Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We, Us, Them , You and Me

Not long ago i read a book Cheap: The High-Cost-Discount-Culture
I'm not sure why, i saw it on the shelf at the library and like most books i pick up I'm drawn to the cover or something.  It's that or something that usually gets me in trouble.
 Anyway, the book was about how companies like Walmart and other Big Box stores are ruining America with cheaply made products, employing cheap labor and on top of that forcing manufacturers (mostly in China, Vietnam, and India) to build these items at the cost THEY want to pay for it. 
For instance, one of the guys named Gunnar at IKEA designs a sleek new chair.  The design spec is sent to a plant in China and is ordered to build it: and make it wood, come in these 3 colors, weigh a certain amount, and we need so many shipped by such and such a date. AND  we are going to pay you you this SET amount for it) - Build it or we will go somewhere else. So most China ends up having to cut down vast forests in protected parts of Russia or other places to meet pricing and shipping deadlines. All this so we can purchase a 20 dollar -kick it to the curb when it breaks (which is sooner than later) Chair.  Essentially a waste in every way you look at it.  Had you purchased a 300 dollar Herman Miller chair..its likely not to break , you wont kick a 300 dollar chair to the curb, and it might even be handed down to someone else to enjoy. How's that for conserve, re-cycle, re-claim.  

I can't afford quality so i went for design instead. I needed a cheap desk chair but wanted something that looked cool. I took a 30 minute drive to our South Florida IKEA, my first time ever. And hey, they didn't seem like such bad people. helpful, friendly, attendants helped direct my Honda into a parking space. It was like a theme park like atmosphere. A theme park of spiffy designed sofas, lighting pendants, chairs, billy book cases, and 3 dollar Swedish meatballs for lunch.

Found my chair (pictured above). You pick it out in the showroom (which i pretend to live in each room) then write down the aisle and bin # on a provided sheet of paper with provided mini pencil, then when you re done - head to the warehouse area and pick it out yourself. It's so hands on. My girl fell in love with the hot pink version of mine so we now sorta match. Yes, they were 20 bucks each. I had to assemble them. Easy. It feels pretty good, rolls around great, swivel action works, and i think they look great too. I bought a few other things that need assembling, that were CHEAP, but look good. and isn't that what this was all about?
Yes. Yes it was.

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