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American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 2:47 PM

Dear Lowe's,

Every single tool or appliance made in America that I have purchased from Lowe's in the last 18 months has been defective. Every single one. To wit:

Item: Black & Decker Variable-Speed Electric Drill.

Failure: Drill does not operate when the chuck-rotation switch is in the 'clockwise-rotation' position; by far the most commonly used setting. Drill only works in reverse.

Reason for Failure: Defective trigger-switch assembly thanks to Black & Decker's use of inferior materials and poor quality controls during manufacture.

Note: One of your employees strongly recommended against purchasing any Black & Decker products because of their substantially inferior quality. The employee further recommended against purchasing DeWalt products since Black & Decker purchased this company and now manufactures DeWalt products of inferior quality. The employee suggested Hitachi or Bosch products, neither of which are made in America. The Hitachi drill with which I replaced the B&D drill has, unsurprisingly, given me no trouble at all.

--

Item: Tubing Cutter. Designed to cut tubing such as 3/4" copper pipe.

Failure: Cutter does not cut pipe but instead cuts a spiral groove in the pipe much like a screw thread. Cutter cannot be made to work no matter how much care is taken.

Reason for Failure: Excessively loose manufacturing tolerances resulting in parts that do not fit together properly.

Note: I have used tubing cutters many times in the last three decades and this cutter is by far the worst I have ever used. I returned to your store to take a look at the other tubing cutters you sell. They were all built to the same low standards and, like the cutter I purchased, all made in America.

--

Item: Light-Bulb Changer. Used to replace light bulbs in hard-to-reach ceiling fixtures.

Failure: The tines on the spring-loaded, 'basket'-shaped assembly at the end of the rod snag on the upper edge of reflectors in recessed ceiling fixtures, making it virtually impossible to remove the tool from fixtures after replacing the bulbs. Tool can be withdrawn from the fixture only if the bulb is removed along with the tool.

Reason for Failure: Poor design. Attached are images showing the 'basket' assembly before and after I installed heat-shrink tubing over the tines to prevent their snagging on the reflector. A correct design would put the ends of the tines on the >>inside<< of the basket and crimped shut. Made in America.

1. Tine-ends face outward, allowing them to snag on top edge of reflector.

2. Snagged and won't let go. Moving tool away from reflector edge doesn't work, as there is not enough clearance to free all of the tines simultaneously.

3. To free the tool requires that the bulb be removed along with it.

4. Crimping the tine ends and securing them with heat-shrink tubing made the tool actually usable. The yellow shrink tubing is what I had on hand in that size and just happens to match the tool's color scheme.

--

Item: Tactical Flashlight, a $64 item (and a birthday gift from my daughter). Supposedly a favorite of military and law-enforcement agencies.

Failure: Flashlight is supposed to be usable in wet conditions, but was not actually usable in wet conditions. At least not for long. The on/off switch is now intermittent thanks to water intrusion and subsequent corrosion of the switch and flashlight interior.

Reason for Failure: The flashlight contains O-rings which are supposed to seal the flashlight from the elements. O-rings are supposed to be greased. One of the O-rings was not greased and therefore did not seal properly, allowing significant quantities of moisture to enter the flashlight interior. Made in America.

--

Item: Frigidaire Dehumidifier, which I purchased today.

Failure: 'Tank Full' indication when tank is actually empty.

Reason for Failure: Tank-full float pivot broken on one side preventing the float from functioning properly and resulting in a permanent 'Tank Full' indication.

Note: The float has two pivot points. One of them had snapped off prior to the product's shipment to your store. The broken pivot was not in the box, not in the tank, had not fallen out on the floor when I unpacked the unit, was not lodged in the packaging, nor was it lodged in the appliance itself. It was not present at all. The packaging had not been opened previously and the unit was not a store return as the original factory strapping was still in place. The pivot had evidently snapped off at the factory and the unit was shipped in this condition. Made in America.

---

So why is it the only products I have purchased that consistently work as advertised are not made in America? Why is this? Can't your American vendors make good products? Not even a decent tubing cutter? Or do your vendors consciously choose not to and instead let your customers do their quality control for them at your customers' time and expense?

I have become wary of shopping at your stores, thanks to the consistently inferior quality of the products I have purchased there. Today's purchase was pretty much the last straw and I have no plans to shop at your stores in the foreseeable future. I'm sure that to do so would simply be a waste of my time and my money yet again.

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#1

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 3:55 PM
Sorry about your misfortune

europium:

This might make a case about competition within the USA.

I hear that there is a big company out east called China that may help with forcing domestic companies with improving their quality issues.

I like to hear what Lowe's response is, can you keep us informed?

p911

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#40
In reply to #1

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 7:43 AM

This will tell you all you need to know on that subject

http://888publishing.com/

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#42
In reply to #40

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 8:21 AM

Yes I heard that, sure there are things about that sort of thing that are true,

but the adage; "don't bit the hand that feeds you".

This saying now actually goes both ways and is no longer clear who is feeding who.

but the US owing China trillions is not too bad a bargining position in a twisted form a way.

OMG, I should give myself a huge bonus for that idea.

p911

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#91
In reply to #40

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 11:00 AM

Who is Jimmy Lee? There's JPMorgan Chase Vice Chairman James Bainbridge Lee Jr., but he's not what I'd call a "China insider," and we've got another Jimmy Lee who, it seems, is fond of writing Chinese-food cookbooks and may be a "China insider," but an 'insider' in a somewhat different sense.

So who is Jimmy Lee?

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#2

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 4:59 PM

I wrote a similar letter to Sam's Club recently, about products I bought that were not made in America. To wit:

LED Christmas lights - I bought them last year, one section overheated and melted. This year I noticed that many of the socket contacts had rusted. Not tarnished, not corroded, rusted - because apparently copper is no longer the choice for electrical contacts.

Viveo LCD TV - It works fine except for one thing, I have to turn it on twice. The first time I turn it on I get sound only. I have to turn it off, and turn it on again to get picture. And I'm one of those guys who likes picture on his TV.

Reebok 1000X elliptical trainer - after an hour's worth of assembly, it didn't work. I had to spend another hour dis-assembling it, then another hour opening up the bits with "no user serviceable parts inside" to find an unconnected cable and an under-torqued bolt. The heart rate monitor and fitness log don't work either, but I didn't really expect them to.

To that I'll add a trend that I've noticed at Home Depot. A few years ago I bought a sprinkler that worked great. Went back the next year to buy a second one - it's no longer available and the new version is crap. Bought a B&D electric lawn mower - it worked great, went back to get a new blade for it, they don't sell them anymore and don't sell replacement parts for it.

For Christmas I bought myself a Remington electric shaver (I need to shave my head). The last one of these I saw, 20 years ago, had a substantial heft and a heavy powerful motor. The new one is light, plastic, crappy and the motor sounds like it came out of some windup toy.

When I left home 30 years ago I got the old iron that my mom used - the one that she got from her mother 20 years earlier. When it finally wore out after three generations of use, I bought a new one - I'm on my sixth new one now.

Everything is crap.

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 5:51 PM
This could be the start of another thread........The price of quality.

Do you pay a premium price for something like a Dewalt tool that lasts for say a couple of years, (I had a (6) Dewalt DW802 4 1/2" Grinder that lasted for less then 2 weeks, then I when back to the DW402's)

Or do you go down to Harbor Freight and buy their cheaper? tools and treat them as consumables, were precision is not quite there and not really know when they will expire.

p911

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#3

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 5:31 PM

instead let your customers do their quality control for them at your customers' time and expense?

This frustrates me to no end. It is not only the cost of the item but over a year's time factor in 10% for returns and lost time doing so.

I point this out to my kids all the time and warn them of the perils of not doing your best. It shows up everywhere these days. sad.

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#4

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 5:35 PM

Let's ask Del!

It has been a year since I have bought any tools.

One of the last tools I bought was a Black and Decker screw gun.

I did not expect that it would work well, since I am familiar with tools.

Lowes carries Black and Decker, whereas Home Depot carries Ryobi.

Of Chinese made tools Ryobi stuff, is the best deal.

My Makita table saw has been good to have, and helped me make a little money.

B&D has professional grade tools only available, last I knew, online.

DeWalt is tyically 100 bucks more for the same quality you might get from a Ryobi.

Of the Chinese manufacturers, Ryobi bought out the name, and got their suppliers in line to be consistent.

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#6

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 6:26 PM

Made-in-America doesn't mean the parts are made in America. American companies routinely have the parts made in China or where ever else they are the cheapest and assemble them in the U.S. "Assembled in America" qualifies the tool as "American made". Dewalt recently switched their cordless motors from made-in-America to imported-from-China. You Will find it very hard to find a tool that is 100% American made and it is very difficult to determine country-of-origin of any tools or anything for that matter. We can only hope that China will improve their production standards so that made-in-anywhere will insure a quality product regardless of where it is made. There are American manufacturers who want to make goods here, but competition forces them to go offshore or go out of business. The trend is reversible. Quality American made products will only happen when the cost of making them in China or anywhere in the world exceeds our own domestic labor costs.

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#7
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 7:04 PM

Trying to stand in a kinda neutral position here (not wishing to slag off either USA- or PRC-made goods), but if the US company buys the bits from elsewhere - surely they should do enough by way of quality control to ensure they're not assembling a load of crap & trying to sell it?

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#8
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 7:17 PM

No - all that seems to count is the sale, not the product.

I'm even seeing the same trends in professional engineering equipment. It used to be that if you bought a Tektronics oscilloscope or analyzer it would last forever - the only reason you replaced it was that the newer models were better and faster. We bought 10 Tek scopes last year, three have broken already. Yesterday we took a brand new Thermotron oven apart to find out why it was dead. We never found out why, but when we put it back together it worked.

The problem is not specific to any country - it's only in those companies where manufacturing is managed by guys with MBAs.

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#9
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 7:26 PM

Bingo.

Pride in craftsmanship is lost to the almighty dollar.

i design and build high dollar quality product but its damn hard to pay the bills

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#84
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 8:07 AM

It has been said that the health of a nations businesses is inversely proportional to the number of MBA's.

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#95
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 6:09 PM

No, because that costs money too. Take a very small sample, test it, and if it passes, cross your fingers and hope for the best.

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#96
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 6:28 PM

Walmart has a large source testing presence in China to get the makers to carefully test and use good components. Corruption is such a part of business there that companies bribe the inspectors so it is hard for Walmart to enforce standards. Here is one thing they are trying to solve the problem.

http://walmartstores.com/FactsNews/NewsRoom/8437.aspx

recall, the chinese dairies added melamine to milk to fool the protein assays, and sickened babies. They added melamine to pet food for the same reason....to meet protein assays, and killed an enormous number of pets.

They do not think there is anything wrong with this. They steal all manner of secrets/patents/copyrights and ignore protests. They have active cyber forces trying to steal whatever they can online.

Unlike the USSR, which broke down and collapsed, China will not do that because we buy too much from them, along with the rest of the world. In time China will completely dominate the world, economically as well as militarily. If the muslims bother them, they will kill them, as they do with the Uighirs.

This is an intractable problem

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#10

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 10:18 PM

I do not believe Black and Decker is made in the US any longer. Years ago, this was my brand of choice for power tools. Today, one gets about 10 holes from a Black and Decker drill before it breaks. One can usually return it to Black and Decker to get a replacement for drilling another 10 holes. I no longer buy Black and Decker anything. Dewalt actually seems to be a better product, but i have switched to buying no-brand Chinese made power tools- I can drill more holes per dollar, and throw the damned thing away when it wears out without a guilty conscience.

I have bemoaned the decline of once-favorite brands over the years- Hewlett Packard, Fluke, Motorola, Westinghouse, GE, most American auto brands (few, if any, still made from american parts), many others. I was not aware that Tektronics had gone the same way, but am not surprised. I have reached the point where I will not pay for any brand that I once considered a mark of quality...If I am going to get cheap products, I want to pay a cheap price. The problem is, quality no longer seems to be available at any price...

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#15
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 11:09 PM

rant/

One of the pernicious things we face is the law of unintended consequences.

We think the organization of labor, and their receiving 2-3% wage increases every year as well as a COLA, or cost of living allowance of another 2-3% (varies with inflation, of course), This pair, which we will average at 5% in total will result in a doubling of wages every 14 years. The minimum wage and non unionized workers wages are at about 2.5%(more or less), which doubles every 28 years.

In our foolishness, we feel this is a good thing. As we can see, it allowed the autoworkers to drive up their wages to $85 per hour(all in), and unintended consequence is the loss of almost 90% of the autoworkers jobs to both automation and offshore suppliers. Offshore suppliers were, for a long time, kept at bay by the freight and shipping barrier, It cost a lot to ship a car and took a while to load it. Of course, in time specialized fast loading car carriers were made that also went quickly, so the freight barrier was defeated and imports flooded in.

We will be in this position until the Chinese worker is paid the same as the US workers. Why then import at all. China resists exchange rate excursions that will move their currency and the US$ closer together. They know what side their bread is buttered.

Of course, long before this the Chinese monolith will come to dominate global manufacturing with quality goods of Chinese manufacture quickly driving out the low grade good from Taiwan and even from China.

The US can yap about intellectual property earnings, and watch them fade as world taste shifts and patents expire. New Chinese scholars and research institutes will creat new items and new patents and they will get counter earnings from licences or forbid manufacture and insist on making it in China.

We have to stop our kids from feeling that sports are a path to greatness. Sure some guys make millions, most fail. Same with music. I am amazed at the enormous number of failed sport and music kids, who let their chance of college pass them by for their sport/music and now are so burdened them can only get low end jobs.

We have to make people like Hawking and Einstein idolized to a far higher degree so large numbers of people are streamed into all manner of sciences. We need far more doctors. As it is now, the AMA restricts to medical school student spaces. They do this to avoid price competition amongst doctors. They also bar fully qualified MDs from various countries, under the guise of maintaining standards, when it is really maintaining wages to doctors.

Obama must initiate a process to double MD graduated over the next 5-6 years.

/rant

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#126
In reply to #15

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/19/2010 2:08 PM

I understand your argument about organized labor and COLA, but I think your take on this issue is a bit one-sided. At least in part, the reason unions push for COLA is because the cost of living increases (almost) every year. Only a small and shrinking portion of the labor force in the US is organized, and the increased wages is only a small part of the problem. The big parts are the mushrooming costs of financial services,housing and medical care. A skilled Chinese engineer makes about $9,000.00 per year. In the US this wouldn't cover a year's health insurance premiums. It would barely cover a year's rent on a modest home. If you have run up $30K or so of credit card debt it will barely pay the interest and minimum payments. We have little if any leverage over the Chinese, so hoping they will adjust exchange rates to help us out is a foolish waste of energy.

There are a few of things we can do: we can begin to adjust our cost of living to be more in line with our productivity, we can improve our education system, and we can try to take our government back from the corrupt 'business' sectors that have our elected officials by the short hairs.

(1) Getting a grip on our cost of living will be very difficult, because the status quo is still extremely profitable for a very small number of people. Whether by design or by accident, we have been following policies that greatly concentrate wealth in fewer and fewer hands. I would argue that as we do this we move inevitably toward establishing a class of people with literally 'more money than brains'. These MBA and Wall Street types don't know or care how to make power tools or much of anything else. What they do know how to do is to make money by running good businesses into the ground by purchasing established brand names, cutting jobs and using inferior parts, processes and materials.

Why do houses cost so much? Partly because of labor and material costs, partly because of higher permit fees, but mostly because some people with too much cash and too little imagination saw a way to make piles of money by bidding up prices. Economics teaches that the prices of things will increase if supply is scarce. But what it also teaches is even when the supply is not limited, the price can increase if the price of money is too low. We need to seriously rethink our belief that housing is a source of wealth - a house is a place to live while you earn wealth by actually working. For many people in their productive years, owning your own home is a trap, especially when you need to relocate to find work, only to find that you owe more than the house is worth. The dream of home ownership is emotionally powerful, and offers great security for folks who are retired or approaching retirement. But while tying up assets in non-productive stranded costs is wildly popular, it is not sound long term policy. Home prices will need to drop considerably from their currently depressed levels just to bring housing costs in line with our currently inflated wage levels. Those of us who own their homes will find this a tough pill to swallow.

(2) Why are medical costs so high? Partly due as you say to the engineered shortage of doctors and nurses, partly due to advances in medical technology (one of the few areas where the US is still competitive), but largely due to the vast number of people who make a living from health care without actually providing any: the armies of auditors, clerks, accountants, and lawyers who work for the insurance industries and care providers, who fight over money, and keep a big chunk of it themselves for their trouble. Like the dream of owning your home, the desire for long and healthy life, and a fear of sickness and death is universal. The MBAs and Wall Street types understand these hopes and fears, an use them to manipulate the public, for a fee of course.

(3) Why is our education system failing us? It's always fashionable to bemoan the current state of our schools, but the fact is our schools have sucked for so long that the people making the decisions (teachers, administrators, parents, and politicians) are for the most part products of this failing system. As you say, we need more doctors. We also need more scientists, engineers, teachers, and mathematicians. We don't need more lawyers, MBAs, or social 'scientists'. To his credit, Mr. Obama sees this problem and speaks out on the subject often. Whether he can turn those thoughts and words into actions is an open question, because we will need this decrepit school system to deliver the final product. There is some good news on this front. Enrollment in medical, science, engineering, and math classes is up. It remains to be seen if these new students can rise above the TV - sports - rock star - celebrity - video game - junk science - crud culture - get rich quick environment that we have created for them.

(4) Our financial 'services' industry is far to large and top heavy for the needs of our economy. Our tax laws strongly favor borrowing over saving (interest is generally tax deductible, saving to buy new equipment is generally not), so if you want to expand your business you go to the bank. The result of this is that the banks get to take a bite out of every apple we grow. There are legitimate advantages to outside capital in business, but our current financial industry is far out of proportion to these needs, and is in fact not even remotely interested in providing capital for business.

(To some extent I guess you could argue that along with medical technology, financial gamesmanship is one of the few areas where the US is still competitive, so you could say that finance has become a private sector make-work welfare program for bright ambitious but unimaginative people who might otherwise not be able to find work.)

(5) So where do all these piles of money from health care, real estate and banking end up? Well a big chunk of it goes to buy our government, so they will enact (or block) legislation in a way that perpetuates these scams. The 'Tea Party' types are a reaction against this, but in my opinion they are barking up the wrong tree. As I see it they believe that the 'government' is the problem. They think that if government would just stop meddling in the affairs of business, and deregulate, that our problems would be solved. Rather than solving the problems, my worry is that this will lead to the further entrenchment of those non-productive businesses that feed off the public and sap the strength of real industry. My guess is that this is intentional. It is no coincidence that conservative operators like Dick Armey who have worked so tirelessly at creating this economic disaster, have either instigated or attached themselves to (like barnacles) this movement. So while I admire the energy and motivation of the 'tea baggers', I think the most likely outcome of their efforts will be to further cement the death grip of these parasitic businesses over 'our' government. We should therefore expect the deluge of faulty products that look just like power tools to continue. Like the Chinese, the bankers don't care if the tool stops working, as long as the check has cleared.

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#260
In reply to #126

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

08/22/2011 9:23 AM

Rem Acu Tetigisti

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#17
In reply to #10

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 11:27 PM

"... once-favorite brands over the years- Hewlett Packard, Fluke, Motorola, Westinghouse, GE, ..."

In September I bought Fluke's top-of-the-line DMM, the Fluke 287. It was fraught with bugs.

Here are three:

1. The Duty-Cycle Bug

The 287 is able to display various related measurements while, say, in the AC Volts setting. Measurements like frequency and duty cycle, for instance, along with voltage. But if you change ranges (say, from 0-5V to 0-50V), it grossly miscalculates the duty cycle from there on out.

Example: I was getting the strangest results from a circuit I had prototyped until I realized the bizarre values I was measuring were entirely the 287's doing. And it became plainly obvious once I connected my (old) Tektronix scope up to the circuit to see what was actually going on.

At one point my scope showed the duty cycle at 47% - well within my expectations - whilst the 287 claimed it was 98%. And, just to see what would happen, I bumped the actual duty cycle up to around 55%. The 287 OL'd, which brings me to:

Q: How in Bog's Name can you overload a duty-cycle measurement?

A: If you can, it's gotta be a Fluke.

-

2. The DC-Volts-Range Bug

The lowest DC Volts range is completely inaccurate. Period.

-

3. The Sleeping-Menu-Buttons Bug

The 287 often gets "stuck" and fails to recognize that its menu buttons are being pressed. The workaround is to turn the main knob one click and then back again. This 'wakes up' the menu buttons (and trashes any stored relative-measurement reference values you may have painstakingly measured earlier).

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#18
In reply to #10

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 11:48 PM
concur from my post #

5

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#11

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 10:31 PM

Several years ago I bought a Black and Decker "weed wacker". I worked well for about 15 minutes. After many rounds of putting back on the parts that fell off I finally was not able to fix it anymore. Since I paid about $80 for it I kept it as a "future home brew redesign" project. After a few years of it sitting in the corner I heard that there were so many complaints AND INJURIES that a free repair kit was offered. I got one. I wish I kept all the paperwork. The kit was "MADE IN USA" but 100% of the items inside it were "MADE IN CHINA". I don't know what was worse, paying $80 for junk or having them being able to distribute "MADE IN USA" kits where all they did was bring over Chinese parts in boxes and drop the parts into a plastic bag in the US.

I'm not 100% against imported products, but if something is 100% imported then it should say so.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 10:35 PM

I do believe Black and Decker (at least, those B & D products available in Panama) are all pure Chinese...

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 10:44 PM

On a lighter note, I have an old, good-quality wok that was Made in the U.S.A.

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#43
In reply to #13

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 8:45 AM

I still have my mom's Revereware copper bottomed pots - they are at least as old as I am. And made in the USA (of the 1950s).

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#143
In reply to #43

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/20/2010 12:48 AM

Ah, but a wok is a Chinese utensil. Get it? Oh never mind.

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#14

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 11:08 PM

In reality, the reason places like Lowe's or K-Mart or Do-It Center or any of these other outlets sell inferior quality products is because consumers will buy them. Over the years, I have know far more consumers that bought by brand name rather than quality- not only for tools, but for virtually everything from food to clothing to soap. I have never been able to figure out how imprinting "Tommy Hilfiger" or "Amy Vanderbuilt" on an article of clothing made it any more valuable than the same item produced on the same production line without the special label.

It is obvious to me that there is a significant difference in quality between, say, a Black and Decker and a Makita power drill. Of course the Makita is 3 to 5 times more costly than the B & D. I will pay that extra, if I can perceive the quality difference (and, of course, if I happen to have the funds available!). I know too many people who just assume that, Black and Decker being a better-known name, it must be a better product.

I have also known way too many people that, although burned for buying bad quality from a manufacturer, CONTINUE buying the same poor quality product, just because they are familiar with the brand name. I do not understand the root psychology behind this...

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#44
In reply to #14

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 8:48 AM

I bought Tommy Hilfiger first because I liked the style and later because I noticed how high the quality was. I have shirts that are five or ten years old and still have all the buttons. That's unheard of these days.

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#46
In reply to #44

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 9:25 AM

I have shirts that are five or ten years old and still have all the buttons. That's unheard of these days.

When I had my fabrication/design shop, I was reminiscing with my engineer and some of the office help about the same company where we had worked about 10 years prior, looking at the pictures, we comment look on how much hair I had back then, Him how thin he was....we were laughing.

Then I noticed I was wearing the same green print polo shirt (one of my favorites) that I was wearing in the picture.... more faded but definitely the same polo shirt. THAT took a while to live that down. My only defense, I knew how to wash clothes.

One of my secretary could not believe it was the same shirt........I like to think she was impressed........NOT. but at least we all got a laugh out of it.

I did not know 10 years goes by so quick. And now I have to buy jeans or new shirts every 6 months now.

p911

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#16

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 11:26 PM

Any one want to buy an old all metal craftsman drill?

the thing must way 6 pounds or so 1/4 chuck & only goes forward

I don't know if milwaukee tools are still made in the US, but I've got a 15 year old hole shooter that was dropped off the top of 10 foot ladders more than once, had to put a new cord on it after one of my co workers chopped it 1/2 with a welding gas tank. The boss told me to throw it away, he didn't want the potential liability of a replacement cord. I haven't seen any bad milwaukee corded tools.

You are spinning the pipe cutter the wrong way. I can't remember if the wheel should lead or lag

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#19
In reply to #16

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 11:54 PM
We had what was called a Blackhawk Dirill motor, it was 1/2" dam thing was over 30 years old, and they were abussive years. We used it as a power sourse to power a winch to rise the silo unloaders on the farm.

Unfortunately when our barn burnt down back in 1980, it was still connected to the winch on the silo when we rised the unloader the week before....RIP

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#20
In reply to #16

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/15/2010 11:58 PM
Didn't craftsman sell out their manufacturing plants in the USA and had them made overseas?, where Home Depot bought the old craftsman domestic factory's and started manufacturing Husky brand Tools
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#21
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 12:01 AM

Phoenix911-

Just curious...Why are you drawing borders around your posts these days?

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#23
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 12:07 AM

Phoenix911 owns a billboard company and sometimes brings his work home with him?

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#25
In reply to #23

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 12:28 AM
ha!!!! .......I mean thats not funny
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#26
In reply to #23

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 12:31 AM
*

ADVERTISING SPACE FOR RENT

*

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#24
In reply to #21

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 12:26 AM
I pulled an old computer 12 + years old out of the closet today......(no my computer's not gay) and power it to the internet. because my girlfriend wants to use the other one to play solitary and cribbage.

And the borders just come on.........bugs me.

I hope it just goes away. If not I'll post a thread.

ideas for fixes are welcome

p9111

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#27
In reply to #24

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 12:44 AM

I'm not sure you want to "fix" it- you may have started a new fad. Now, if we could get decorated borders, flowers and cute little critters and such...

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#34
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 4:50 AM

I saw a squirrel running around here somewhere.......

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#28
In reply to #24

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 1:56 AM

You have the following code in your message text that is absent in others. (I also see that you have a padded cell with a table and close neighbors.)

<div><table border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="0">

<tbody><tr><td>
I pulled an old computer 12 + years old out of the closet today......(no my computer's not gay) and power it to the internet. because my girlfriend wants to use the other one to play solitary and cribbage.
<p>And the borders just come on.........bugs me.</p>


<p>I hope it just goes away. If not I'll post a thread.</p>


<p>ideas for fixes are welcome</p>

<p>p9111</p></td></tr&gt;
</tbody></table></div>

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#31
In reply to #28

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 4:48 AM

great now where is that code coming from..........yah they let me out of that padded cell now and again, untill they get too many complants about me .........but then they have to catch me first.

thanks I'll look into it.

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#33
In reply to #28

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 4:49 AM
More to the point - how did it get there?
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#35
In reply to #33

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 4:51 AM

tag, your it......

hey..... give it back

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#36
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 4:55 AM
Cost ya!
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#37
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 4:57 AM

you make me feel like an american on vacation in france.....

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#22
In reply to #16

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 12:05 AM

"You are spinning the pipe cutter the wrong way."

It makes no difference which way you spin this particular pipe cutter. It's that bad.

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#59
In reply to #16

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 2:57 PM

The wheel lags and Milwaukee in name but Ryobi is parent.

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#29

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 2:38 AM

lAlthough your aample size is very limited, and you have not ruled out madein-America as being coincidental rather than causal (all your purchases were also packaged in cardboard and plastic?, you bought all these from a retailer with a very high ceiling?, you paid for all these items an amount denoted in US dollars? Right?) and you certainly have some confirmation bias.....I strongly believe you are right on track. Good news. The cause of the problem you have correctly identified is known.

All these problems can be traced back to....
...
(wait for it)....
.....
...
...The US tax system.

(no really)
Stay with me for a moment.

The decline (historical and continuing) in quality of Made-in-America products can be attributed largely to the dynamics of the US tax system specifically when exposed to increased global competition.

The majority (per dollar or equivolent) of all business is transacted in the US The majority of that iis made up of consumer transactions. The majority of consumers give large preference to price advamtage for similar featured items, since quality claims are not reliable and brands are no longer consistent, These factor put huge priicing pressure on consumer goods in the US..

Cheaper labor overseas was typically offset in part by better technology and reduced shipping expenses.

As excesses are squeezed out of the system, advantages become more significant. Labor is typically the largest expense for most products/companies. This is where the US tax system comes in...

Because the US tax system gains revenue from employersr for the amount they pay employees (wage taxes), employees the amount they are paid, and Social security and Medicare, these costs are part of the cost of any product built in the US.

This m?eans that the system functionally discourages business in the US, and encourages foreign businesses. The products made in the US must now save money whever else available.

Why build/employ/conduct busine

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#93
In reply to #29

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 12:17 PM

Aurizon, Benbenben & Rhabe

Are all hitting on the root [who around here doesn't love failure analysis]

The tax systems will encourage whatever behaviour.

The US was founded in response to trade & tax weirdness.

There is nothing wrong with promoting local & regional manufacturing...

multinational corporations are the main beneficiaries of what is being called free trade.

A combination of rising energy [transportation costs] prices, value added & consumption taxes could equalize the situation.

Which then leads to the equally thorny, responsible utilization of the funds.

Somehow government bureaucracy missed the point of the revolution in information technology & has increased middle management [justifying their own existence] instead of streamlining operations & reducing costs.

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#94
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 1:07 PM

Wide disparity in wages of people who do similar tasks is the worst aspect of trade unions.

The complexity of a UAW job at $85/hour all in, how does that compare to a supermarket stocker who gets about $12/hour all in.

Since all UAW tasks have been destructured to be done by a fresh hire off the street in a week or less, I call them similar.

Skilled machinists are only used in autofactories to set up the robots etc.

The stocker can not buy the cars made by the UAW men. They must use used cars, bikes, shank's mare or public transit.

A key to Japanese success is the way they have avoided these wide disparities. The Japanese unions will not sign a contract that is bad for the company, so Japan works as a unit factory.

Japanese will not buy USA cars, it is bad for Japan. US workers are not like that = zero loyalty = zero pride.

I think the USA will have a long and slow period of stagflation. Canada will do better, we still pump a huge amount of $$ out of the ground and that is driving the C$ higher every year. Soon it will be above the USA$

I also feel we need a maximum wage, say 3x the minimum wage.

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#97
In reply to #94

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 6:33 PM

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#

81
In reply to #70
Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's 01/16/2010 10:42 PM

Thanks.

Btw, Lowe's Companies' CEO, Robert Niblock, apparently isn't very well liked in some circles. One reason: in 2008 Niblock's salary for that year increased by 11% even while Lowe's Companies' revenue dropped by 22%. His total income for 2008 (salary + options + etc.) was over six million bucks.

Is this guy worth anywhere near the $3000 per hour he's being paid? How can he be worth a 50-100 times what a manager is?[lowe's isn't nearly as generous as the UAW]

I have generally made 2-4X what the lowest paid in the facility made.

differences of up to 10x could logical in extreme cases. I don't understand how a board of directors justify such gross negligence. All too often such nonsense is considered the price of doing business.

Another basic problem is the granting of legal rights to corporations equal or greater than actual people

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#247
In reply to #97

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/25/2010 12:07 PM

Another basic problem is the granting of legal rights to corporations equal or greater than actual people

Another?? It's prime. I've posted it before... go to gangsofamerica.com and read the book "Gangs of America". The corporation was feared and tethered (and now should be tarred and feathered) in our country's earlier days. Eliminate the "powers" given to corporations and a large part of the mess our country is in probably wouldn't have happened... or at least not in such an irreversible way. It's going to be tough going getting rid of these evil business "entities".

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#30

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 2:53 AM

(continued)...

...why build/employ conduct business in the US when it carries the very high penalty of funding the healthcare, retirement of US citizens, and the whims and aspirations of the US government at every sale....when the same large market can be accessed without carrying this burden by simply not using US workers?

What is the solution?

..

..

The solution is to switch to a consumption based tax. The bill is still paid by the US citizen, but instead of charging this tarrif only on products and services that employ US workers, it is collect on every sale. Check out fairtax.org (i believe).

Benbenben

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#38
In reply to #30

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 4:59 AM

Yes, Yes, Yes!

We will have - sooner or later - find some way to compensate the large difference between wages.

If not: commercial, industrial, economic, humanitarian collapse.

Jared Diamond was good in description of small scale collapse, but if we proceed further the globalisation (without any taxes to lower the consequences of much different payment) then we will decline pretty soon.

We = the Atlantic community including the rest of the World by secondary breakdown.

Same situation was in late Roman empire.

So I would suggest to improve western world quality again and rescue all involved countries including VRC: collect a tax at the frontier proportional (20%) to the difference between actual payment and mean (geometric?) worldwide payment.

At both frontiers to cross!

Collect this too on any money transfers and speculative engagements (oil market and more). This at lower rate of 0.01%?

Divide the thus realised income into two equal parts: one for paying state debts the other one for financing future needs: education.

If we do not succeed in implementing this, then the quality will stay bad, the pile of paper-$$ in VRC will grow despite their attempts to buy anything valuable.

This pile of paper-$$ will be enriched by a lot of paper-€€, all may be worthless pretty soon!

So to come back to craftsman's quality we will need this or go down with our wages a factor of 3!

The problems recognised by the above posters (in the US) are nearly as severe existing all over Europe too!

A scrap-quality but new screwdriver will cost 0.2 € (near 0.3$) the best available industrial quality will cost 20€ (Belzer, Hazet...)

Same with Bosch: the green-housing machines are good but much inferior to the blue- housing machines and still the competing FEIN are much better but much more expensive.

If you count the time and the trouble, then - I guess - it is best to buy one of the best ones.

As this will over-stress everybody's budget, I changed my habits to buy used stuff of minimum good quality:

FLUKE 27 from US military, HP power supplies from German military surplus, Makita and others from local flea-market, if there not available then looking at Helmut-Singer.de, lasermotion.com and Helmut-Heller.de

RHABE

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#32

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 4:48 AM

Taxes and cheap foriegn workers are part uv the money problem. Its really unavoidable. The number 1 parameter for most people iz price, so whoever can make & sell the product cheaper winz, even if they are making junk.

A big problem with newly invented products is that the money people decide how much it has to cost before the manufacturing design begins, so the product is often doomed to be crap before it even gets to the drawing board.

I got a flattening garden hoze reel a few yirz ago and the reel was so flimzy that it woud warp and bind when you tried to rewind it. It seemz They decided that keeping it under 20 bucks was more important than it actually working.

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#39

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 7:40 AM

I just bought three board lengths of Douglas Fir. These trees grow in the upper NW of the US and Canada. Closer inspection revealed that one board had markings on it indicating Chinese origin. Douglas Fir does not grow in China.

Can somebody explain to me how a tree cut in the Pacific NW, gets milled in China and then gets sent back to Ontario (of all places) still manages to be cheaper than our local sawmill can do.........? I don't get it.

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#41
In reply to #39

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 8:14 AM

are we (USA/Canada) logging for foreign markets and then buying back value added.

its hard to believe that.

Hell import/export inspections just for building shipping crate the wood has to be certified and stamped as such. (for beetles and other insects)

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#45
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 8:51 AM

There has been a huge beetle kill of various trees in the NW. This leaves a huge stock of dead standing trees. These are being cut down and since there is more than can be used domestically, there are exports. There are some stain problems from the fungus, but the wood is otherwise OK.

If not cut, they would rot/fall en situ = a waste

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#47
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 9:58 AM

What you say is true except that Douglas Fir (and cedar) have not been affected by the mountain pine beetle. There is another type that does infest Douglas Fir but it has shown no unusual increase from the norm. Compared with the pine and spruce infestations certain Douglas Fir areas have shown a decrease in infestation eg the Kootenay ....and a basal increase in younger trees.

Having said that I also purchased some stained pine flooring milled in BC (the stain is grey) and stained it grey/green using aniline stains. Looks not too bad.

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#88
In reply to #39

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 9:27 AM

I would be willing to bet the board never left Canada....that the lumbermill is now owned by a Chinese consortium. We in Canada have been selling our natural resources as fast as we can....

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#90
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 10:48 AM

"have been selling our natural resources as fast as we can...."

This is a world wide problem.

If we would collect sufficient tax, then this problem would be much smaller.

So this is a result of globalisation. Neither politicians nor big companies want to see the consequences.

The Chinese get $$s for their products - ok.

The dollars are converted into US-Governments paper-$$s.

Who wants to pile paper-$$s to immense piles - nobody.

So the Chinese governments tries to buy something that will be valuable for the next 10, 50, 150 years.

Everybody with a huge pile of $$s would do so.

So not they but our wrong globalisation dogmas are to blame!

Collect sufficient tax and the problem will vanish.

Don't collect sufficient tax and the wealth and the skill will be gone in a few more years.

Wait and see or protest and act!

RHABE

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#165
In reply to #90

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/20/2010 3:04 PM

If we would collect sufficient tax, then this problem would be much smaller.

Taxation for the sake of taxation, there has to be controls on it. for one they have to start spending the tax dollars more intelligently.

As history shows, nothing wrong with running a deficit as long as its reasonable, but Christ. why throw more green backs on the fire.

p911

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#92
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 11:10 AM

That thought crossed my mind. However, I couldn't find any grade stamp. Black market timber in Canada? Now there's switch.

re nat resources.....Alberta tar sands and BC nat resources have been squandered yes......Nfld and Labrador are playing it smart and holding out for the long haul (or rather, the short haul to it's own smelting operations re Veseys Bay and oil royalties).

Alberta is an environmental catastrophe in the making. BC govt changes its policy everytime the dime drops.

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#157
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/20/2010 12:01 PM

Even more likely.....actually, that lumbermill is floating outside the territorial waters. And using a gasifier to fuel itself.

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#261
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

08/22/2011 10:03 AM

Japan used to excavate an iron ore rich mountain range (Kudremukh) in India, ship it to Japan, convert it to steel, ship steel back to India and sell it cheaper than Indian made steel. India has "cheap" labour and steel is 8-10 times heavier than wood.

HOW?

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#48

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 10:17 AM

My wife bought a self propelled lawn mower from Lowes that had the Troy Bilt label on it. It failed after two cuttings. We took it back and the model we had was sold out, so we upgraded and paid the extra money for a more expensive model we could not justify at the first purchase. This one went bad as well. The girl at the service desk wrote up the return and gave us our money back and we were prepared to continue shopping. Then a manager showed up. He rolled the machine outside to start it and finally got it to run and of course the problem with the drive train would not recreate itself on the flat pavement and tried to shame us into keeping it. At that point we were not at all happy with the mower and just wanted our money back. As we parted ways, I could hear him tell the teller that it was near the end of the cutting season and we had just scammed the system to use the mower for free.

The mower's cost was about $400 . We went to a store that sells machines that are produced by the manufacturers that the label represents and now have a $1200 Honda self propelled that appears will last us 30+ cutting seasons.

We have found out that Lowes has made deals with big labels like Troy Bilt and JennAire (oh yeah! , we bought a gas grill with a JennAire name plate as well that I am continually fixing) to supply cheaper made in China versions of their products. Try to get a John Deere dealer to say something good about one with a Lowes model number.

The items you thought were American made may have been made eleswhere. I know from experience that the Lowes brand of Troy Built and JennAire are made in China. I am not sure where the label was made. When looking for a tractor, the fact I could not cross reference any Lowes brand John Deere model number to a real John Deere tractor made me try harder to find the differences. Thinner steel was among the differences. I am sure the comments by the John Deer dealer were seasoned with contempt for the cheaper competition, but any bad experience from the knock off version would hurt his business as well. satiaction

We definitely learned our lesson and will never buy a "big box store" machine or appliance. I am now wondering if the tool lines are similarly negotiated and produced. We have not been back to Lowes since (2 years and counting) and have taken our lumber and hardware business to Home Depot.

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 10:39 AM

At that point we were not at all happy with the mower and just wanted our money back. As we parted ways, I could hear him tell the teller that it was near the end of the cutting season and we had just scammed the system to use the mower for free.

If I would have heard that I would have made a 180 right back at his face. I am sorry to say by non-action, your are just as guilty as that piece of crap manager insinuating and questioning your integrity. Integrity does not come easy, and the only people that knows the price of honesty and intregrity are the ones that actually has it. How could you do that, just walk away?

We had purchase an older used John Deere 320. not the brands they now sell at Walmart. It was 5 years old when we bought it 5 years ago., should last another 20 years at least......at least.

pick-up a new poulan push to get under the bushes, yah that a consumable....but love that Honda engine.

p911

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 11:19 AM

I tend to be choosy when picking which fight to get into. I was all ready mad and the comments by a stupid Lowes manager was not worth the hassle. We had our money and other options are available for shopping.

I don't ever intend to go back.He's probably been promoted to head of customer relations for Lowes by now.

Maybe there would have been some immediate satisfaction. The look of disgust at his comment by the teller was comforting, but I still tend to hold a grudge along time.

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#54
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 1:28 PM

That has happen to me, I was so surprise I got dumbfounded not believing what I just heard under slightly different circumstance where the service manager did say things simuliar......and actually not believing what I heard, walked away, Until it sank in later.

Yes, the teller knew what was the right thing. And the manager was a poor managing yes man.

p911

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#56
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 1:33 PM

In my case the term might be " delayed intelligence"

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#57
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 1:34 PM

hah....how bout prudent

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#103
In reply to #48

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/18/2010 1:03 PM

I have some insight on the Lowe's issue and I am sure Home Depot and other major retailers use the same practice. I used to work for a US manufacturing company that made water proof twist on wire connectors. Our products were sold in the Lowe's store. About every four years, Lowes rotates their stock and vendors. This is how they can force manufacturers like Troy Bilt and JennAire to give them cheap products. In order for a manufacturer to occupy space on a Lowe's shelf they basically have to pay for it. The company I was working for was bidding against a few other manufacturers to get the same products in the Lowe's store. We had to bend over backwards to get the product labels, the product packaging, and quantities just exactly the way that Lowe's wanted them and at a ridiculously reduced cost. Here is the kicker, in order to replace Lowe's existing product of our competitor that was already on the shelves and in their warehouse, we had to buy out Lowe's remaining stock of our competitor's product that they were no longer going to sell. And we had to buy back our own products that they had in stock and repackage them in the new packages. This is how Lowe's makes their money. They make it from the consumer when they mark up the product 100% or more and they make money from their own vendors. So, this is another reason why it is so hard for any manufacturer to make it in America is because of the greed of the retailers.

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#106
In reply to #103

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/18/2010 5:20 PM

I have to give you a GA.

HEADS UP AMERICA!!!

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#51

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 11:45 AM

Hi europium,

Black & Decker has always been crap. So why not buy something better like Craftsman? I bought a lot of stuff from Montgomery Wards before they folded. They were good quality for the most part. Fluke has never been known for reliability either. I have some Hewlett-Packard stuff that is 40 years old and still works.

-S

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#66
In reply to #51

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 7:13 PM

Though the hand tools from sears are OK

I've never had much luck with sears power tools. I've melted more than one sears plastic case drill, seem to be overpriced [undervalued] quality on a level with skil.

The gas fired stuff is about the same quality as murray, which may still be made in Cleveland.

craftman toolboxes got very thin over the years & would stress crack at the corners

My sister had a B/D electric mower that broke in 1/2 the 2nd time she used it a couple of years ago. Might as well go to harbor freight, if your going to buy B/D, only good for one job or so.

Porter cable is ok, will take a fair amount of abuse.

I played with a good [rigid] & no name pipe cutters this afternoon. 3/4pvc because it's soft. The ridgid only worked if the wheel lead...the cheapie lag? cutting 3/8ths copper either one either way

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#69
In reply to #66

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 7:43 PM

Though the hand tools from sears are OK

There are Sears tools (lower quality and then there are Craftsman Tools, big difference. But I did buy a set of box end offset Sears wrenches because Sears at the time were out of stock of Craftsman offset. I still have them, but only because of the light usage.

p911

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#74
In reply to #69

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 9:34 PM

Oh picky, picky

craftsman/sears difference not withstanding,

the power tools have been crap since the 80's for sure

MTD/murry is ok low end gas powered stuff, is fine for intermmitent use. I recently fixed a 2002 snow blower, which was made in cleveland. For some reason it stopped after sucking up a log. Fixing it must have been good luck, the owner who lives at 6000feet haven't had to use it so far this winter. Climate change has been good this year

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#77
In reply to #74

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 11:33 PM

more so price difference between the two

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#83
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 7:53 AM

Apart from Honda who's making good snowblowers these days?

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#100
In reply to #83

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/18/2010 12:23 AM

Ariens

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#102
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/18/2010 10:04 AM

Brillion Wisconsin.....at least HQ and main fabrications plant

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#105
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/18/2010 5:03 PM
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#76
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 10:36 PM

I've had, still hav, good black & Decker drillz.

Craftsman duznt make anything. Its just a label. Usually good stuff, but I've gotten sum junk frum them.

My best drill iz a 3/8 Makita VSR rite angle cordless. I think Milwaukee iz the best quality, but I think their hand drillz hav way too much tork.

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#79
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 11:35 PM

fyi,

Kennedy manufacturers Craftsman Tool boxes

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#80
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 11:46 PM

Of course if you leave it parked in the corner of the garage it's probably fine

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#85
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 8:22 AM

I have a picture of one for over 30 years......never a problem.

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#98
In reply to #51

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 8:33 PM

StandardsGuy- your 40 year old HP equipment was manufactured in the US by a company that understood not only quality, but customer support as well. This is not the Hewlett Packard Computer Company of today. The company Hewlett and Packard founded in their garage no longer exists...

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#99
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Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/17/2010 10:47 PM

"The company Hewlett and Packard founded in their garage no longer exists..."

I agree wholeheartedly.

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#52

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 12:20 PM

Sad.

B&D products here in Germany have to have at least a 2 year warranty, I personally find them better than Bosch. Bosch mains drills have gearbox failures if you "REALLY" use the drill a lot, like building a house....seen this many times here.....

AEG make the best mains drills here, but very expensive. Last forever....

I only had one bad B&D tool, replaced after 6 months, and that was a jig saw that the bottom plate was made too weak and the first time the saw snagged, the bottom plate boke too.....

Matsushita (I think thats the name) and AEG products are expensive but very good, I do not personally have any, too expensive for me for home use. If I needed the tools for a business, only these two makes would be acceptable for me personally..... provided they made what I needed of course.......!

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#53

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 12:27 PM

Everyone responding to this thread keeps saying "my B&D drill I bought 30 years ago" or whatever other product, keeps forgetting all consumer goods made today cannot be compared to goods made 30 or more years ago. There was a time when product development meant an improvement in some way over the previous model. Today, it now means making it at less cost, even if quality has to suffer. I have tools that are more than 50 years old and although they don't have all the bells and whistles of the new stuff, I treasure them because they are reliable. Back then, a company didn't have to claim a "lifetime" guarantee. They didn't need it because they were built to last. I know those tools will still be around long after I have passed on.

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#55
In reply to #53

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 1:32 PM

Craftsman hand tools have a lifetime warranty, and Sears do honor it.

I never had a problem, even when you break a cresent wrench, screwdriver tip.

I can't say much other positive about Sears though.

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#58

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 1:42 PM

I have learned, through varioius resources, that all of the major retail chains, particularly Lowe's and Home Depot, have negotiated proprietary agreements with all of their suppliers to provide a line of products that is substandard to typical commercial product lines. I once had a long-time relationship with a woodworking tool and machinery retailer in another state. I bought many power tools from him because he only carried the best manufacturer's products. One day, I went looking for a certain favorite brand and could not find it on display. When I asked him why he didn't have them, he responded that he was tired of trying to compete with Lowe's and Home Depot for the sale of that brand of tool because many customers would come shopping and then not buy, explaining that they could buy the same tool at L or HD for much less. In frustration, he looked into that allegation, thinking that he was being hammered by the manufacturers, and learned the very fact that I mentioned above. He stated that there were enough differences in the designs and quality that L & HD were probably making more profit from the substandard products than he could make from the professional quality that he always carried. Since he was committed to providing quality tools and machines for a clientele that consisted largely of professional tradesmen and commercial shops, he chose to not try to compete in an 'apples and oranges' situation.

More recently, as I was managing a facility that purchased and installed various appliances in homes, I learned the same lesson. One of the partners, in efforts to identify choices that we should be offering and suggesting that our commercial wholesale suppliers were taking advantage of us, went to both L & HD and prepared a list of appliances that actually did have lower purchase prices for what appeared to be the same spec's. When I did some research to determine the realities, I observed that the model numbers of the products offered by L & HD were, in fact, slightly different from the ones purchased from the wholesaler. When I confronted the wholesaler, I was summarily told that there are both subtle and significant differences in the products offered by L & HD, versus those carried by commercial wholesalers.

Since I have never had any issues resulting from buying any of these products from reputable and established retailers or wholesalers, I would never buy any of them from L & HD no matter how attractive the pricing might seem. I follow the old adage, "You get what you pay for.", and it seems that many posters here have experienced another old adage, "The sour taste of poor quality lasts far longer than the sweet taste of a low price". I could go on and on about other products such as lawn mowers, chain saws, weed whackers, hand tools, etc., but I think you can get the point.

BTW, I have a number of Rockwell, Delta, and Rockwell-Delta power tools, some of which are nearly 50 years old, which are still working very well. I have had to replace some power cords as the rubber gave in to UV and ozone degradation and I have replaced a few trigger switches, but those are the only repairs I have made, and they have been extensively used. At the time when I purchased them, they were the most expensive tools in their categories and I have never been sorry that I chose that route over the less expensive options.

If one is interested in throw-away tools, there is a plethora of them to choose from.

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#60
In reply to #58

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 3:01 PM

I think you are badly mistaken as someone previously posted Black and Decker as far as I know does not make anything in the USA anymore. They had 3 plants in NC and now they have none. I would also ask what gives you the idea that they are made in USA I have seen practically nothing made in USA in the last couple of years. At most I think I might be assembled in USA, and I doubt that Black and Decker has several plants in Mexico.

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#71
In reply to #60

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 8:00 PM

I didn't comment about where they were made, only on the various spec's to which they are made and the resulting quality issues.

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#62
In reply to #58

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 3:26 PM

Doogleass, I am preparing a letter to Lowe's Corporate and I would like to include the substance of your post, above, in the letter. May I do so? I will post the letter here for peer review prior to sending it to LC.

I am also soliciting related experiences from others reading this thread and would like to include those, as well.

-e

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#63
In reply to #62

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 4:11 PM

Yo....guess what

I recently had the opportunity to visit a gigantic warehouse in Toronto where all things pertaining to consumer sales for Loews, Canadian Tire, Home Depot and Rona are kept for distribution. Green Lawnmowers for Canadian Tire are identical to the red lawnmowers for Rona which are identical to the yellow lawnmowers at Loews. However, if one goes to Quebec the yellow Loews lawnmower miraculously becomes green and the green Canadian Tire lawnmower becomes red.

This also holds true for snowblowers even though the names have been changed. Interestingly, some of the engine covers differ slightly in design but on further investigation one notices they are attached through identical mounts on the engines.

I loathe big box shops.

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#64
In reply to #63

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 5:17 PM

Its not uncommon for one monufacture to build for others

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#65
In reply to #64

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 6:10 PM

I know.........but all of them? This is monopolism!

My Craftsman tracked snowblower is in fact a Murray.

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#68
In reply to #65

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 7:40 PM

I was going to mention murray,

My dad had bought a White garden tractor 30 + years ago. at the local Farmers Co'op. When I was sharpening the blades I saw on the axis Murray Corporation

My Girlfreinds Craftsmen push lawnmower is identical (only one step up with traction drive) to my Poulan push lawnmower I bought at Mills Fleet Farm. (Fleet Farm ia Midwest Area farmers supply store here in Wisconsin)

I don't know what to say about that.........shaking my head

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#72
In reply to #68

Re: American-Made Products: A Letter to Lowe's

01/16/2010 8:50 PM

My snowblower is 30 yrs old and still works fine. Mind, I have to make the parts for it these days. Engine is the original cast iron Tecumseh Snow King. I meant to put rings in it twenty years ago but they're still ok.

I dunno about the new stuff. Unless it's pedigree'd forget getting parts for most of it.

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