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  #51  
Old 10-13-2017, 08:33 PM
Tired and Cranky Tired and Cranky is offline
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Originally Posted by Orwell View Post
My buddy got back to me and said that Remington does not make different versions for different retailers, including Walmart. He doesn't know about other makers.

He said that they introduced low-end models like the 770 to meet price points, but they don't make different versions for different retailers.

I have heard that this isn't true of stuff at Lowe's and Home Depot, but I don't know for sure.
Thanks Orwell. Although the article I read didn't identify the gunmaker, it seemed they could only have been talking about Remington or Winchester if not both of them. I'm inclined to believe now that the article was bullshit. I always thought it might be.
  #52  
Old 10-13-2017, 11:01 PM
GMANCANADA GMANCANADA is offline
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As far as Home Depot (Canada) goes, they definitely sell "de-spec'd" brand name products at times.

A few years ago I bought a DeWalt lithium cordless drill in a "Super Hot " pre-xmas special price. The drill was a great deal (I thought). The problem I found with it was that the keyless chuck was always dropping bits. This was to the point where every time I drilled, it dropped the bit or driver I was using. I hated using it, an exercise in frustration.

A few months later I was in the same HD store and it was "DeWalt Days", they had a DeWalt rep demonstrating new tools. I took the opportunity to bitch about the drill dropping bits. He knew exactly the drill I was talking about and very matter-of-factly explained that it was a de-spec'd drill.

It has a low quality chuck from their cheapest Black and Decker drill and several other low end components. But, he said it's a different model number than their main 18v cordless and also they made the paint on the drill handle different. I think mine has an all yellow handle and the "1st quality" drill is yellow and black. (I've since gotten rid of the drill).

I told him I thought it was a terrible idea that DeWalt was putting out cheap de-spec'd branded products. I said IMHO, DeWalt represented "quality" in all their products, he literally just shrugged. He said not everybody wanted it to do it, but it was done because HD wanted a hot price and DeWalt needed the sales.

Bottom line - do your homework. Also, I've never bought a DeWalt product since.
  #53  
Old 10-13-2017, 11:23 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Really, that sort of bullshit is our fault, as in us the consumers. We all want a bargain (i.e., to get something for less), especially on an occasion like Black Friday, and so the manufacturers and retailers feed that hunger by offering cheap shit.
  #54  
Old 10-14-2017, 06:57 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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Agree we collectively bring it on ourselves by shopping price, price, PRICE, PRICE, then maaaybe a feature or two.

On a related note I was at HD the other day. Midweek around 11am. The store had six checkstands installed but only one cashier working. Plus the typical set of four self-serves monitored by one other cashier. Naturally, one of the four self-serves was broken.

Standing in the 6-deep and rapidly growing line to access the self-serves the guy ahead of me starts bitching "How come they don't open more lines; don't they want our money faster?" I said "As long as we're willing to stand here wasting our time they still get the money before closing. Until we drop our baskets right here, walk out empty handed, and loudly tell the crowd we're shopping elsewhere until they get enough cashiers it doesn't cost them a dime to make us wait. Meantime they're saving on cashier wages. We're our own worst enemies. You and me both."

He said "Hmm. I hadn't thought of that. But I don't have time to drive farther or shop twice." I said "They did think of that; we're mostly trapped and they totally know it."

Last edited by LSLGuy; 10-14-2017 at 06:59 AM.
  #55  
Old 10-14-2017, 08:07 AM
DummyGladHands DummyGladHands is offline
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Re: Home Depot cheaper equipment-I used to work for a lawn & garden equipment retailer. When Echo and Deere went into Depot, our managers and mechanics went down to check out the "identical" products, at least by model # that we sold. Their conclusion was more plastic, cheaper nuts and bolts among other things. And of course, our company was named as servicing/warranty dealer, which made no one happy
  #56  
Old 10-14-2017, 09:17 AM
Orwell Orwell is offline
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Originally Posted by DummyGladHands View Post
Re: Home Depot cheaper equipment-I used to work for a lawn & garden equipment retailer. When Echo and Deere went into Depot, our managers and mechanics went down to check out the "identical" products, at least by model # that we sold. Their conclusion was more plastic, cheaper nuts and bolts among other things. And of course, our company was named as servicing/warranty dealer, which made no one happy
Didn't your store get paid for warranty work from the manufacturers? I would think your store would have liked the extra service and warranty work, even if you didn't get the sales.

I still think it's foolish for trusted brands to do this. But it looks like it's necessary to do now. I just looked on HD's website, expecting to find cheap lawnmower brands like Yard Man or Murray, but most of the mowers are ostensibly prestige brands like John Deere, Cub Cadet, Honda, Toro, etc. Not sure about Poulan. So, obviously people want to own a Deere or Toro but don't want to pay for a good one at the full-service dealers. So, what's a brand to do?

I know a guy who worked at Shop Vac. They used to make all of their vacs in the US. But as Walmart, Lowes and HD started selling much cheaper vacs from other brands, Shop Vac started cheapening their products, and eventually started making at least some of the vacs and/or componets in China. In the end, they cheapened them so much the brand lots its prestige. Again, not sure what they could have done different without becoming a much smaller boutique vacuum brand (if that's even possible).
  #57  
Old 10-14-2017, 01:17 PM
Corry El Corry El is offline
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Some of the info in the thread, like makers selling a special lower quality appliance (or gun, sort of an appliance ) under their name at eg. Walmart is a little surprising. A company with a well known national brand introduces risk to it by lowering quality, especially selectively. If the whole brand just wants to move down market that's one thing, they also save on every item made. Just having some lower quality stuff masquerading as the usual stuff, seems more risky. But we don't shop much at Walmart. IME stuff at Costco is standard, could be exceptions. At Target I've seen case where eg. a toaster of a known brand is really cheap, but they aren't really trying, it doesn't seem, to pass it off as if it's the standard model. The more expensive model is often right next to it.

However this point about Home Depot or Lowe's is obvious IME. Whether or not it's brand name, or a brand name you particularly recognize, lots of stuff there is definitely cheaper (price and quality) than what you get from say a plumbing supply place, the manufacturer directly, a specialty catalog/internet merchant and other supply channels. Or at the least such stuff is a choice at Lowes Depot. And in some product areas really good stuff is not a choice there. But there's a very broad range of offerings in the whole market for many product types offered at such stores. Just because a tool say is not true professional grade doesn't mean it's junk. As was mentioned on another recent thread, even tools from Harbor Freight, where nobody is under the illusion they're getting anything but 'cheap, cheap, cheap', can be adequate for my one or few time DIY use of a specialty tool.

Seems to me this issue can at times be insidious with look-a-likes, but often more of a basic 'get what you pay for' and a reasonably aware consumer knows they aren't getting something for nothing.
  #58  
Old 10-14-2017, 02:03 PM
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... I said "As long as we're willing to stand here wasting our time they still get the money before closing. Until we drop our baskets right here, walk out empty handed, and loudly tell the crowd we're shopping elsewhere until they get enough cashiers it doesn't cost them a dime to make us wait. Meantime they're saving on cashier wages. We're our own worst enemies. You and me both."...
Well, it does cost them something, because not everyone is willing to wait. My local Home Depot also has slow checkout. So I usually go to the local hardware store, because I know I can get in and out quickly, even if it will cost me slightly more. The hardware store has a guy by the door who will show me exactly where to look for my bolt or battery or spool of wire, too.
  #59  
Old 10-14-2017, 03:35 PM
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This is completely standard practice in the food industry.

Think of all those generic or house brand items you see in a grocery store -- who do you think makes them? Do you think Kroger, Safeway and Publix have their own factories to make their own house brand of cookies & oatmeal & corn flakes & wieners, etc.?

Mostly, they are made by the same manufacturer that makes the name-brand version, usually on the same assembly line, and often with the very same ingredients.
The OP's not talking about house-brand products- those are common everywhere. What they're talking about is say.... Wal-Mart having a different set of cheaper/less feature-rich Mr. Coffee brand coffeemakers than the "standard" models sold in most other places.

I don't know if the lesser quality is necessarily a thing, but I do know that they very often get "custom" part numbers and slightly different trim/features so that comparison shopping and things like competitor price matching won't work. Let's say that Wal Mart's Mr. Coffee 12 cup coffeemaker is black with X, Y and Z features, and Target's is substantially the same, but is black AND silver, and has X, Y and A features, where A is similar, but not quite the same as feature Z. For most practical intents and purposes, they're the same damn coffeemaker, but for purposes of having to match each other's prices or for strict comparison shopping, they're far enough apart to make it impossible.

The lesser quality notion is probably more along the lines of somewhere like Home Depot recognizing that there's a value-conscious segment of the population who would be interested in a DeWalt drill at a slightly higher than Ryobi price, even though the standard commercial quality DeWalt stuff is quite a bit more expensive. So they market a line of DeWalt stuff that's made to consumer-grade specs, while still selling the commercial grade stuff as well. But people have this dumb-ass idea that because it's consumer grade and priced accordingly, that it's "lower quality", when in fact they're telegraphing that information through the price.
  #60  
Old 10-14-2017, 04:05 PM
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On the subject of brand name vs. store brand foods. Ralcorp, the former subsidiary of Ralston-Purina, sold off the Chex brand to General Mills which now makes those cereals. Bur Ralcorp still sells store brand cereals including "knock off" Chex cereals.

I.e., the original is the store brand, the name brand is the knock off.
  #61  
Old 10-14-2017, 04:05 PM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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Well, it does cost them something, because not everyone is willing to wait. My local Home Depot also has slow checkout. So I usually go to the local hardware store, because I know I can get in and out quickly, even if it will cost me slightly more. The hardware store has a guy by the door who will show me exactly where to look for my bolt or battery or spool of wire, too.
In fact I normally support my local hardware store for the same reason. It happened I needed an HD-specific item that day. And I "paid" for the experience in time.
  #62  
Old 10-14-2017, 04:16 PM
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I have always made it a point to patronize my local True Value--they are more expensive on everything, but I want them to stay open because I can find someone there who understands my problem and can advise me on what to do. Now that I know about the quality difference I'm going to make more of a point to buy the expensive/premium tools there if they stock it.
  #63  
Old 10-14-2017, 05:25 PM
nightshadea nightshadea is online now
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sometimes too its just a case of licensing a brand name ... Walmart makes a deal for coffee makers and then they just pay Mr. coffee to use the name

Only way you know to look at the box and find "mfd for or by Wal-Mart inc " trademark used under license"
  #64  
Old 10-14-2017, 09:43 PM
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Agree we collectively bring it on ourselves by shopping price, price, PRICE, PRICE, then maaaybe a feature or two.
Well, first of all, as you are aware, wages haven't gone up for most Americans (after correcting for inflation) since the 1970s. While healthcare, housing, and education costs have all skyrocketed. So for most of us, we need to pinch every penny practical. I'm sure you're more or less in that boat - airline pilots I have read actually make a lot less than the averages were in the past. At least most professions make the same money as before.

The trouble with this kind of down-grading of products is it's basically a form of fraud. Not illegal, but if a consumer knew that a particular product they wanted from a name brand was of lower quality than the brand normally is, they might make a different decision.

What if you like oreos, but some of the oreos sold on sale at the grocery store have half the cocoa powder of the normal kind? You'd agree that you were cheated, right? Even if technically the UPC code on the box was slightly different, or it said "oreos special edition" or some other nonsense.

Last edited by SamuelA; 10-14-2017 at 09:44 PM.
  #65  
Old 10-15-2017, 08:54 AM
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Well, first of all, as you are aware, wages haven't gone up for most Americans (after correcting for inflation) since the 1970s. While healthcare, housing, and education costs have all skyrocketed. So for most of us, we need to pinch every penny practical. I'm sure you're more or less in that boat - airline pilots I have read actually make a lot less than the averages were in the past. At least most professions make the same money as before.
And part of the reason wages haven't gone up is because everyone is looking to pay the cheapest price possible. If Huffy has to manufacture its bikes in China and Mexico to meet Walmart's price demands, that means it has to eliminate jobs in its American factories. That means more people are unemployed and that drives wages down. Sure, if a single company does this, it's not going to make much of a difference. But it's not a single company that does this, and it's not only manufacturing jobs. People complain that they can't get the service at Home Depot or Lowe's that they used to get at the neighborhood hardware store- but they stopped shopping at that hardware store because Home Depot is cheaper and the neighborhood store closed. Or they miss the independent pharmacy that delivered prescriptions- but the pharmacist closed his pharmacy and went to work at CVS because he couldn't compete with them. I recall reading an interview with a man talking about losing his job in a shoe factory that closed because the company moved it's manufacturing out of the US - and he saw nothing ironic about the fact that he himself was wearing shoes manufactured in China.
We collectively say we want certain things ( good quality, decently paid manufacturing jobs, good service) and then we collectively act in ways that guarantee the opposite of what we claim to want.



Quote:
The trouble with this kind of down-grading of products is it's basically a form of fraud. Not illegal, but if a consumer knew that a particular product they wanted from a name brand was of lower quality than the brand normally is, they might make a different decision.

What if you like oreos, but some of the oreos sold on sale at the grocery store have half the cocoa powder of the normal kind? You'd agree that you were cheated, right? Even if technically the UPC code on the box was slightly different, or it said "oreos special edition" or some other nonsense.
For a lot of these items, there is no such thing as the "normal kind". Sometimes a company will market nearly identical products with different SKU numbers for different stores to prevent price matching and sometimes a company will manufacture a line exclusively for one retailer but many times, a company offers different product lines at different price points and the reason you find different items at different retailers is because most retailers don't offer the whole selection. Someone mentioned Calphalon earlier. Which of these is the normal Calphalon? ( and the Wiliams-Sonoma line is likely to be the most expensive, not the least) Which Kitchen Aid mixer is the "normal" kind? There are at least three different lines that I know of (probably more) and I am fairly certain you will not find a $700 plus model at Target or Walmart.
  #66  
Old 10-15-2017, 10:08 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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Well, first of all, as you are aware, wages haven't gone up for most Americans (after correcting for inflation) since the 1970s. While healthcare, housing, and education costs have all skyrocketed. So for most of us, we need to pinch every penny practical. I'm sure you're more or less in that boat - airline pilots I have read actually make a lot less than the averages were in the past. At least most professions make the same money as before.

The trouble with this kind of down-grading of products is it's basically a form of fraud. Not illegal, but if a consumer knew that a particular product they wanted from a name brand was of lower quality than the brand normally is, they might make a different decision.

What if you like oreos, but some of the oreos sold on sale at the grocery store have half the cocoa powder of the normal kind? You'd agree that you were cheated, right? Even if technically the UPC code on the box was slightly different, or it said "oreos special edition" or some other nonsense.
Believe me I'm totally on your side here.

I make a good living by most folks' standards. But ... My Dad did the same job for the same company for almost the same number of years I will. I will earn, corrected for inflation, 1/3rd the lifetime wages and retirement benefits he did. That's right, a 67% pay cut versus him. So much for Progress in the American Dream.

I agree completely with you that this stealth downgrading of quality or features is fraud.

Just like the incredible shrinking package sizes. As an example: When I was a kid ordinary ground coffee came in 16 ounce cans called "one pound" cans. During the great inflation of the late 60s / early 70s coffee cans silently shrank to 12 ounces. Which for years people still called "a pound of coffee" despite being ripped off by 33% versus a true pound.

Nowadays coffee even worse, coffee comes in packages ranging from 12 to 10 to 9 ounces all physically sized about the same. All carefully chosen to keep the sale price point at $8.99. Or whatever specific number but you get the point: marketers using subterfuge to make the consumer think they're getting a bargain when they're not.


As doreen says, there's a chicken and egg feedback loop going on. People bargain-hunt to stretch their own budget and thereby strangle the wages of the people they buy from. Or worst case, export the wages entirely to China or wherever.

To have plentiful high wage jobs requires two things: 1) The willingness to spend your own money buying products produced and delivered and serviced by high wage workers. 2) The ability and will to wrestle enough of the economic system's total value-add away from the owners of capital.

The American worker has collectively failed at both prereqs for 50+ years now. With the failure aided and abetted by international competition and a political system that has failed to deliver what the worker needs. Which may be due in large part to those same workers actually asking their political system for something else altogether. Which is a whole 'nuther forum full of threads.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 10-15-2017 at 10:11 AM.
  #67  
Old 10-15-2017, 11:16 AM
SamuelA SamuelA is offline
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As doreen says, there's a chicken and egg feedback loop going on. People bargain-hunt to stretch their own budget and thereby strangle the wages of the people they buy from. Or worst case, export the wages entirely to China or wherever.

To have plentiful high wage jobs requires two things: 1) The willingness to spend your own money buying products produced and delivered and serviced by high wage workers. 2) The ability and will to wrestle enough of the economic system's total value-add away from the owners of capital.

The American worker has collectively failed at both prereqs for 50+ years now. With the failure aided and abetted by international competition and a political system that has failed to deliver what the worker needs. Which may be due in large part to those same workers actually asking their political system for something else altogether. Which is a whole 'nuther forum full of threads.
I disagree on the feedback loop being the cause. People paying less for the same product incentivizes efficiency and ever greater production for the same resources.

I think the data says overwhelmingly that it's mainly (2). Over time, the value add of a single worker has more than doubled, yet their pay has halved. Where did it all go? To the growing aristocracy.

What's the fix? Well, the obvious one, mentioned in another thread, is just an estate tax. The actual problem is inherited wealth. If all the wealth went back to the communal pool with each generation, such that each worker's earnings are actually proportional to their lifetime production, capitalism would work as intended. Note I'm also against death, I don't think anyone should die, but if we ever have the ability to prevent that*, we'd have to come up with a new set of rules to prevent those who have large amounts of capital from being able to own everything on the planet eternally.

*In a technical sense, this is achievable and inevitable, at least for timescales of millions of years.

Last edited by SamuelA; 10-15-2017 at 11:18 AM.
  #68  
Old 10-15-2017, 04:27 PM
rbroome rbroome is offline
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This thread is a total shock for me-here I thought Home Depot for example (vs. Wal-Mart, where none of the above is absolutely any surprise) was the go-to place for hardware, selling stuff of the utmost quality. [/disillusioned, but wiser]
Go buy plumbing supplies at HD in the spring. That is apparently when they switch over their products. During the spring you can go through the cardboard boxes where the inventory is kept and sometimes find a few left-over parts from the previous year. The reduction in quality over even one year is noticeable. I was told by an employee who I know has worked there for years that the reason for the same part, with the same SKU number, is obviously different in quality but not in function is simply the year to year inventory. Obviously this doesn't happen with all products or every year, but I have seen it a couple of times in the plumbing supplies.
  #69  
Old 10-15-2017, 04:48 PM
rbroome rbroome is offline
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Believe me I'm totally on your side here.

I make a good living by most folks' standards. But ... My Dad did the same job for the same company for almost the same number of years I will. I will earn, corrected for inflation, 1/3rd the lifetime wages and retirement benefits he did. That's right, a 67% pay cut versus him. So much for Progress in the American Dream.
wow.
There is a stark contrast.
As you say, you made a good living. And perhaps the risks your father took accounted for some of the difference, but it sure is a contrast.
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Old 10-15-2017, 04:57 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is offline
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wow.
There is a stark contrast.
As you say, you made a good living. And perhaps the risks your father took accounted for some of the difference, but it sure is a contrast.
I think the reason airline pilots make a lot less must have to do with pricing pressure on the airlines.

The odd thing is, in the 'golden era' of airline travel, most of the pilots would have been trained by the military, for ww2 or the korean or vietnam wars. Ticket prices were high, the flight attendants were cherry picked young women who would be fired at the age of about 30, and life was good for the airline captains.

But there would have been more pilots applying for jobs then relative to the number of positions, one would think. Today, there are less air force pilots being trained, and most of the Vietnam era pilots are now retiring.
  #71  
Old 10-15-2017, 08:42 PM
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Yes, it happens a lot. Usually the model number of the item will be different for the model made for a particular store but not always.
At what point does this kind of marketing become illegal? Surely selling the inferior product with the superior model number should be illegal, no?
  #72  
Old 10-15-2017, 11:36 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is offline
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At what point does this kind of marketing become illegal? Surely selling the inferior product with the superior model number should be illegal, no?
It's 'legal' because it will be a different SKU. And in the long run, it hurts the companies that do it, because consumers will associate the premature failures/poor quality with the brand. This feedback mechanism is especially effective today, where Amazon allows buyers of the product to collectively give feedback. Amazon ratings aren't perfect, and can be gamed, but if a product has 5000+ reviews and a 4.5+ star rating, I have had pretty good experiences with those products.
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Old 10-16-2017, 03:07 PM
DummyGladHands DummyGladHands is offline
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[QUOTE=Orwell;20538596]Didn't your store get paid for warranty work from the manufacturers? I would think your store would have liked the extra service and warranty work, even if you didn't get the sales.

People for the most part, don't take very good care of lawn & garden equipment. So too often the equipment failure is not a warranty issue and we're the bearer of the bad news. Then they hate us on social media and stomp out vowing to never shop with us again.
Also the warranty payments are fixed and low. And if they say it take 15 minutes to say recalibrate a carb, and it takes us 1/2 hour, we just out.
  #74  
Old 10-16-2017, 07:42 PM
igor frankensteen igor frankensteen is offline
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I worked a long time ago at an electronics service shop. We handled warranty work for dozens of companies, and all of them wildly underpaid us for labor. We only took on the work in order to get some small discounts on parts for non-warranty work, for reputation and therefore post-warranty work, and for service information. The actual warranty income was by far the smallest reason to do the job.

As for blaming customer bargain hunting for falling product quality and ESPECIALLY for falling wages, that's entirely OUTRAGEOUS.


Customers have ALWAYS sought the best deal. It's included by all who pretend that free-market capitalism is the magic cause of all prosperity, AND by the more rational and honest people who deal with economics of the market place. Supposedly, bargain hunting is in theory, a reason for producers to IMPROVE their products, not to lie about them.
And wages are supposed to RISE when productivity rises. But that element has been altered starting in the late 1970's, and exacerbated by all sorts of quiet but purposeful moves of the most powerful in the world.

And of course, don't overlook actual marketplace innovation, periodically causing a MECHANICAL collapse of labor value. I'm referring there to things such as the invention of the container ship system, and the internet. Container ships "saved money" by allowing vast increases of product quantities to be transported across the once expensive oceans, for huge reductions in cost, thus putting American workers in more direct competition for wages with China and India and other places where poverty is the norm. Advances in automated manufacturing and design, has always allowed producers to compete with high paid workers, using vastly more ignorant and inexperienced operators, driving wages down again.

And so on.

So stop with the victim blaming. The reason for falling production quality and simultaneous lower wages for the working class, is that world governments have CHOSEN that road for all of their "solutions" to the challenges of an evolving market place. The people in power CHOSE to respond to the ability of oppressed and poverty stricken people to compete directly with Americans, by lowering trade barriers further, and by ignoring that every product coming from those foreign factories is made by people even more desperate to survive than we are, and who have far less legal right to object.
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Old 10-16-2017, 08:15 PM
GMANCANADA GMANCANADA is offline
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@ DummyGladHands & Orwell -

In Canada at Home Depot they do not do any warranty repairs whether major or minor products in house. Minor products they just do an exchange or refund, major items like washers, power equipment etc is contracted out to a 3rd party, usually through the manufacturer. Depending on the item, they go to your house or otherwise you bring it in and they ship it out.

Personal experience: My neighbour bought a snowblower at HD a few years ago. On his first use, something went wrong and he was told to return it to the HD store where he bought it. We did (in my van), he was told the 3rd party comes by once a week to collect items for service and it was "yesterday". They'd collect it the next week. As it turned out they needed a part which took 4 weeks to get, and then another week to return it back to HD for pickup. In the end, almost 6 weeks downtime. He shovelled the driveway all winter.

The reality was that for any problem, no matter how small, count on it being out of commission for at least 2 weeks. Once again, buyer beware. Now I always ask the procedure for warranty work before buying.
  #76  
Old 10-16-2017, 08:21 PM
Corry El Corry El is offline
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Originally Posted by igor frankensteen View Post

1. As for blaming customer bargain hunting for falling product quality and ESPECIALLY for falling wages, that's entirely OUTRAGEOUS.


Customers have ALWAYS sought the best deal.

2. It's included by all who pretend that free-market capitalism is the magic cause of all prosperity, AND by the more rational and honest people who deal with economics of the market place. Supposedly, bargain hunting is in theory, a reason for producers to IMPROVE their products, not to lie about them.
And wages are supposed to RISE when productivity rises. But that element has been altered starting in the late 1970's, and exacerbated by all sorts of quiet but purposeful moves of the most powerful in the world.

And of course, don't overlook actual marketplace innovation, periodically causing a MECHANICAL collapse of labor value. I'm referring there to things such as the invention of the container ship system, and the internet. Container ships "saved money" by allowing vast increases of product quantities to be transported across the once expensive oceans, for huge reductions in cost, thus putting American workers in more direct competition for wages with China and India and other places where poverty is the norm. Advances in automated manufacturing and design, has always allowed producers to compete with high paid workers, using vastly more ignorant and inexperienced operators, driving wages down again.

And so on.

So stop with the victim blaming. The reason for falling production quality and simultaneous lower wages for the working class, is that world governments have CHOSEN that road for all of their "solutions" to the challenges of an evolving market place. The people in power CHOSE to respond to the ability of oppressed and poverty stricken people to compete directly with Americans, by lowering trade barriers further, and by ignoring that every product coming from those foreign factories is made by people even more desperate to survive than we are, and who have far less legal right to object.
1. True. Any supposed solution based on consumers not looking out for their own direct interests is hopeless. It wasn't really the case in 'the good old days', and it's not ever going to be. You can impose restrictions collectively on people's choices. It's debatable how often that actually works, in particular national circumstances. But expecting people to spontaneously act against their direct interest, that's pissing in the wind.

The cheapest product on the shelf isn't always best, and the consumer doesn't always buy it. And it's been validly stated they generally have themselves to blame if they do buy an inferior product. Sometimes it's hard to tell. Generally not so much. Especially not on repeat purchases of stuff.

However, you can just as easily use lower production costs to deliver a higher quality product for less as a lower one. If anything it's the high cost producers under the most pressure to cut corners to hang on in a market based on a previous brand reputation etc. That was manifest in the US car business for example for a long time. The lower cost base of the foreign brands (whether they produce outside the US or at non-union plants in the US) tended to manifest in the US brands giving less car (less reliable, cheaper materials, genuinely new models less often, etc) for about the same money not the same car for more money or a better car for lots more money. The legacy UAW costs tended to manifest itself in corner cutting. That was eventually washed away to some extent by the bankruptcies but not entirely.

2. So I agree less as this goes along, but mainly 'median person doesn't make much more' (or anecdotally, makes less) than decades ago and 'junk on the shelves' are not really the same issue. Both are related to some overlapping factors, but one is not a cause of the other. And some median figures are related to social and political change (median household incomes haven't risen much, but households are smaller now on average; medical costs have soared; but real new technologies have been introduced, and employer or govt subsidies for health care aren't counted in median *wages*). But median income growth has slowed. Average wage growth less. The issue is much more a distribution change in rich countries than looking for some process by which 'poor countries take our wealth'. That is what Trump says. Generally people here don't agree with him much, though I guess some do . Populists of left and right tend to come together though in effectively opposing technology and trade as intuitive response to the distributional change. And it's not that either should be supported for its own sake. It's just that opposing either doesn't happen to be a practical solution in any general sense (you can 'save' some jobs by restricting either, but you can't advance general prosperity that way).

Last edited by Corry El; 10-16-2017 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 02-04-2018, 01:28 PM
Brayne Ded Brayne Ded is offline
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I think the reason airline pilots make a lot less must have to do with pricing pressure on the airlines.

The odd thing is, in the 'golden era' of airline travel, most of the pilots would have been trained by the military, for ww2 or the korean or vietnam wars. Ticket prices were high, the flight attendants were cherry picked young women who would be fired at the age of about 30, and life was good for the airline captains.

But there would have been more pilots applying for jobs then relative to the number of positions, one would think. Today, there are less air force pilots being trained, and most of the Vietnam era pilots are now retiring.
Saw an article recently about airline pilots recently, and it has gone from being a dream job to a financial trap. The budget airlines cut prices, and save on the crew. The pilots don't get paid all that much, and get done out of paid meals and accommodation by their employers, resulting in some very odd scenes behind the scenes. Apart from the low pay, it costs a lost to become an airline pilot. A price of around 200,000 USD was quoted. How long will it take a pilot to pay that off if he is flying for a budget airline? And those who get qualified do not necessarily get a job. Some head off to Asia, where the airlines are expanding, but safety is often a distant second best. In the past the airlines got a lot of ex-military pilots, who of course needed to be retrained, and a lot of experienced eastern European pilots came on the job market in the 1990s.

The article concluded that it will take a major crash to shake up the industry, and the budget airlines are overdue for one due to skimping all along the line.
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Old 02-06-2018, 09:25 AM
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Saw an article recently about airline pilots recently, and it has gone from being a dream job to a financial trap. The budget airlines cut prices, and save on the crew. The pilots don't get paid all that much, and get done out of paid meals and accommodation by their employers, resulting in some very odd scenes behind the scenes. Apart from the low pay, it costs a lost to become an airline pilot. A price of around 200,000 USD was quoted. How long will it take a pilot to pay that off if he is flying for a budget airline? And those who get qualified do not necessarily get a job. Some head off to Asia, where the airlines are expanding, but safety is often a distant second best. In the past the airlines got a lot of ex-military pilots, who of course needed to be retrained, and a lot of experienced eastern European pilots came on the job market in the 1990s.

The article concluded that it will take a major crash to shake up the industry, and the budget airlines are overdue for one due to skimping all along the line.
perhaps this would help?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colgan_Air_Flight_3407

As I understand it, there were improvements made.

Finding the appropriate point between cheap air fares and crew (both air crew and ground crew) that are paid enough to do a very good job is a constant challenge. Personally, I would much rather err on the side of a very good job, but I buy tickets mostly on the price point like everyone else. But I won't fly on the deep discount airlines-they are too cheap for me.
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Old 02-06-2018, 02:56 PM
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This thread reminds me of the Duluth catalogue, which at least for a while - or maybe they still do? - offered the same pair of pants, made in China and made in the U.S.A. with the attendant difference in price point between the 2 pants due to labor & materials costs. Duluth made no attempt to hide the cost difference.

Ballsy move - force consumers who complain about foreign imports to put their money where their mouth is.
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Old 02-06-2018, 04:24 PM
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Sears used to sell a variety of well-known brand-name guns under their own J.C Higgins brand, and under the Sears brand. So did J.C. Penny. Mossbergs were sold under the New Haven brand for Montgomery Ward and Western Auto.
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:47 PM
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I've heard of this but don't believe it at all. When I was growing up my family always got store brand food and drinks and even today I occasionally fall back to that and store brands are always very different from the actual brands. I've eaten so many store brand chips and they never taste anywhere near what the actual brands they're imitating. I can believe actual brands will make special batches for store brands but they very obviously skimp on the ingredients since I have never had a store brand that was equivalent to an actual brand (note, there are actual store brands that are BETTER than actual brands but at the same time it's obvious they're aren't just some other companies run-offs)
I agree! I know Price Chopper doesn't make their own corn flakes, but their corn flakes don't have the same consistency as name-brand Corm Flakes. So it can't just be different packaging on the same contents.
  #82  
Old 02-06-2018, 05:49 PM
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I agree! I know Price Chopper doesn't make their own corn flakes, but their corn flakes don't have the same consistency as name-brand Corm Flakes. So it can't just be different packaging on the same contents.
Maybe those are defective name-brand Corn Flakes.
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Old 02-06-2018, 06:44 PM
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heh anyone want to know the difference between sears telegames unit and a Atari 2600? .....
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Old 02-06-2018, 06:48 PM
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As mentioned - for some products to exactly match the "brand" it would require more expensive ingredients which would require the manufacturer to charge near brand prices to make profit. Most of these products are sold based on price, so they don't want to do that, so they use cheaper near-brand ingredients.

For other products, the differences may be that a company literally has a "secret formula" (like Coke) or some proprietary manufacturing technique and others can't or aren't able to duplicate it. Note - proprietary formulas are one reason the government does not require manufacturers to list the exact proportions of ingredients or the exact "spices" or flavours" on their package ingredient list.

Example between two brands: I had a friend who worked for Post cereal (10 years ago) and she told me they had never ever been able to perfectly duplicate Kelloggs Bran Flakes (the market leader). They never got the exact taste, crunch etc., close but they could never fool people in side by side tests. They'd tried for years and couldn't figure out the Kelloggs secret. She preferred Kelloggs and would buy it and slip it into a Post box in case any of her co-workers checked her cupboards if they were over.
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Old 02-07-2018, 03:04 PM
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Pickles spoil?
Yes, they can. Some pickle producers have been reducing the concentration of the brine the pickles are packed in. The concentration is high enough to (maybe) maintain the flavor, but not enough to preserve the pickles.
  #86  
Old 02-08-2018, 01:35 PM
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Maybe those are defective name-brand Corn Flakes.
I've been buying Corm Flakes all this time!!
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Old 02-09-2018, 05:45 PM
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I have owned two mowers that the manufacturer said were built specifically for Walmart. One was a Lawn-Boy, and the other was a Murray rider. I don't remember the difference in the Lawn-Boy, but I think the Murray had a smaller engine and narrower deck than one could get elsewhere. Of course, the price was lower.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:17 PM
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Pickles spoil?
There is a mania for Best-By Dates, and every product must have one. Even table salt has a best by date, and housewives consider it "spoiled" after that date, even though it is already 100,000,000,000 years old when it is put in the box, and 100,000,000,005 years old when it expires..

Last edited by jtur88; 02-09-2018 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:30 PM
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Where are you shopping that the table salt is 100 billion years old? That's even older than the universe.
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Old 02-09-2018, 08:34 PM
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There is a mania for Best-By Dates, and every product must have one. Even table salt has a best by date, and housewives consider it "spoiled" after that date, even though it is already 100,000,000,000 years old when it is put in the box, and 100,000,000,005 years old when it expires..
Housewives, huh. What will those ditzy girls think next?

Last edited by IvoryTowerDenizen; 02-09-2018 at 08:35 PM.
  #91  
Old 02-10-2018, 04:57 AM
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My buddy got back to me and said that Remington does not make different versions for different retailers, including Walmart. He doesn't know about other makers.

He said that they introduced low-end models like the 770 to meet price points, but they don't make different versions for different retailers.
AFAIK none of the major manufacturers does this. It's far too much hassle, the cost benefits would be marginal, and their brand reputation would suffer too much. As you note, you've got things like the Model 770 which are designed to be cheap and cheerful, but there's no way Remington are going to make a "Standard" Model 700 then a "Wallyworld Special" Model 700 that's got slightly cheaper parts in it in a few places and maybe has a lower grade of wood stock.

Gun manufacturers usually offer their guns in a few variations, but they're offered across the board and not to a specific retailer.

Have a look at the CZ rifle line-up
; there's several different variations on the CZ-452, CZ-455 and CZ-527 rifles there but if you look at them, you'll notice the main difference between the guns is the stock (different shapes, styles, materials etc). The actual action, barrel, magazine and trigger etc are all the same, because once you've got your production line set up to make those things, it doesn't make economic sense to have some of your rifles being made with the "standard" parts and some being made with the "budget" parts, if that makes sense.
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  #92  
Old 02-13-2018, 02:30 PM
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Housewives, huh. What will those ditzy girls think next?
I'm an old maid and I find it hard not to look at the expiration on salt. I swear it has lost some taste after I've had it a long time.
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Old 02-13-2018, 03:29 PM
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This thread reminds me of the Duluth catalogue, which at least for a while - or maybe they still do? - offered the same pair of pants, made in China and made in the U.S.A. with the attendant difference in price point between the 2 pants due to labor & materials costs. Duluth made no attempt to hide the cost difference.

Ballsy move - force consumers who complain about foreign imports to put their money where their mouth is.
Looks like they still do this. New Balance shoes does it too. I think it's great! No idea how this distinction helps or hurts the brands. I'd be curious to know.
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:50 PM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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A lot of guitar brands have cheaper models made overseas or in Mexico. For example Fender has the "American standard" models made in the US and the standard models made in Mexico or overseas. the later are often called the mexistrats for the strat model.
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:30 PM
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There is a mania for Best-By Dates, and every product must have one. Even table salt has a best by date, and housewives consider it "spoiled" after that date, even though it is already 100,000,000,000 years old when it is put in the box, and 100,000,000,005 years old when it expires..
The worcestershire sauce I bought brand new had a best-by date literally only a year after I bought it, despite the fact unopened sauce can pretty much last indefinitely (though the flavor does settle and change a bit after a few years)
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:01 PM
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One practice I'm aware of is simply offering less of an item in similar looking packaging. I can't remember the specifics, but there was some cleaner that actually sold at a lower concentration at Walmart than elsewhere, so that the price could be lower.

I don't have an inherent problem with the budget goods. I just have a problem with not labeling them well. People need to be able to make an informed decision. Anything else is deceptive advertising.

As for foreign vs. local goods, a good point is to consider the acceptable cost of living in these other places. A lot of times, you're helping out more people with less money.
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:41 PM
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As for foreign vs. local goods, a good point is to consider the acceptable cost of living in these other places. A lot of times, you're helping out more people with less money.
And often buying something made with inferior materials, worse quality control and made with more pollution. Chinese products are usually inferior in most respects, and propping up a regime that is troublesome, to say the least.
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:43 AM
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Where are you shopping that the table salt is 100 billion years old? That's even older than the universe.
Artisan salt for hipsters. I'd tell you where the mine is but you've never heard of the location.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:37 AM
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Pickles spoil?
Yeah, supermarket pickles spoil. They're not really properly pickled, they're just floating in a weak vinegar solution that's not strong or salty enough to stop stuff growing. I've had to chuck out pickles when I've taken the jar out of the fridge and found a layer of mould floating on top of the so-called brine.

By contrast, my grandma used to make her own pickles and keep them in the larder for years, and they only got better. We were still eating them a couple of years after she died.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:41 AM
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I worked a long time ago at an electronics service shop. . .
Okay, then maybe you can answer something for me about this thread that I'm trying to understand WRT Amazon and electronics.

Suppose there is a particular model of a name brand product, such as the Sony ABC-33Ax camcorder, which is sold both directly by Sony and various retailers. It has been on the market for a few months, and consumer magazines have reviewed, ect, and its specs are well-known.

Does Amazon then come along and start selling it at a lower price by exactly the same product number ("Sony ABC-33Ax"), but alter the specs, without making that known? Or do they they change the number slightly?

IOW, can a person know the difference by viewing the Amazon listing, or do you have to buy the thing first, and then discover that it's not quite the same product that has been on the market?
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