Post # 1
I’m an avid shopper and I’ve been pretty disappointed with the quality of stuff lately. In particular, furniture and home goods, since we moved to a new place this fall. Most of the time, I just settle and keep it because I figure that’s the price to pay if I got it through a sale site or store. But then my FI gets mad, asking why I’m always buying stuff that’s defective or damaged and that we should return.
Examples: (ok a lot of Crate & Barrel which was purchased from their website)
– Crate & Barrel wood dining table – there were some blemishes and marks that didn’t look like it was part of the natural wood grain.
– Crate & Barrel table runner – the glittery thread was sticking out on the sides for multiple spots, I thought that was a natural result of how the material was woven but FI said no (but ok he doesn’t know anything about home goods).
– Crate & Barrel glass jar – a piece of the glass broke off for one reason one day when I put the lid back on, I didn’t slam it or anything.
– Media cabinet from Overstock – many of the pieces were defective to the point that we tried to exchange these pieces but we ended up keeping everything for a partial refund.
– Joss & Main – Safavieh lamp had a crooked metal thing for the shade so I have to put a piece of cardboard in to make the shade sit straight. Also Safavieh metal stool had several noticeable dimples on the seat.
And just this week, non-furniture items that failed me:
– HUE pack of 2 black tights – one of the pairs already had a huge hole in the top when I opened the pack.
– Surell rabbit earmuffs (from Bluefly) – tags were already cut off and the metal was poking out of a couple places on the velvet band.
Am I just having bad luck? I mean, Crate & Barrel isn’t top of the line but it also isn’t cheap. Do you get what you pay for? Maybe I do need to have higher expectations. Or everything is made in China these days and quality control has gone down. Sigh.
Post # 3
I’ve always thought that Crate & Barrel was way overpriced. I like some of their stuff, but some of the prices are absurd. I’ve always been really happy with all of the quality of my Pottery Barn furniture/linens. Everything I have from there is well made and super heavy duty. At PB I definitely feel like I get what I pay for.
Overstock is hit and miss just because they sell all sorts of things from all sorts of manufacturers, so its not so much a problem with Overstock as it is the particular brand of item you’re purchasing. I have gotten some really nice stuff from OS and some real crap lol. It just depends.
Post # 4
I think you’re just having some bad luck. Crate & Barrel is usually good for me but I guess I mostly stick to their glasses and kitchen stuff.
To an extent you definitely get what you pay for, but Crate & Barrel isn’t cheap. I would definitely let them know about your recent bad luck with their stuff.
Post # 5
- Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor
@Jewelieee: Oh man, definitely. It’s hard to buy quality, well-made stuff anymore. I buy a lot of our furniture off Craigslist, and I love mid-century modern furniture – I like the style, but it’s also really sturdy and well-made, in the days before Target and Overstock and cheap online flash sales.
The thing is, if you really want quality you have to pay for it. (Unless you’re happy going with used stuff, in which case it’s usually cheaper than Crate & Barrel, PB, Resto Hardware, etc.) If you live in an urban area, chances are there are some high-end furniture stores with lots of stuff made in the U.S. – but it will cost you a lot. We have some stores like that in Houston and their furniture makes me drool haha.
Have you noticed too that it’s hard to find helpful people working in specialty retail stores anymore? For example, I’ve never gotten any helpful advice from people working at our local Lowes and Home Depots – half the time, when I’m looking for a particular tool, or asking for advice on this tool vs. that tool, they have no idea what I’m talking about. My dad and I talked aboiut that recently – he said even just 20 years ago, when you went to a hardware store, most of the staff would be people interested in home renos and construction and they’d be able to give you advice on your projects and help you find specific things… Anyways, your post reminded me of that.
Post # 6
I’ve noticed. Can somebody please explain to me the phenomena of sweaters and sweatshirts getting thinner, but more expensive?! How the HELL is this going to keep me warm?!
Post # 7
It’s sad but true. Just pick up a clothing iron from 40 years ago and one you can buy today…
Post # 8
I love Crate and Barrel…it’s pretty inexpensive (comparing to Pottery Barn or W-S, which I also love) but I think pretty good quality for the price. I mostly just have kitchen stuff though (glasses, wine glasses, some flatware, random other things that are brand name). So I don’t have any experience with their linens or furniture.
Furniture…you definitely get what you pay for. But I didn’t think Crate and Barrel and that cheaply priced furniture so I’d expect it to be nice, I think it’s pretty comparable (price wise) to Pottery Barn (I love their furniture).
Some of it could just be bad luck, I’m not familiar with the other items you bought.
Compared to 40, 50 years ago though…yeah I think quality has gone down!
I had a lot of bad luck with some stuff from Macys but I think they just have really poor shipping practices…half the stuff I ordered (everyday type china) arrived broken or damaged. They replaced them all though. Crate and Barrel has excellent shipping though! I’ve gotten wine glasses, champagne glasses, and other really delicate items shipped and not one problem!
Post # 9
@Mrs. Wallaby: +1
Yes, unfortunately items seem to be trending towards lower quality, and for a higher price!
Post # 10
I don’t know about quality of goods, but the retail experience is certainly changing. It’s hard to find knowledgeable employees in specialty shops because those shops are continually undercut by Wal-Mart, Amazon and others on price and Americans say they want service but are almost never willing to pay for it (the airline industry is this country is another excellent example of this). Planned obsolesence and the necessity of upgrading electronic devices has altered out attitudes toward what it means to be disposable. The changing way in which people relate to physical space, locality, and neighborhood has changed the relationship that many have with their vendors.
I have found that, especially when it comes to food (the grocery store options in our town are mediocre at best), developing genuine friendships with people in my community who are producing their own cheese, beer, etc. means I get goods of significantly higher quality for just a little more than I would pay at the chain grocery store. There are a number of people who do quality woodwork in my community and I have paid them for pieces of furniture, again, usually at a comparable (or even cheaper) price than stores are charging.
This is not to say that all local artisanship is good–there are a number of people in my community who claim to build quality furniture that I wouldn’t commission on a bet, but I think that there are many, many people in the United States who are doing challenging, interesting, excellent work when it comes to the production of goods, but they are not usually found via the most accessible retail channels.
Post # 11
@MarriedToMyWork: this is good, and bang on the head I think too.
I used to work in a retail store, the kind that gave the service and quality we’re talking about wanting all the time. It was our thing, the store is literally known for service And quality. I literally drove a forgotten bag of feed to a ladies house.
But you know what? The minute walmart starts selling everyone favourite horse shampoo (mane and tail) the customer are barging in and demanding to know why we charge 8.99 when Walmart charges 7.99. Um maybe because we are not walmart?? Because we are a locally owned and operated show and what you see is what you get. We do not have a zillion stores and warehouses across the nation, we don’t have our own trucks driving all over the place and we don’t have the unending empire of Walmart standing underneath us, supporting our everymove. So you get to pay $1 more, which when you think about the circumstances, is not that terribly much. With that $1 you also get us, the people you swear you want to see in stores but don’t want to pay to be there.
We cut our orders of mane and tail by almost half right after Walmart brought it into our local store. Ouch.
The whole you get what you pay for thing really rings true for me. You can’t cut corners on everything and still expect goodqulty stuff because you can’t expect people to work hard in goo stuff without paying them for it. An as cost of goods rises, the people who make good quality stuff stlll need to put food on te table.
Its miserable and sucks for everyone. I’d like to revert back to the barter system. Money is awful
Post # 12
@lalalyanne: What you describe is what I have seen in my experience as well, and it is such a shame. I genuinely grieve whenever my community loses a seller who is passionate about his or her ingredients, materials, goods, community, etc.
I understand that, given the stagnancy in wages for most American workers in the last 25 years (as well as numerous other economic factors), that price point is important, and I try to remember that when I get frustrated about this sort of thing. However, like you say, often it’s a case of $1-2 more to help support a type of consumer-producer relationship that, in my opinion, is much healthier for most communities.
Post # 13
Oh yah I agree. My parents got married 33 years ago and still have some of the small appliances they got as gifts, and they work fine. A 33 year old blender? How does that still work? I’ve gone through 2 in the last 5 years!
Post # 14
@Jewelieee SO true! I bought a marc jacobs quilted bag about 8 years ago, I just went to buy a new one (same bag different color) and the quality is insanely different. Yes the leather is nice but the hardware is so much lighter and the stitching was off..this is a $1600 bag there should be no issues!
Post # 15
@Lbward6: Unfortunately I think you are right about the decline of standards at some houses that purport to adhere to standards of luxury and thus should know better. On a much lesser level, I seek out older, used Coach handbags that have a scuff or two on them for my regular, daily use because they are so much more well made than most of what that label is currently selling. All I have to do is properly clean them and they look amazing!
Post # 16
@MarriedToMyWork It’s so funny that you say that, a co worker and I were just discussing that coach has really great quality and some of their new designs are really nice!