Saturday, April 16, 2011

Crap from Abroad

ABC TV News had a campaign earlier this year to show viewers they should be buying more goods made in America. They stripped from one family’s house everything that was made abroad and replaced it with furniture and other goods made in America. They showed how doing this would put more Americans to work.

Canadians also buy too much stuff from overseas. And, as all of us have discovered, much of it is cheap crap.

My wife and I looked for months for a small towel cabinet for our cottage. We needed it to be white and a very specific size. Finally, we found one last week at a big box store. The display model had a broken leg, which I assumed was from having been dropped.

Assembly of such things can be a nightmare. Instructions are poorly done, the engineering sometimes is rough and things never go together as easily as expected.
Don't Buy It
This piece was a nightmare. The English instructions were not too bad. However, one step was missing. The leg broke just like the one at the store. Hairline cracks developed on the glossy enamel paint whenever I went near the thing. The problem was the wood was total crap. What appeared to be solid wood was pieces glued together. The screws were slightly too big and caused the heavily lacquered finish to crack where the pieces were glued. I improvised and got the thing together, somewhat scarred. Wood filler and paint did the rest.

Normally I would have bundled up the pieces and brought them back to the store for a refund. However, I persevered because the piece was not expected to be fine furniture for the living room, and we had not been able to find anything like it in weeks of searching.

The piece was a small towel tower made by Jen Lea Inc. Model number PB40000ZWHF. Imported by Soskin and Gordon. Don’t buy it.

The experience showed me three things:

1. Big store buyers consult only their calculators when bulk buying abroad. They don’t spent one second on quality issues or anything else.
2.  Consumer protection agencies can do little considering the amount of stuff coming in from abroad. Yeah, they catch little toys that contain lead that harms babies, but that’s about it.
3. We buy way too much stuff from overseas and should start looking for more of our goods closer to home.

Yes, we do need to import for balance of trade etc. etc. Yes, there is demand for lower-price stuff that people can afford. But we do need to back off imports, create more jobs here, and demand better quality on goods coming into the country.


  1. Made in Canada is becoming a memory.

  2. Same thing can be said about food. Buying local means more will be produced locally other wise we are dependant on other countries to feed us and that is just plain crazy!