable.

This. Most cars now last longer than the cars from the era "where everything was fixable" and are still fixable, though you will need more advanced tools (analyzers, etc) in some cases.

The only thing now is that instead of repairing body panels, quite often they are replaced anymore.

Fox184
11-29-2012, 06:56
Funny you mention Danners. I have a pair I polish nearly every other time I put them on. They are ~11 years old, and still look great.

Not to get OT here, but does Danner re-sole shoes if you send them back to them? Mine are gettin' kinda flat.

Yes, go the their website. They have directions on how to send boots in to get new Vibram soles.

farnorthwintercamper
11-29-2012, 08:40
this has been kind of a policy with me and my best friend. we usually have rather empty pockets. so when we get/need something. we do some research on what would work best, and last longest, and get that. cant afford to buy two pieces of junk when we could just buy one good item.
This... My best friend and I do the same.. Actually we will buy two.. That way the other does not miss out.
Snap On, HONDA, FILSON, DANNER, MILITARY SURPLUS ITEMS, ETC.
Chinese rubbish need not apply

nikerret
11-29-2012, 08:58
The buy once cry once mentality is gone. The average person lives so far beyond their means that they really can't afford quality. Combined with the mentality of having to have something right now, people buy junk instead of saving for products that last.

I am a buy once, cry once guy (on most things).

I research and compare and negotiate almost everything I buy. It seems like every time I don't, I regret it. After doing all that researching, comparing, and negotiating, all my friends and family are sick and tired of hearing about my latest finds, but I tend to have better things that last longer and pay less than I could have.

I can't afford a Rolex, but my Guess watches have served me very well. My daily wear is on its third battery and second crystal since 2005 (when I won it in a poker game). If I can't afford the best, I aim for the middle of the road.

Yet, many call me cheap becasue I refuse to spend a lot of money on the little things. I didn't dress up for Halloween becasue I didn't wan to pay for a costume.

The biggest probelm I have is finding things that are made well and to last. When I find them, I often can't afford them (at all).

devildog2067
11-29-2012, 09:20
The problem is, if when you think you're buying quality, some college boy has engineered every last penny of cost savings out if it.

Yeah, those college boy jerks, trying to save money for the companies they work for.

I bought a KitchenAid mixer (for a lot more money than I thought it should cost) and it broke in a few years. Then I discovered it had PLASTIC gears in the transmission, and was essentially unrepairable.

Do you think people would pay more money for one with steel gears in the transmission? How much? Would it cover the extra cost of manufacturing? Would people even know/understand the difference if you explained it to them?

Some college boy figured out that the answer is, no, most Americans won't pay more for that even in a premium brand like KitchenAid. It is what it is.

Too many MBAs focused on spreadsheets and not enough designers focused on excellence is why American industry is going down the tubes.
I have personally worked on projects where engineers run amok has destroyed previously profitable product lines.

"We made it this way because it's better!"
OK, but does it cost more?
"Yes, but it's awesome!"
OK, but will the customer pay more for it?
"Uh..."

Usually turns out the answer is no.

MBAs focused on spreadsheets is exactly why American industry is doing very, very well right now. US manufacturing output is very healthy, and the outlook for the next ten years or so is very bright.

gwalchmai
11-29-2012, 09:29
Do you think people would pay more money for one with steel gears in the transmission? How much? Would it cover the extra cost of manufacturing? Would people even know/understand the difference if you explained it to them?

Some college boy figured out that the answer is, no, most Americans won't pay more for that even in a premium brand like KitchenAid. It is what it is.Well, those dumb consumers have learned that once-reliable brands such as Craftsman are no longer worth buying because the college boys squeezed all the quality out of them. People used to buy Craftsman tools not because of the minute details of their manufacture, but because they lasted and Sears stood behind them. Now anyone with a lick of sense avoids Crapsman tools like the plague.

And that is what it is, too.

devildog2067
11-29-2012, 09:32
Well, those dumb consumers have learned that once-reliable brands such as Craftsman are no longer worth buying because the college boys squeezed all the quality out of them.

And why did that happen?

It happened because Craftsman tools were not profitable.

They didn't do it for fun.

People demanded quality but refused to pay for it.

What was the company supposed to do? Sell tools at a loss?

gwalchmai
11-29-2012, 09:41
And why did that happen?

It happened because Craftsman tools were not profitable.

They didn't do it for fun.

People demanded quality but refused to pay for it.

What was the company supposed to do? Sell tools at a loss?People quit buying the tools because the quality and support declined, not the other way around.

devildog2067
11-29-2012, 09:58
People quit buying the tools because the quality and support declined, not the other way around.

Nope. That's simply not true.

Craftsman had a niche in the mid-tier segment of the tool industry. That's always the hardest place to be. People who were willing to pay for the best tool regardless of cost had the option of buying Snap-on or Matco, and people who just wanted a "decent" tool were sometimes buying the cheaper Stanley (or whatever) stuff at the big box hardware stores.

Ask yourself why Craftsman started ruthlessly trying to drive costs down in the first place. Taking cost out of a product as simple as a wrench is not easy and it's very expensive. It's the kind of investment you only make if your business is in trouble.

Craftsman's sales were being squeezed at both ends, leading to lower volume, which leads to reduced economies of scale, which leads to higher per-unit price, which destroys profitability at the same time that revenues are shrinking. They tried to get out of the death spiral by taking cost out of their product, but they failed--now the quality of their products isn't high enough to command a mid-tier price.

All of this happened while Sears was going bankrupt and getting bought by Kmart so it isn't as though Craftsman had unlimited resources to work with either.

gwalchmai
11-29-2012, 10:20
Nonsense. Do a web search for guys saying "I've always been happy with Craftsman stuff, but from now on I'm buying chinese tools because they're cheaper" and one for "My Craftsman ratchet broke and those bastages at Sears gave me a junk rebuild kit instead of a new one".

Hell, I was there.

devildog2067
11-29-2012, 10:28
Nonsense. Do a web search for guys saying "I've always been happy with Craftsman stuff, but from now on I'm buying chinese tools because they're cheaper" and one for "My Craftsman ratchet broke and those bastages at Sears gave me a junk rebuild kit instead of a new one".

Do a web search for "Glocks blow up all the time" and you'll get tons of hits as well. (Heck, so will "I was abducted by aliens".) Anecdotal evidence is not proof.

Redesigning a product isn't free. Changing suppliers isn't free. In fact, for something like hand tools it's hideously expensive. Think about what casting forms and tooling costs for a simple combination wrench. Craftsman didn't go invest in changes to its product line for grins. They did so because they were losing market share.

Their volumes were decreasing. They had to do something. They decided to try to reduce the cost of their products so they can price more competitively. But when they did so, they went too far and their quality suffered.

Let me ask you this: cheap Chinese tool suppliers like Harbor Freight came onto the scene before Craftsman started to suck, right? Whose sales do you think they were stealing?

gwalchmai
11-29-2012, 10:50
Let me ask you this: cheap Chinese tool suppliers like Harbor Freight came onto the scene before Craftsman started to suck, right? Whose sales do you think they were stealing?I don't recall hearing about HF, etc until way after Sears started going downhill.

devildog2067
11-29-2012, 10:52
I don't recall hearing about HF, etc until way after Sears started going downhill.

It was founded in 1977, and it got big during the early 80s. It mostly did white label stuff, it didn't start really selling under its own brand until the internet age, but it's been around for a long time.

gwalchmai
11-29-2012, 10:54
Maybe in California, but it wasn't a playa in mid-America.

devildog2067
11-29-2012, 11:01
Maybe in California, but it wasn't a playa in mid-America.

Not under its own brand, but it was selling a couple of hundred million dollars a year worth of white label goods.

nikerret
11-29-2012, 16:16
I understand both sides of the Craftsman argument, but I refuse to purchase any of their products, anymore. I love their old stuff I managed to buy early. How did losing a customer help them?

I didn't realize there was a difference in ratchets until I got to use an el-cheap-o, my older Craftsman, and a Snap-On during the same project. When/If my Craftsman gives out, I will try to get the proper replacement from Sears. If it is crap (I expect it will be, but will give them another shot so long as it's free), I will get ahold of a Snap-On level quality, used, if I have to.

Craftsman is just another example why I buy once, cry once. Got burned too many times on the "mid-grade" that is only good in the name it once earned, but is really just over-priced crap. If it is true mid-grade, probably worth the purchase if the price point is right. It's only good to keep running on your legacy when you are nearly dead and you won't be around when people figure out it's all hog-wash.

Maytag is another example. They were the best that could be bought, for years. My grandmother used her 40 year old Maytag raising my mother and her five siblings, then my cousin, then her four kids. A few years ago, she bought a new washer. Unfortunatley, that was a few years ago when Maytag went to crap products for the premium price, running on their old legacy. Several repairs later my grandma went back to using her really old one, still worked, just not as efficient as the newer model, but it worked all the time. After a couple of years trying to get the Maytag to work, the store gave her a replacement. This was after Maytag got their act together (seems to be agreed on by almost everyone), but they had already ruined their once prestigious name. The local stores still have a hard time selling Maytags, compared to what they used to sell before the cheap-out.

Plus, my grandmother tells everyone not to buy the new Maytags. Bad press may be better than no press for celebrities, but it isn't good for product lines.

Hell, they have only had Chevrolet's since I can remember. Grandpa bought one a long time ago, was pleased, saw no reason to have anything else.

I undestand most of my generation is more interested in the latest and greatest, but many of us want quality that lasts. It really doesn't help when quality is priced far out of reach in the economy we inherited.

Harper
11-29-2012, 18:00
Yeah, those college boy jerks, trying to save money for the companies they work for.



That reminds me of what one of my math professors half jokingly said about one of the Mars rovers(don't remember which).
He said something like "Everybody is always talking about what a great engineering feat the rover is. They say 'It lasted six years longer than it was suppose to.' That's crap. I'd be pissed if I was the one who paid for that project. I'd want my money back. I paid you for a rover that lasted 8 years but only asked for one that lasted two. No, a real engineering feat would be if it ran perfectly then suddenly died on the last day of its projected lifespan".

Taphius
11-30-2012, 00:28
Well, those dumb consumers have learned that once-reliable brands such as Craftsman are no longer worth buying because the college boys squeezed all the quality out of them. People used to buy Craftsman tools not because of the minute details of their manufacture, but because they lasted and Sears stood behind them. Now anyone with a lick of sense avoids Crapsman tools like the plague.

And that is what it is, too.

I loved buying craftsmen tools.

So I dont feel bad cutting them down and making special tools needed to get around control arms and sub frames that my Matco and Snap-on didnt reach!

=x

gwalchmai
11-30-2012, 04:31
I loved buying craftsmen tools.

So I dont feel bad cutting them down and making special tools needed to get around control arms and sub frames that my Matco and Snap-on didnt reach!

=xWhat a cheapskate. I'm sure Matco and Snap-on would build you a tool if you want it.

roger123
11-30-2012, 04:58
People quit buying the tools because the quality and support declined, not the other way around.

That's exactly why I stopped. Don't even go into Sears anymore to browse. Stuff just doesn't compare to what I have that I bought when I was a kid (70's). Now I just get what I need from Home Depot.

flyover
11-30-2012, 12:54
What a cheapskate. I'm sure Matco and Snap-on would build you a tool if you want it.


Yeah, if you want to wait a year for them to "develope" the tool and research the demand for said tool. Then determine that there is no demand or if there is a demand for the tool turn around and charge $125.00 for it.

Mean while, down on the farm, you have taken cheap $2.00 tool modified it to suit your needs and are back up and running.

Z71bill
11-30-2012, 15:52
Kmart aquired Sears (or they somehow combined into Sears Holdings) because neither of them could compete - I guess they figured that two out of date losers could combine forces and become a roaring success. :rofl:

I seem to recall many figured the real estate value alone was worth the price paid - and they were getting the retail business for free. :rofl:

Maybe the folks at Kmart - not really know for its high quality tools - influenced Sears to ditch the good stuff and sell out the Craftsman brand name. Seen it many times - take a well know brand - cut the quality of the items back - and keep selling it until customers figure out that was once good has become junk. :dunno:

I will say this - sometimes companies don't have much choice - you can either die quick by not changing your operation - or make some changes and ride it down over years and die a slow drawn out death.

Sort of like what the USA is trying to do - live on prior accomplishments as long as we can. :crying:

devildog2067
11-30-2012, 16:25
I understand both sides of the Craftsman argument, but I refuse to purchase any of their products, anymore. I love their old stuff I managed to buy early. How did losing a customer help them?
I'm not trying to argue that they did the right thing. Obviously they stepped on their dicks big time.

I'm simply trying to point out that they didn't decide to go make their tools cheaper just for fun, and they didn't do it to try and squeeze extra profit out of the segment. It occasionally does happen where a company messes up a winning formula, but that's not what happened in this case. There's this odd idea that "pencil pushing MBAs" destroy products by trying to squeeze more pennies out. It does happen, but very rarely--companies are usually smart enough not to mess with a winning formula, especially since it takes investment and effort to make changes but doing nothing takes nothing.

If Craftsman tools had been profitable the way they were, they never would have started making crap. They had to do something, they tried to drive costs down while maintaining sufficient quality, and they failed.

Or as Z71bill said it (better than I):


I will say this - sometimes companies don't have much choice - you can either die quick by not changing your operation - or make some changes and ride it down over years and die a slow drawn out death.

Dennis in MA
12-01-2012, 08:03
I'm wearing a $5 Goodwill sweatshirt. My underwear is new, though...

Mine isn't. Going on 2 years. Under armour. Lasts forever.

banjobob
12-01-2012, 18:52
Hell even our guns are made from plastic.