My first reaction to your comments on my last blog would be that you missed my point, but maybe not. Maybe you just took my point to the next level without realizing it.
When I opined last time that the U.S. manufacturers who provide crummy specs to foreign suppliers for the goods they sell here are the cause of crummy products, you took me to task as not understanding the real cause. You were wrong; I understand it perfectly.
In fact, the points a lot of you made in your comments this week I have already made many times in the years Ive been doing this blog. The point being that the consumer, who willingly buys junk, is responsible for more junk being sold. When they realize that we, the consumers, will buy junk, theyll give us more junk. I touched on this theme three times in the past year alone with the two-part Origin of Species (1/4/10 & 1/8/10), Feeling Guilty (5-25-10), and Lettuce Alone (6-11-10).
But one lowly woodworker living in Middle-of-nowhere West Virginia isnt causing the glut of junk plywood in Big Box stores. This lowly woodworker knows theres better stuff to be had. He just cant afford it for shop cabinets right now for the kitchen, maybe, but not for utility shop cabinets and so he goes to a blue or orange Big Box store. But this single purchase isnt why Big Boxes carry junk plywood almost exclusively. Thats the fault of hundreds of thousands of ordinary folk and weekend warriors who dont know theres better stuff to be had.
And believe me, I wasnt surprised I was getting junk either, your erroneous comments to the contrary notwithstanding. Of course I knew, but I chose to accept it and work around its issues as required by my current economic circumstances. But heres the key thing in all of this: The stuff is still junk, and I dont have to like it.
Once upon a time I could go into any Big Box store and, before them, into what we used to call lumber stores before Madison Avenue shoved the idea for home centers down our throats and reasonably expect to get decent stuff. I still have things I made a few decades ago with off-the-shelf materials that would, today, be the high-priced stuff you drive miles out of your way to get.
My real point in the previous blog was that I miss those days. Oh, I understand all the reasons it is what it is today I have no need to be enlightened on that, as my comments in numerous blogs over the last three years will attest but knowing and understanding doesnt make it less onerous, or less sad.
And the worst part is that those hundreds of thousands of ordinary folk and weekend warriors most of who are younger than you and I dont know that better stuff exists today and that it was, at one time, the norm. These are the same people who never experienced the joy of a corner hardware store, ate a 5-cent candy bar twice the size as one youd get today for $2, or even bought a radio that would last 30 years. As such it is they, not pro woodworkers like you and me, who are driving the glut of junk materials. They dont mean to. They just dont know any better.
And thats the saddest part of all.
Till next time,