> TEOTWAWKI Blog: The invasion of cheap crap.



The invasion of cheap crap.

I'm looking for a bookcase at the moment--my survival book collection has grown and needs some room to stretch.

My search, so far, has proven pretty fruitless. I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the overabundance of cheap crap out there. It seems that the only bookcase you can buy at any of the chains is made of cheap laminated particleboard with a cardboard backing. Since when does cardboard belong on furniture?

We haven't hit up Ikea yet, but in my experience, the quality of most of Ikea's stuff is about on par...cheap laminated particle board. Assemble yourself. What's up with that?

Cheap-ass crap furniture everywhere. It sells too, I'm sure, otherwise stores would not carry it. It's sad though--these big box stores and their turd-er-riffic have driven quality, well-made stuff to high end or niche stores. I want a sturdy, quality, attractive bookshelf for under $200...not $800.

You can see this over abundance of crap all over the market. We've become used to cheap, low-quality, quasi-disposable stuff. It's definitely a good thing to have the option--if you want cheap stuff that fills your need for the time being, you can find them by the boatload. But whatever happened to buying things that will last you twenty, thirty years--a lifetime even? It's not just furniture, we're talking tools, clothes, homes, everything. You can certainly find quality stuff on the market, but the vast majority is cheap junk.

Heck, compare modern firearms to those of a few decades back. Today, we have lots of polymer, aluminum guns with lousy finishes. Firearms a few decades back were often works of art; made of finely crafted steel, deep, beautiful bluing and so on. Yes, there were POS guns in the 50s, 60s and 70s too, but just check out S&W and Colt revolvers from those days. 

What's caused this erosion of quality? Price has ruled consumer's buying decisions for a long time--we want to pay the minimum. Wages have been stagnant while our wants have been increasing--more stuff to buy with the same income. And hey, consumerism is rampant; people like to buy new, fashionable stuff regularly. At the same time, manufacturers want to lower their costs and increase their profits--they'll put out the cheapest stuff they can, as long as the crap quality doesn't hurt sales too much.

Will this change any time soon? Maybe, but not because the root causes will change. Rising costs of oil will make shipping the crap more expensive, which will lead to higher sticker prices, which will then make higher-quality, locally produced stuff more attractive. It may take a while for that to kick in though, and altenrative fuels may be able to make up for any dramatic jumps in oil prices. 

You can, of course, diverge from the norm and buy quality over crap. Quality matters most on things like tools, furniture and guns. Things you'll keep around for years and won't become obsolete three months after you've bought it. Yes, you won't be able to buy as much, but then your house won't be so jam-packed with crap, will it?

On another note - can anyone recommend a good bookcase?