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Thread: OT. The Quest for Cheap Stuff
01-23-2012, 10:50 PM #1
OT. The Quest for Cheap Stuff
Everyone bitches about China and the shit coming over on the boat, lost jobs and the sad state of business in general, but there are a abundance of posts asking for sources of cheap this or cheap that!
I think this is how Mr.& Mrs Consumer got the whole thing going...give us cheap shit. The manufactures said, 'sure', we'll have this stuff made in China, poor quality but price (profit) is king!
You want cheap shit...it's going to come from China...your colleagues in the machinist trade aren't going to work for pennies...it's been said on this forum every day...so enough with the ' where can I get this shit cheap' dance!
Am I way out in left field on this tirade...
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01-23-2012, 11:32 PM #2
01-23-2012, 11:38 PM #3
It may be a cheap shot but it deserves an answer...why crab about crap from offshore and then repeatedly post the need for ' cheap this or that'. It seems like these folks are denying the elephant in the room.
Maybe Walmart should start selling insert tooling!
01-23-2012, 11:45 PM #4
They already want to join the healthcare racket!
01-23-2012, 11:46 PM #5
There's cheap crap and then there's cheap as in good deals. I recommended Loctite 638 to a friend in the U.S. recently, he looked it up on MSC and it was 120 bucks for a 50ml bottle. I get that stuff here in Switzerland where everything is gold plated for 65 bucks . So of course he will shop around and not buy from MSC (seems like lots of people are avoiding them these days).
For cheap crap; sometimes that's all you need. I picked up a bottom of the barrel quality jig saw that's certainly from China, but all I want to do with it is make puzzles with/for my daughter. It's fine for that, and I simply wouldn't pay the cash for a 'proper' one as it's a waste of money for me. So nobody is getting screwed- it's either don't buy one or buy the cheap one.
There are threads here on fasteners and metal suppliers, looking for the best deal. You can pay multiple times more from one to the other, and it seems sometimes the expensive guys have the worst service. So again, looking for 'cheap' there is the smart thing to do.
I wish I could get granite flats from Enco here for pennies on the dollar. Brilliant for sticking 3M lapping film on. Wouldn't want to do that to a Starrett. Cheap has its place.
01-23-2012, 11:49 PM #6
Years ago someone introduced me to the notion of asking when something is cheap. The cheapest item on day one may go on to produce bad parts, customer failures, delays in learning and use, frequent replacements, lost time, accidents, and the like.
US companies might do well to understand all the costs of use and then build products that truly provide low costs of use, all things considered, five or ten years down the road.
01-23-2012, 11:59 PM #7
Getting worse as the last generation of consumers who still remember quality US made goods grow older. My thirty-four year old daughter has grown up in the "discount era" and has no frame of reference (other than my rants) from which to compare how poor the quality and choice of goods has become.
I'd like to further address this subject, but I've got to get down to the local "super-discount" before they close. They've got coffee makers marked down to $8.95 today only. They only last about a year, so I need to catch 'em on sale!
01-24-2012, 12:25 AM #8
It's pretty frustrating... so many things are made in China these days while I would much rather support manufacturing here in the USA. It's too bad the prices are so high though. I'd gladly pay 50% more for something quality made here, but it's usually 100% or 200% more, at least.
01-24-2012, 06:54 AM #9
All of it was made in China except the "All Clad" brand that's made in USA. Their 10 piece set was $1150 list, on sale for $750. I ended up getting her the 13 piece set of Calphalon "Tri-Ply" for $400, and it seems to be slightly better-made. This set has triple-riveted handles, the All Clad is two rivets. Other than that, the same weight materials. As much as I prefer to buy domestic-made product, the value just wasn't there this time.
01-24-2012, 07:13 AM #10
01-24-2012, 07:23 AM #11
Most look at cheap in terms of the lowest initial dollar cost for the thing.
What I like to know is best value for the dollar, best ROI. Just as I don't want to pay 2x as much for a POS that could have been bought elsewhere for less and be just as good(or sometimes better... )
01-24-2012, 07:25 AM #12
In my opinion the key to all this is to pick your battles carefully. As has been stated, sometimes cheap is okay. If it is something that you are going to rarely use and not make a living with then cheap may be okay. I would never buy something where you have to rely on the quality of steel to make a tool useful. Hack saw blades, chisels and things like that come to mind. They are just not worth the cheap price. I might buy a sink wrench for two dollars because I am only going to use it four or five times in my whole life. I think one underlying problem with our economy is that things just aren't worth fixing anymore. We live in a throw away society. Many, many years ago I made a pretty good living repairing printing calculators. They had very few functions and cost a good bit. With the availability of cheap disposable calculators the business disappeared. I often wonder how many people lost jobs over the years just due to the fact that a lot of things just aren't worth repairing. I heard someone say recently that the problem with borrowing money from China is that an hour later you feel broke again.
01-24-2012, 08:13 AM #13
On our Nature
The Western society prizes "Having" very highly.
Having Wealth (Material goods or the potential for same) is at the top of most peoples satisfaction list. Why is that? I find that most "stuff" really complicates and encumbers.
The "Buying cheap" is an expression of this accumulation of wealth, even if misguided (see the trash at the curb?)
On this same thread is my pet peave. "I picked up this (insert trinket here), tell me what is it worth and who will buy it for the highest price. (The price must be many many times what I paid for it, cause I want to make a killing).
Ahhh. "flip this house"
Not all people think the same, and not many the way I do ;-)
That may be a good thing...I don't know.
01-24-2012, 08:35 AM #14
I go out of my way to by US made stuff, all my shoes and pants are US made even my underwear on most days. In the shop I buy all us made machines I do have a wacheon lathe that is real nice but it bothers me that it is not us made, I needed a manual lathe that I could still get repaired if it broke since I rely on it everyday. I ride an american made bicycle too. This is coming off like some nationalist rant but when I buy something I like to think of who is getting my money. Is my money going to some big corporation that craps on its employees or is it going to a local shop that treats its people well and sells quality products. I always encourage shops to make products the field is wide open for US made things even if you cant compete on price go for quality and design you will be successfull.
01-24-2012, 09:06 AM #15
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01-24-2012, 09:14 AM #16
We bought a large set of Lifetime cookware many decades ago. We use it every day and the stuff has been wonderful. I consider it a good use of money. For the longest time I tried to buy the best of things, but with technology that strategy is just dumb. High quality is out there, but it will be obsolete long before it wears out. I'm thinking of things like CD and DVD players, computer stuff and TVs. I've given away some very nice and expensive audio equipment because it wouldn't play current formats. Now I buy whatever functional thing I can find for $29.95 and am perfectly happy. It works well and if it breaks I just buy another. At home and at work there are no large production runs, using the definitions of the past. It makes no sense to buy brand name carbide tooling when $5 HSS from "wherever" will do the job. FWIW, I've been very impressed with some of the "cheap" tooling I've gotten that's from Israel, Poland, Turkey and other places. The US and Germany are not the only source of quality tooling.
Moving further OT, I do worry that if we had to fight a "large" war using conventional forces, we don't have the infrastructure to support it anymore. How would we gear up to build thousands of planes and ships and such like we did in the '40s? Heavy industry is pretty much toast. Of course, maybe that vision of a conventional land war is obsolete.
01-24-2012, 09:42 AM #17It makes no sense to buy brand name carbide tooling when $5 HSS from "wherever" will do the job. FWIW, I've been very impressed with some of the "cheap" tooling I've gotten that's from Israel, Poland, Turkey and other places. The US and Germany are not the only source of quality tooling.
but one has to see the difference once, e.g. a german HSS tool blank pitted against a cheapo chinese M2 tool blank. Same goes for inserts, endmills, etc. There is an advantage to buy the best when you´re in production.
Concerning things I use every day, I try to buy the best. My guess is that made in USA or made in Germany is not that much more expensive, we pay the middlemen a huge part of the price. Direct marketing can get us around this problem.
01-24-2012, 09:53 AM #18
As manufacturers, you're probably going to get a different answer vs asking someone who doesn't make things for a living.
I personally, do not buy "cheap" and to define that... I mean, low quality unless its a throw-away item I never plan to use again. As much as I dislike Wal-Mart and many of its business practices, I do buy some things from there out of convenience. Electronics, furniture, things like that... I buy at other places with a wider range of quality options.
I use to try to "buy American" but then I grew up and realized this is a "global economy" where your American machine comes with guideways made in Japan, bearings made in Germany, electronics made in Malaysia, China, etc..
I don't have to have the most expensive thing on the market but I usually end up buying something close, that costs considerably less because I'm a stickler for quality... as I'm sure many people here are.
01-24-2012, 10:04 AM #19
The next "major" war will kill most of us. Let's just hope we don't end up with some wack job president or congress who decide to do something stupid.
The technology of war has moved on. We have as much need to gear up for a conventional war as we have a need to maintain thousands of horses for cavalry regiments.
If the US had any sort of smarts regarding war and power it would recognize that our 50+ year obsession with being the biggest, baddest country on the planet hasn't really worked out too well and that countries like China are getting much more bang for their buck in international relations through trade and targeted foreign aid than we do through military intervention, military training, and killing people. I don't agree with a lot of what Ron Paul says, but his observations on our foreign and military policies make a lot of sense.
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01-24-2012, 10:22 AM #20
Why is there no talk of the companies that are the distribution channels for all products, china or USA? I buy about 50% of my product in China, and let my customers know what they are buying. My competition buys from the same factories, market the product better than me and try to charge a lot more for the same thing. What about the US manufacturer that is making product, and struggling to get a good margin, then some large distribution channel comes in and sells it at mega profits.
This just happened to Mr. Potter here with his QVC experience. Yes you may buy American, but where are you buying it from and how fairly are they treating their suppliers? Shit, the coffee I drink at starbucks, grown in some far off land is fair trade and the farmer is well paid, but when I sell aprons to starbucks, I get a colonoscopy free with every order. And if it was not for a massive tarriff on aprons I would get them from China as well.
Okay i got to get back to my hamster wheel.