Author Topic: The New Age of Shoddy  (Read 2343 times)

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
The New Age of Shoddy
« on: 13 July, 2021, 03:13:17 pm »
Ken Burns' series about the US Civil War has an episode called The Age of Shoddy that mentions, among other things, a contractor who supplied cardboard-soled boots to the Union Army and got away with it by explaining that the order had been for cavalry boots, not boots you could march in.

Fast forward 150-ish years.  In 2015 I bought a pair of DHB Aeron gloves and then, since they were so good, another two pairs. I later went back to order more but they were always out of stock. Earlier this year, though, I managed to get a pair and was disgusted to find that they were far inferior to the 2015 model - lighter material, smaller gel pads, and the snotwipe area gone.

In 2007 I bought a Topeak Tourguide HB bag, which I have used on every ride since.  It's a nice size, it has good side & front pockets, the fabric in all the pockets is reinforced and although it's not billed as waterproof the main compartment has withstood 24 hours of the heaviest rain Finisterre could provide, and that without a rain cover.  It's still fine if a bit used by now: the map case took flight during PBP 2015 and the carrying handle could do with some urgent TLC, so last week I ordered the same bag again.

Got it yesterday and it's going back today. The material is lighter and feels cheap, the zips on the side pockets are shorter and they stick, and the map case is 50% smaller.  The side and front pockets deform easily, and although it's still billed as 5 litres it is visibly smaller than the old model.  It's crappy. 

The Age of Shoddy is back again.
But they never got to Carcassonne.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #1 on: 13 July, 2021, 03:52:44 pm »
If you're buying budget brands like dhb and Topeak, it's hardly surprising - all their stuff is made to hit a price point. When costs go up, quality goes down.

The differences are probably a sign that they've switched to a cheaper supplier.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #2 on: 13 July, 2021, 04:29:33 pm »
I don't think The Age of Shoddy ever left us, it's been with us as long as commercial activity has existed. Companies get bought and sold as the founders age and want to retire, or market forces make it impossible for the founders of a company to continue making a product the way they originally did. Sooner or later a company comes under the control of a person or persons who don't give a rat's ass about the original product, they just want to use the company's reputation to make as much money as they can with as little effort as possible.That's what seems to have happened with your handlebar bags and your gloves.

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #3 on: 13 July, 2021, 04:42:58 pm »
There's a lot more outsourcing, especially to China, where they take the spec and make it cheaper.

Realistically, that up-front price is what most people see, especially for mass-market products. You'll sell far more of a crappy version for £20 than a better version for £40, and in total, that'll be more revenue.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

nicknack

  • Hornblower
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #4 on: 13 July, 2021, 04:43:38 pm »
M&S mens underwear. It's worse every time I buy some.
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Mr Larrington

  • A bit ov a lyv wyr by slof standirds
  • Custard Wallah
    • Mr Larrington's Automatic Diary
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #5 on: 13 July, 2021, 05:23:16 pm »
A minion in Condor Cycles said the same about the Carnac shoes I was looking to replace about 15 years ago.  Production moved to Romania, quality sank.  Fortunately he had a couple of NOS pairs in my size in the cupboard, so I bought them :thumbsup:
External Transparent Wall Inspection Operative & Mayor of Mortagne-au-Perche
Satisfying the Bloodlust of the Masses in Peacetime

TheLurker

  • Goes well with magnolia.
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #6 on: 13 July, 2021, 05:50:33 pm »
Quote from: mark
....Sooner or later a company comes under the control of a person or persons who don't give a rat's ass about the original product, they just want to use the company's reputation to make as much money as they can with as little effort as possible.
See also: Hewlett-Packard,  IBM ...
Τα πιο όμορφα ταξίδια γίνονται με τις δικές μας δυνάμεις - Φίλοι του Ποδήλατου

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #7 on: 13 July, 2021, 06:05:56 pm »
Quote from: mark
....Sooner or later a company comes under the control of a person or persons who don't give a rat's ass about the original product, they just want to use the company's reputation to make as much money as they can with as little effort as possible.
See also: Hewlett-Packard,  IBM ...

Not to mention countless other brands that were once markers of quality, until they were bought up by Sports Direct...
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

rr

Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #8 on: 13 July, 2021, 06:07:20 pm »
Quote from: mark
....Sooner or later a company comes under the control of a person or persons who don't give a rat's ass about the original product, they just want to use the company's reputation to make as much money as they can with as little effort as possible.
See also: Hewlett-Packard,  IBM ...
Karrimor

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk


citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #9 on: 13 July, 2021, 06:19:07 pm »
Karrimor

...being a prime example of:

...brands that were once markers of quality, until they were bought up by Sports Direct...
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #10 on: 13 July, 2021, 06:26:46 pm »
It seems some manufacturers are now employing a tactic of producing high quality product for initial review by influencers and thereafter replacing components with lower spec parts for retail. Not good.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

ian

  • not a woman, not an american, not a vampire
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #11 on: 13 July, 2021, 07:40:22 pm »
There are also plenty of brands that once they've achieved their market value are bought up by venture capital or private equity and consequently stripped.
Authoritarian Thought Leader, the Pol Pot of Powerpoint, the Stalin of Spreadsheets

Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #12 on: 13 July, 2021, 07:46:22 pm »
Quote from: mark
....Sooner or later a company comes under the control of a person or persons who don't give a rat's ass about the original product, they just want to use the company's reputation to make as much money as they can with as little effort as possible.
See also: Hewlett-Packard,  IBM ...
Karrimor

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk

My 1970/80s rucksacks are still going.

rr

Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #13 on: 13 July, 2021, 07:48:43 pm »
Quote from: mark
....Sooner or later a company comes under the control of a person or persons who don't give a rat's ass about the original product, they just want to use the company's reputation to make as much money as they can with as little effort as possible.
See also: Hewlett-Packard,  IBM ...
Karrimor

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk

My 1970/80s rucksacks are still going.
Mine too

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk


bhoot

  • MemSec (ex-Mrs RRtY)
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #14 on: 13 July, 2021, 08:09:29 pm »
Another one with an 80s Karrimor here! Maybe we need a "show us your old rucksack" thread! Although mine does need repairing again.

andytheflyer

  • Andytheex-flyer.....
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #15 on: 13 July, 2021, 08:12:33 pm »
M&S mens underwear. It's worse every time I buy some.
And their socks.  They seem to go into holes within 3 or 4 washes these days. I had hoped that the 15 or so pairs I have in stock would see me out.  But maybe not.

Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #16 on: 13 July, 2021, 09:19:35 pm »
M&S mens underwear. It's worse every time I buy some.
Got to feel a bit sorry for M&S - when they were trying to maintain quality and their products cost 30 -50% more than other High St brands their market share was plummeting.  Now their prices are in line and their quality gets criticised.
Compare that to Primark, however much you loath the disposable nature of their products, they've understood their customers, they know people love to shop and to have new things.  As long as it's cheap enough, they don't mind that it doesn't last, they can have the pleasure of more shopping.
I can still find quality stuff, it just takes some looking for and the days when spending a little more got you a lot better has gone, the differential is widening.

diapsaon0

  • Advena ego sum in terra
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #17 on: 13 July, 2021, 09:21:18 pm »
Some things are as good as ever - Carradice being a prime example.
Advena ego sum in Terra

Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #18 on: 13 July, 2021, 09:43:21 pm »
Some things are as good as ever - Carradice being a prime example.

^This.

FWIW, my mum used to work at Karrimor, first at their Haslingden factory then in Accrington and, finally, at the purpose built Clayton-le-Moors factory.
I also worked for them on Saturday mornings when I turned 16. It was my first job.
I subsequently worked at the Accrington factory during summer holidays from 6th form and Uni.

By and large the Parsons family who owned and ran the company were very fair employers and they were quite innovative. For instance, they were early "off-shorers". They developed a cheaper/simpler range of rucsacs that were made, IIRC in Malaysia. I don't remember it being a success perhaps because buyers of Karrimor products went for high spec stuff and the "Made in Britain" tag was still important then.
Karrimor also got into mountain bikes quite early; they were the UK agent for Mongoose. It wasn't a success but, on the bright side, I got my MTB at a huge reduction when they were getting rid of the stock when they gave it up. My mum's discount was a further bonus  :thumbsup:.

In some respects, I think Karrimor were too far in front of the curve; the early bird catches the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.


Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #19 on: 13 July, 2021, 09:47:05 pm »
Carradices from the 70s are slightly better.  The buckles are stitched in, not riveted in, and there's no nylon drawstring "mouth" to fail, just a couple of cotton duck flaps and ties.  The reflective triangle (fluo orange by day, red by night) was also much better than today's Scotchlite patch.
And Darkness and Decay and the Coronavirus held illimitable dominion over all.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #20 on: 13 July, 2021, 09:49:02 pm »
Also at some point they stopped making Prima rack bags.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #21 on: 13 July, 2021, 10:36:38 pm »
M&S mens underwear. It's worse every time I buy some.
And their socks.  They seem to go into holes within 3 or 4 washes these days. I had hoped that the 15 or so pairs I have in stock would see me out.  But maybe not.

A few years ago I switched to Darn Tough socks. I have 6 pairs of various weights, and when ever they get a hole, i just post them back, and a new pair arrive in the post a few days later. Socks as a Service. It's saved me quite a bit in total cost of ownership for socks.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #22 on: 13 July, 2021, 11:12:04 pm »
Some things are as good as ever - Carradice being a prime example.
Maybe so their original products that they still make in house, but to compete on price they outsourced the cheaper CarraDry range, which looks like imitation Ortlieb but nothing like as good. Not sure about the CarraDura range, but it's half the price of the Super C stuff, so wherever made it's been done to that price point.

nicknack

  • Hornblower
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #23 on: 13 July, 2021, 11:18:16 pm »
they can have the pleasure of more shopping.
That's something I will never understand.
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Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: The New Age of Shoddy
« Reply #24 on: 13 July, 2021, 11:20:21 pm »
M&S mens underwear. It's worse every time I buy some.

Could you stop buying it, please?
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