Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday morning gripes with China and autoworkers

May 27, 2009 Addendum

Yesterday, I took out my lawnmower to cut the grass in my backyard. My lawnmower is Canadian made and has given me good service for 20 years. I have only had to tighten the nuts on the wheels and sharpen the blades from time to time. It is an electric model. Unfortunately, I guess its time has come. My grass is very dense and the mower is a basic model and has no height adjustment. Consequently, it was really difficult to push it through the lawn. The motor no longer seems up to the job and the cutting stalled repeatedly. Time for a new mower.

I looked in several retail outlets, not having purchased a mower in two decades I was not up on the latest technology. They ranged in price from a $100 to over $500. For a $100, you got the basic rotary push mower -- I might have been inclined to this, except I do not think it would handle my lawn and my wife would have none of it, since she has to mow the lawn occasionally. I finally settled for a model that cost $450. It is a cordless electric and it carried a well-known American brand name.

Since I wrote the posting below, I made sure to check the place of manufacture. Without exception, every brand, known and no-name, including the one I purchased, was made in China. I hope mine will last through the summer. But the reality is, if you have to mow your lawn in Canada, you have to buy a mower made in China -- there is no other option.

May 26, 2009

Some days you wake up cranky and the first thing that puts you off sets your mood for the day.

I like a cup of tea to start my day. This morning my electric kettle quit and I had to boil the water in a pot on the stove. No big deal. Except this kettle is only a month old. It replaced a kettle that was in use for 6 months before it also expired. The new kettle was cheaper than the old one, but not that much cheaper. In both cases, the label on the bottom of the products said they were made in China.

You know that old saw about the kettle lecturing the pot for being black. Can’t happen. The Chinese kitchen products die before they even have a decent set of fingerprints on them, let alone getting discoloured from use.

In my last home, I had to replace the new clothes washing machine twice in one year. Made in China.

Then my clothes dryer caught fire. Fortunately I was home and able to shut it off before it burned my house down. Dryers are supposed to come with a failsafe thermostat that shuts them off when they get too hot, long before reaching the temperature that melts the insulation on the wiring. My failsafe failed. Made in China.

We paid over $500 for a fancy stainless steel hood over our kitchen stove in our new home. After 6 months, it doesn’t work. I had a repair guy in and he said he couldn’t fix it (he specializes in that brand) and he charged me $75 to tell me that.

Guess what the manufacturer’s label said? No, really, guess. If you said made in China, give yourself a Cuban cigar. At least they are still the real deal.

Western civilization will be over if you ever get a Cubano made in China.

We have gone from a society of “planned obsolescence” to the “disposable age” and have now entered the “made in China” phase. Planned obsolescence was a boomer concept. Disposable was generation X. How do we label this one – maybe the “crap generation?”

I laugh every time I see an advertisement on television flogging what used to be known as brand identity. “Buy this product because you know the name of the company and it stands for quality.” Bullshit. They all make their stuff in China and it’s all crap.

I can’t wait for the North American highways to be flooded with Chinese cars. Watch the ensuing chaos and road deaths.

Speaking of cars, I finally got my tea and started to read the newspaper. It seems General Motors Canada has inked its 3rd renegotiated collective agreement this year with the auto workers' union. The workers voted 86% in favour. GM now has labour costs (leaving aside legacy costs) the equivalent of Toyota Canada, which was a demand made by the government of Canada, the company’s new minority shareholder.

Oh joy! Government made cars. Since the government has been unmasked as buying Canadian flags and Canadian lapel pins from China, I wonder how long it will be before it gets the bright idea of having GM makes its cars in China.

The workers got the message, but, in a way they still don’t get it.

One individual said, “We still fought hard.” No my fuzzy little auto worker friend. The days of “fighting” the company as if it is the enemy is at an end. When you go into survival mode you band together to save the ship from sinking.

Another said that the company was badly managed and the “brass” got off scot free. One definition of badly managed is agreeing to outrageously expensive union demands during collective bargaining. If this assembly line worker meant that management ought to have said “no” much more forcefully in earlier bargaining sessions then perhaps the union ought not to have made such profit draining demands in those same sessions.

As to the brass. Well, in the U.S., Obama fired the company CEO, while you, my friend, get to keep your job.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Geez you are in a crappy mood today. Now who was it that warned you against buying Chinese shit?