Is it just me or is everything made today cheap crap? I’m all for saving a buck or two when possible, but are you really saving anything when you buy something cheap that needs to be replaced in no time?
Do you think it possible that we would you be money ahead to spend a little bit more for something that would last longer? But, with some products, there may not even be a higher quality option.
Dollar stores are the very definition of cheap junk. Don’t get me wrong, we frequent these stores simply because of the deals we can get. Particularly for things that are consumable, like paper plates and such, you can get some good deals. And, every once in a while you can find some good books on their shelf that were obviously picked up from an overstock or publisher’s clearance.
All-in-all, the dollar store embodies the concept of cheap consumer goods. They make their living selling the cheapest version of items known to man because they know we’ll be back next time we want a great deal.
Big Box Stores
Big box stores are not much better. While there is usually more selection, for some products, you pretty much only have one or two choices.
For example, my wife and I were looking for some storage solutions for linens and such. We wound up at a major box store retailer, who’s name I’m sure you would know, and found what looked like exactly what we needed.
So we took home a few canvas bags with a clear top panel so you can see what is loaded in them. They were a nice size, and fit both our items and the space where we wanted them to fit. Everything looked great… until.
The first time we got them loaded with linens, and tried to move them, the handle ripped off one, ripping the entire end our of the bag. At least two ripped within the first couple of times of touching these bags.
In this case, there were limited options. Actually, for our space needs, these were the only option that really worked for us. So again, no alternative to the cheap junk.
Sometimes you can get better stuff at a specialty store. I’m sure we could have gotten better storage solutions at a store that specializes in that sort of item, but that isn’t always the case.
I’m sure you’ve been there. You’re in one of the specialty bath stores, and on the shelf is the same item available at WalMart. Then, as you are standing in the checkout line, they have the same items hanging there you can find at the dollar store. But, if you like paying 3-4 times as much for the same cheap junk, that’s your call.
Where has Quality Gone?
I wish I knew. Even the specialty stores have a lot of the same cheap junk as the big box and dollar stores. So where do you go to find real quality?
If you dig, you can find quality items. To be honest, online is going to be the better option in many cases. Highly specialists retailers, both online and in person, can usually get you a higher quality item. It will often take a considerable amount of searching though, so be ready.
Google’s algorithm does not factor in the quality of a physical product when the offer search results. If you are searching for a particular product, be prepared to spend some time digging through several pages of search results, or revising your search.
There are tons of people out there making specialty items of all kinds. If you look, you will find them. And, the best part is, these are real people who will really care about your business. Customer support, to them, is talking to you on the phone and solving your issue, not sending you through some automated phone system only to speak to someone overseas.
I have several friends who make highly specialized niche products, and if you want REAL quality, that’s where you are going to have to look. My friend Eric, of Adams Leather Works is a prime example. Everything is 100% hand made by Eric himself, and of the highest quality you can get. Sure, you are going to pay a premium price for a premium product, but it will be an item that you can hand down to your grand kids.