Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Greed Ultimately Destroys The Product

I’ve seen it often over my nearly 60 years of observation. A product fills a need and gets popular and profitable. The company gets rich, but has visions of getting even richer. They start “new and improving” the product, each time finding a way to make the process cheaper, or to leave out a part or ingredient entirely. Eventually, this affects the usefulness of the product and people start buying it less, or move to competing products. Faced with declining sales, the company finds ways to make the product even cheaper, often by sending the work overseas. Eventually, the product becomes so poorly made as to be worthless, and the company goes out of business. This happens quite frequently when the second generation takes over a family-owned company. They didn’t work and sacrifice to create the company, and often don’t have the pride of name and quality like the founder.

I’ve noticed the same downward spiral with restaurants. They offer a good menu, fair prices and good service. The public responds by flocking to the establishment and spending their money. However, the owners or stockholders get greedy and want more, more, more profit. First, they try to get by with fewer wait staff and less skilled cooks. Soon the food quality suffers. I’ve seen quality get so bad that my dog wouldn’t eat the stuff! Then, they close their doors.

I’ve seen this with cereal brands, clothing companies, cleaning supplies automobiles and other products.

Recently, Grand River, a brand of Chinese-made jeans that I’m forced to buy (due to them being the only ones available in town in my size), has decided to save money by putting less fabric in their jeans. The way they did this was to keep the waist size the same, but skimp on the butt and thigh areas of the pants. Now, I realize that there are butt-less wonders out there that have a spare tire, but no backside to match. I’m not one of them. If their trick continues, I’ll soon be buying my jeans online from a place where one of my coworkers shops. If the big-butted guys like me outnumber butt-less wonders, Grand River may soon find itself a brand of the past.

A couple days ago, my wife set a “new and improved” bottle of Dial liquid soap on the bathroom counter. The first squirt went nearly across the counter. It was like WATER! If the next bottle is like that, it will be our last.

It seems too many companies just can’t make enough money. I always remember John D. Rockefeller’s answer when asked how much money it takes to make a man happy. “More,” was his reply. © 2015


Sixbears said...

How about a Stanley caulk gun that failed after a 1/3 tube of caulk?

I've had the same problem with clothes as you've had.

Judy said...

Hanes has got into the act with using less fabric in women's skivvies. So I'm going to go to the local fabric shop and buy the light-weight single-knit that is used, make my own AND in the colors I want.

If your wife sews have her take the best fitting pair apart use them for a pattern and make you britches that fit. Beats the heck out of wearing clothes that are uncomfortable.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

We have seen it too. In fact we went to what once was a good, family owned Mexican restaurant that had great food and reasonable prices. Never again, after three bad visits in a row where there was an obvious downgrade in quality. I'd rather eat out less and have food that is good, maybe even smaller portions at a lower price.

Chickenmom said...

Quality goes down, prices go up on almost everything.
Lee used to make a pair of jeans that I loved. I'm very short and the length was just perfect. They stopped making them. Figures. And I find that I am making a lot of cleaning supplies myself instead of buying them.

John D. Wheeler said...

Regarding money and happiness, someone did an interesting study. There was a very good correlation between money and happiness -- the more money people had, the happier they were -- right up until they reached the income level that was higher than 50% of the population. Beyond that, there was no correlation between money and happiness, people with higher levels of income were not happier.

Money can't buy happiness, it can only rent it, and the rent keeps going up.

Pumice said...

Part of this problem, but only a part, is government regulation. I don't know if they have automatic dishwashers in WV, just joking, but they don't clean like they used to. The big reason is that the government mandated a change in the phosphorus content of the detergent. Better for the environment, worse for the dishes.

But on the positive side, this is what we call the market place at work. I have seen what you say. Since we still live in a land with some free enterprise, I still have choices I can make. When they change the cooking oil at some fast food places and make the taste go away, I can go somewhere else. My wife has, since I don't eat there, I can't.

Go online. Show the suckers. Maybe they will change. Maybe they will just go out of business. Serves them right, whichever path they take.

Grace and peace

Gorges Smythe said...

That qualifies, Sixbears!

Unfortunately, Judy, neither my wife or I are into making clothing, though she used to do crafts.

Agreed, Kathy.

We should probably ALL be doing that, Cm!

So money only helps untilm you catch up with the Jones, eh? Interesting, Mr. Wheeler.

Looks like I'll HAVE to, Pumice!