Monday, January 25, 2010

Caveat emptor…

AP Enterprise: US buyers must beware in China (AP, 16 Jan., 2010)

China's latest quality controversy erupted this week after an investigation by The Associated Press found that 12 of 103 pieces of Chinese-made children's jewelry bought in U.S. stores contained at least 10 percent cadmium, some in the 80-90 percent range. Two others were found to have less than 10 percent in laboratory tests and the rest had none. …

American businessman Rick Goodwin, who has worked in China for 20 years, said the country has plenty of unscrupulous factories. But he said a major problem was foreign buyers who, because of greed, naivete or ignorance, approach China like it's just a discount shopping center. …

One thing that frequently happens in China is that factory owners will bid extremely low — even to the point where they have no profit — just to win an order. Once they've got the business, they search for ways to cut corners so they can widen their profit margin and recover what they lost with their lowball bid. They might switch to cheaper lead paint or buy inexpensive metal containing cadmium. This is called "quality fade."

It's too bad this article is so even-handed. Otherwise, it's just too tempting and too much fun to take what comes out of China as intentionally sub-par. Poison their children with defective toys! Kill their pets with noxious food! Undermine their work force with cheap labor! Sigh. I may not have been a Cold War baby, but I like to think of myself as a Cold War man.

2 comments:

Isaac said...

I wouldn't say it erupted, I didn't hear anything about quality control in the news.... Unless poor quality is expected an hence no longer news worthy?

The Codgitator said...

I don't write the news, man, I just cannibalize it! Erupted is much better than spurted or "burst without much notice", donchaknow? I heard you lost some weight with your little iPhone calorie coach, ¿es verdad? I've put on some good weight, nearly all muscle and suffering haha.