Past EED rants


Live leaderboard

Poker leaderboard

Voice of EED

Wednesday 15 August 2007

Mind the China [Slim]

Mattel and others are recalling millions of pounds worth of product, chineese factory bosses are literally swinging from the rafters, and there's people on the news are actually surprised by this whole affair. Let's reintroduce people to some very obvious wisdom:

You get what you pay for.

These low prices we now demand from our mass produced goods that have travelled half way round the globe to get to us clearly come at the expense of quality. This is a pretty simple choice, either pay up or put up. The Chinese shouldn't be topping themselves over this, they're just responding to demand. Don't buy this shit if you want decent product, as a consumer it's in your hands.


  1. Hmm, I dunno aren't we talking about Mattel like the biggest brand in kids toys going? I'm not really sure they could be considered your el-cheap kids toy stuff. What's the alternatives? Make your kids play with wooden stuff made by local toy makers. Because there's obviously plenty of those and your kid would much rather play with some wooden blocks rather than a nice broom broom car thing that was on tele...

    Ultimately cost strikes me a red herring. There shouldn't be lead paint going into fuck all now and absolutely none at all in kids toys. Someone, somewhere, fucked up.


  2. Mattel are indeed a huge toy manufacturer, as are fisher price also involved in this recall. They're also el cheapo, as in you can buy a huge box of packaging with a tiny plastic toy mounted in wires and plastic shipped from china with very little of the cost actually in the product your kid will end up playing with.

    Brio are a good example of an alternative, made in europe, safe, well made, built to last and reasuringly expensive. My lads got a lot of brio, much of it from older cousins who've moved on to bikes and now cars. The placcy transformers shite he's into wont survive to be passed down to any of his younger cousins.

    Sure, you kid wants the thing on the telly, that's always a problem, and we do have licensed plastic shite toys, as well as the brio, it's tough to stand in the way torrent of advertising the poor sods recieve now, but this again is a consumer choice.

    Cost isn't a red herring, these toys are manufactured in china purely because it's cheaper. To maintain that competativeness the factories will make compromises.

  3. Well, rest of that aside, you're saying stuff that's made in China is cheaper because it's fundamentally made badly. There's an impetus on every consumer thing to be cheaper. China makes stuff cheaper generally because of their cost of labour, rather than cutting corners - they make plenty of good stuff too. Chinese manufacturers obviously are experts in making extremely cheap high volume stuff, because there's a market for it. And yeah, a lot of that stuff cuts corners but not *because* it's Chinese.Thing is, you're holding up this Brio outfit as the holy grail of stuff made in Europe. Few seconds of Googling and I find the unsurprisingly development that they have an office in china and have loads of their stuff made there. Hell, here's a recall of one of their toys made in China. Good stuff is made in China (like my Garmin GPS and, well, every Logitech device ever etc etc ad infinitum). It's more about the actual companies deciding what the budget is for the toy itself and I'm sure that's based on what people are buying at the end of the day.I'm agreeing with your basic approach to this. That people ought to try avoid the cheapest stuff because you get what you pay for but I think it should be self evident you get what you pay for. If someone wants to buy a cheap thing, they get a cheap thing. That doesn't mean it's okay to be unsafe. I'm not sure parents often have the luxury of thinking about how it's such a high quality toy, how it can be handed down to some other random kid later, when it comes to just buying a toy at the end of the day.


  4. I was focusing on china because it made cheap goods, not because everything it makes is cheap. There is however a lot of attention on china right now with some pretty serious accusations that their safety inspection standards are pretty much non existant compared to the west. The fact that so much product has come under the spotlight lately, and all of it stems form chinese factories can't be ingored. In your Brio example, it's the fewchinese manufactured parts that they're recalling, brio make a lot of their more expensive collections in Sweden and the USA, and I don't see any recalls for that.

    I think your last paragraph highlights what's wrong in the throw away consumerist society. People should be focusing on buying things that last, we've bought plenty of plastic shite, but we've also bought things like Brio, K'nex & Lego (which do have some but not all parts made in china, but are not cheap plastic they're polypropylene which is betterer), which have served each kid at a certain age before they've moved on. There's also nothing wrong in buying toys second hand,and a higher quality toy will hold it's value pretty well. It's really easy to sell toys at places like school fairs and car boots and saves a bomb on the rediculous packaging and travel most toys go through.

    But people don't do this, they go to macdonalds and pay 2.99 for a meal and get a toy, which their child plays with for 30 mins, it then goes into landfill. If the child chokes on this toy, there's an uproar. Of course,if the childs sick for a few days from the lead he may have injested, nobody will notice, they'll just assume the nuggets are dodgy!