Curio Cabinets, Water Pipes, and Electronics Made in China

PVC pipes - made in China When you see a sticker or tag attached to something you buy and it says “Made in China”, perhaps you should mentally translate it to mean “This could be Garbage”.

Over the years, I’ve owned many things made in China and they just don’t last. One of those items was the first of two curio cabinets I bought. Yes, it was garbage, like most of what I bought that was imported from China. A few things made in China are better than garbage and it makes me wonder why those few things are better than the rest.

My First Curio Cabinet

I bought my first curio cabinet at a Pic ‘N’ Save in Yuma, Arizona in 1985, so my wife could have something to display her favorite figurines. I think I remember it costing $12.00 plus tax.

Pic ‘N’ Save was a retail closeout store, whatever that means, and later changed the name to MacFrugals before being bought out by Big Lots. That bit of information is the reason I don’t buy anything from Big Lots. I won’t even go into the store.

That curio cabinet fell apart just a few months later. It was then that I noticed the “Made in China” sticker hidden between a couple of pieces. I replaced it with a more expensive cabinet, which lasted until we moved. We may have sold it or we may have given it away, I really don’t remember.

Water Pipes

Some of the PVC water pipes being used in the Philippines are imported from China. Maybe all of them, but I don’t know. What I know is that the PVC pipes I used for repairs didn’t fit together as snugly as they should have. I couldn’t use some pipes at all be because the gap was too wide for the solvent to work.

Most of the pipes could be used by wrapping teflon tape around the ends put into joints, but not for water. We used those as drain pipes, where a leak wouldn’t matter much.

Made in China

Years ago, before the 1970s, if something was labeled as “Made in Japan”, it was junk. That changed when the Japanese started making compact cars. Even that was the result of something called Total Quality Management, invented in the United States and taught to Japanese manufacturers (decades before it was initiated in the United States, though it was probably called something else back then).

Today, China is in the same place. Somehow, I don’t think China will ever improve like Japan did, with or without help. Even the Apple corporation is starting to figure this out. They, along with other American industries, outsource labor to China. They’re starting to pay for that mistake in more ways than one.

If you can, avoid buying anything made in China. Of course, that isn’t completely possible because a lot our computing devices contain Chinese-made components. This is why I won’t buy anything with “Dell” on it. With “Dell”, it’s made in China, assembled in Mexico and then sold in the United States. What’s wrong with this picture?

You can find hand tools, electronics and other things made in China. They usually cost less and that cost is at the sacrifice of quality.

Originally published in October of 2014. Updated for readability.

November 14, 2017

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