questionswhat happened to quality control (in general)?

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The worst part is the stores know. I found a pair of dress pants that I order from JCPenny, I have been using the same brand/style for years, last time I ordered 3 and all 3 ripped out in 1 month's time, the pair that I have had for over 2 years were fine and still have not ripped. When I called for a replacement, they suggested I try a different brand for a few months as there is problems with the supplier, they should have it worked out by then.

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Just a tip on the deodorant from past experiences. Try hitting it on a table or something similar a few times, especially by the dial. It doesn't always help, but sometimes it will get it moving.

As for low quality control, you can blame deal hunting for that. Since people are constantly hunting for the best deal, companies are cutting corners to keep their prices competitive with other companies.

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Customers/buyers are the QC now. It's easier and way cheaper for a company to pay for a shipping label on a defective product than it is to pay an entire department full-time to double-check everything.

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I think the most disappointing part is consistency. Seems like if you find something that fits really well or is made really well you need to go back and buy all they have because that item will either be discontinued or it may look the same, have the same name, have the same tag even, and have a completely different in fit, build, and lasting ability.

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@eraten: That would be nice if a company paid for a shipping label. The last few times I had a defective product, it was my responsibility to send it back at my cost with an RMA number. They also recommend that I pay for tracking.

For products purchased within 30 days, I just bring it back to the store I bought it and they usually swap it or give me a refund.

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Foreign manufacturing in underdeveloped countries. Quantity over quality.

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Most food manufacturers have quality control nailed down to a science. If you ever do run into a problem, they track everything and they fix it right away. But think about the volume of product that a given food manufacturer/producer sells and how consistently the product is presented to you the consumer without flaw.

Surely these other companies can step up their game.

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@dogbountyhunter1: I have tons of made-in-the-usa goods which suffer the same complete lack of attention to detail, QA, or QC.

I find that any mass manufactured item is suffering this problem... with clothing especially - though more expensive i've turned to shopping at a more boutique level, individually tailored where possible, etc.

@thepenrod - you're right, but there's no incentive for them to spend money on improvements. In the food industry - the incentive is not getting sliding scale fine escalations by the fda, usda, etc...

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@dogbountyhunter1: I agree. Quantity over quality.

(Puts on tinfoil hat)
You can thank Walmart for a lot of this as well, since they were the big name pushing quantity over quality years ago. They realized that if they lowered their mark-up (profit margin) they would make less per item sold, but they would sell more of said item because it was lower than their competitors, thus increasing the quantity sold and over all increase in profit margin. Eventually, decreased quality (thus higher profit margins) sneak in by selling cheaper quality items at a small mark down of "name brand" items and increasing both product sold and profit margin per item. "Name Brand" is then forced to lower their production cost to meet or exceed sell price so they can compete. The easiest/best way to do this is to decrease quality of their product.

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Another area you see this problem growing is in software. Big companies used to have months if not years of testing and tweaking, and the product wouldn't hit the market or even have a release date posted until "when it's done". Now, there's a 3 to 6 month alpha/beta test and the product goes out to the customer.

It's not my job as the customer to file bug reports to get the products I buy working properly, but I certainly have to do it more now than I use to.

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In almost all cases, Quality Control and Customer Service are each contradictions of terms.

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@kainis: Regarding software, they used to call it vaporware because a company would announce a program but it would take years before it came out.

Now companies releasing the software have a huge known bug list and they still sell the software knowing those bugs exist. Their logic is to get it into the customer's hand and then fix the bugs through an update later.

What really annoys me is when they come out with a new version of the software and you cannot find any new features. The only thing you're aware of is bug fixes but in order to get that new version you have to pay for it. I believe the companies should be responsible for fixing their bugs for free even if the customer doesn't pay for the upgrade.

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Mass production. It's all about the Benjamins. As for your deodorant, I see the same issue but mine always eventually works after a few turns. With the label facing you, turn the dial to your right while squeezing the container. Repeat. Repeat. YMMV.

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@penrodius: I had mentioned that previously with clothes in particular. Levi's is an especially guilty party IMHO of having no QC whatsoever. The jeans that are supposed to be the same cut as what I am wearing right now are nowhere near it. I once bought two pair that were supposedly identical - same waist, inseam, and cut - differing only in color and they fit so different I thought for sure they were mislabeled. One pair would fall right off me if I wasn't wearing a belt, the other I had to hold my breath to put on. Later I realized the two pair were made on different continents...

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@caffeine_dude: FWIW, the last time I bought Levi's jeans - which may be the last time I ever after having worn Levi's my entire life - I ordered straight from levis.com. One would hope those purchases would not involve middle men suppliers, but these days I guess anything goes in commerce. Nonetheless, those two "identical" pairs were anything but similar. Hell they might as well have sewn an extra leg on to one of the two pairs, they were cut so poorly to have been virtually un-wearable any ways.

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Things being made overseas, difficulties in being profitable as a business in the US due to government intrusion, shrinking margins as everything gets terribly expensive, unions and people becoming more and more lazy.

There you go. Thats it. And the things above feed each other.

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I am seeing problem in jeans. Seems like you look at them and they rip.

I am also wondering why they bother with sizes anymore. I have started shopping by holding it up and eyeballing to get close. I have such a wide range of numbers in "my" size. I hate clothes shopping. I do wear a uniform for work so most of my stuff is round home comfy wear. I would not like needing professional clothing added to my list to buy. I do need to get something semi formal for myself but keep putting off the chore.

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@jha1223: The unions have nothing to do with this problem. Can you point to a manufacturing facility in the US where quality has gone down the toilet with union presence? No, of course not. The unions don't have squat for clout in this country any more, and companies are free to shut down union-led facilities and send the jobs overseas to save a nickel (or less).

Blaming bad QC on the union makes about as much sense as blaming the same on Monica Lewinski or Rush Limbaugh. 20-30 (or more) years ago, when the unions were strong in this country, with high membership rates, you could have made that case. However such a claim holds no water in the current situation.

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@lparsons42: "The unions don't have squat for clout in this country any more, and companies are free to shut down union-led facilities and send the jobs overseas to save a nickel (or less)."

Maybe in your state. Don't be so naive as to think it is like that everywhere. The unions were dealt a big loss in Wisconsin (YEAH!) but they are still alive and kicking in many states.

I know, sadly, more than a couple IBEW members who sat this summer instead of working. Why? They weren't allowed to search for their own work. They even gave some of the guys that were benched a position to spy on the new hires at companies and make sure they weren't union members working there w/o going through the union. Yay freedom.

I also worked for a newspaper where the press staff were all union. I don't remotely have enough room to express the damage that group had on that particular paper. With significantly increased technology, it still took 20% more people to maintain the same quality.