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Low quality products modern and ancient

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I have often wondered what type of goods when it comes to quality were produced in the past say.. 2000 -3000 years ago.

I have to admit that I associate low quality products with mass produced goods beginning with industrialization era.

But I find more and more evidence that low quality products are not necessary "invention" of the industrialized era and mass production techniques.


Now Jesus brings up a matter that he touched on in his Sermon on the Mount when he said that his disciples are “the salt of the earth.” (Matthew 5:13) He likely meant that even as literal salt is a preservative, his disciples have a preserving effect on people, protecting them from spiritual and moral decay. Now, as his ministry draws to a close, he says: “Salt, to be sure, is fine. But if the salt loses its strength, with what will it be seasoned?” (Luke 14:34) His listeners know that some salt available then was impure, mixed with earthy matter and thus of little use.


Generally the Roman bread was known for its hardness, due both to poor quality flour (which absorb less water than the best), as to poor quantity and quality of the yeast used (prepared once a year at harvest time with grape juice and dough of bread).  http://www.cerealialudi.org/en/alimentazione/pane-e-panettieri-nellantica-roma/


The sandals worn by the poor were made of woven papyrus or palm while those worn by the rich were made of leather



Point of the topic:

I bought 2 knives and both failed when I tried to cut cheese. (few days after purchase)

Then in contrast I bought shoes (20y ago) and they still going strong!


What products did you buy that reflected poor quality or good quality?


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Products that run out just after the warranty.  That's poor quality!  Electrical goods fail rather punctually in the 13th month since purchase.  On the other hand, my fridge and microwave, bought in 1998, are still going strong.  Ok, there are better models out there which are more energy saving, but hey, they were made to last at least!


My tv just died.  Is it worth getting repairs or just buying another cheap tv.....?

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Way back in the 1060's I knew a brother who fixed typewriters (remember those things) He worked for one of the largest and most respected brands of that day. He was one of their top repairmen. He was approached by the executives of the company to take a promotion. They wanted him in the R&D department. It would have meant almost double his salary.


When he looked further into the job offer here is what he found out as to why they wanted him:

  • because he was familiar with the most common causes of failure
  • he knew how to correct the failures and/or prevent them
  • he was familiar with the way the typewriters were actually used in the field

Seems like good reasons to have such a person in R&D - right?


Wrong ....... they wanted these abilities because they thought he would be a good one to help design their product last just until the warranty period was over and then suffer costly repairs or replacement. They actually told him they wanted him to design them to fail. They wanted him to design planned obsolescence.


He did not take the promotion - he ended up leaving that company.

Edited by Qapla
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Interesting inciteful story, John. I always believed in there being "planned obscelence", but now you've given us proof. Rotten world.


Here is my own observation just from buying things when travelling abroad: There are different levels of quality of clothing sold from China to different parts of the world.. I'll explain. In Italy, I wanted to buy something made there to wear. The Italian clothing industry, though, like the one in Australia, is making their clothing all in China and exporting it back. I was so disappointed!! I wanted 'Made in Italy' on the label, because I could buy 'Made in China' at home. But then I noticed the  Italian Chinese clothing was much better quality than our Australian Chinese imports.  I'm not talking about expensive clothing (I shop budget).


So, better levels of quality are also the result of strategic marketing and exports. Obviously, Australia is viewed as a bit of a dumping ground for less 'discerning' consumer goods. At least legislation prevents wholesale dumping of dangerous goods, unlike in developing countries. Again, rotten world.

Edited by hatcheckgirl
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