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View Diary: Are We Wal-Mart? (110 comments)

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  •  Crap (24+ / 0-)

    We can find the ultimate irony in having sold our souls for crap.

    Nearly all of the merchandise now sold in stores like WalMart is cheap, poorly made crap.  A couple of days ago, in need of a new snow shovel, I stopped at my neighborhood Ace Hardware store and picked out what seemed to be a sturdy item: ash handle, nice ergonomic design, not cheap, but the price @$24.99  seemed reasonable.  It lasted approximately 30 seconds before the plastic handle broke clean off.

    Lately, I find myself returning about half of the small stuff I buy because it breaks or stops functioning soon after purchase.  Cell phone car chargers (3 in the last year) that overheat, kitchen gadgets with handles that routinely fall off, extension cords with plug ends that pull loose after a few uses, coffee makers that emit poisonous plastic fumes, toasters that don't toast, useless pencils, staplers that jam, etc., etc..

    These are small annoyances -- in every case a decision by the store to put profit over quality, to allow the bad to drive out the good.  I make a point of returning the crap and often find that store personnel are annoyed that someone would bother them with returning a $4 stapler.  

    I expect the store doesn't care, knowing that most will throw the crap in the trash and line up for more.

    Lately, I've started to notice small things at yard sales that would have gone unnoticed: a really nice 50 year-old Bostich stapler for 50 cents that I expect will still be working fine long after I'm dead, a simple all glass Chemex coffee maker for $10 that makes a wonderful brew.

    Who needs crap?  Who needs WalMart?  I don't.

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Sat Nov 30, 2013 at 05:05:32 AM PST

    •  A second-hand store where I live is my choice. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, ladybug53

      In our town is a well-managed store that supports our regional hospice program. When I need something, like sheets, I check there first.  Most of my clothes come from there.  I have found quality items that will outlast me and I  don't have to battle the Walmartians when I shop this pleasant store, run by volunteers.

      Sometimes we need or want to shop for other items, and I am always conflicted about which stores to visit, either because they are sourced with items undoubtedly made by exploited workers, or because I don't like the politics of the local owners or the corporate CEOs.

      We have taken some other steps to simplify; for example, we've lived without commercial TV for two years, and have been members of an authentic CSA for four.  Still, there is much more we could do to curb the materialism in our personal culture.

    •  Neil Young said it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau, socialismorbarbarism

      The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

      by raboof on Sat Nov 30, 2013 at 07:08:20 AM PST

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    •  It's by design... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rhauenstein

      I suspect part of it is pure planned obsolescence purely to force you to buy things more frequently.

    •  Headphones are a recurrent purchase (3+ / 0-)

      That I found most annoying. Most commercial brands for recreational listening are upwards from $25 and it often takes less than a month for the wires to bend or break, for the earpiece to die on one or both sides, to get crackling sounds, to lose a range of frequencies, etc...

      I moved into music production a few years ago. In early 2009, I did meticulous research on proper headphones and happened across a pair of reliable Sennheisers for $99. Five years later and they're working with amazing condition as though nearly mint. The saying "buy cheap, buy twice" never held as much relevance as on that case. I hate cheap quality, and it's not out of snobbery, but out of the practical need to have functioning products to be traded for fleeting cash.

      "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey ////\\\\ "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

      by rovertheoctopus on Sat Nov 30, 2013 at 10:23:37 AM PST

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      •  . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rovertheoctopus

        headphones... yep... same here.  Mistakenly purchased some $25-$30 headphones... realized quickly the audio nuances were completely distorted.  Then bought some $99 headphones... sound quality was fairly good but then the ear pieces material disintegrated to nothingness and I kept finding parts of them in my ear after guitar practice.  Then went and got $200 headphones.... have had them for 3 years ... no issue ... excellent audio ... no magic disintegration.  Moral learned: It costs $200 for headphones that are worth putting on your head and listening to.

        "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

        by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sat Nov 30, 2013 at 11:40:16 AM PST

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      •  Sennheisers for $99? WOW (0+ / 0-)

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Nov 30, 2013 at 10:48:20 PM PST

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