Friday, May 8, 2020

Things Aren't as Good as They Used to Be

A common complaint throughout the generations is that things are not made as well as they used to be. Jon Shanahan explains on his Youtube channel, The Kavalier,  that the old adage really is true. Many popular brands once known for their quality wound up selling themselves down the river as they became afflicted with a case of the cheap. 



38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I blame clothing size. The size of clothing for Americans seem to increase each year. In the 1980s and 1990s, you never saw XXL, XXXL, and now 4XL clothing. But you do now. You dont see this in Europe and Asia.
Also, Americans tend to donate all the things to Goodwill every year or so. Thus diluting the value of brands. You also dont see this in Europe and Asia.

Justice for Geezers said...

You are such a geezer KF! Reading your blog is sometimes like listening to an old fart at the nursing home.

Anonymous said...

Who cares what the hell 'they do' in Europe or Asia. Kim Jung Il, if alive, wears a 4X. So did Mao. Donating is a good thing. Your comment in that regard is laughable. The practice dilutes nothing. Try it.

Anonymous said...

JC Penney reportedly to file for bankruptcy next week. So many retailers from our youth out of business or going out. Sears, Kmart, Woolworth, Woolco, Zayre, Jitney Jungle, McRaes, Montgomery Ward and many others. Always loved looking through the Penny's and Sears catalogs.

Anonymous said...

@7:12 AM

Through the years I have gleaned much valuable information from "listening to an old fart at the nursing home." Perhaps it would do you good to visit a geezer or two in a home every now and then.

Anonymous said...

I admit that I didn't watch the video since I am boycotting Alphabet, Inc. due to tech censorship.

But herr is my two cents anyway.

Notice how many of the companies listed have a man's name. When those men were alive they had a reputation to maintain.

When the men died, they may have passed the companies on to their progeny. As time passed the companies have become publicly traded and detached from the family name altogether. The name is just a brand at this point.

Now it is a race to the bottom as each tries to squeeze the last bit of profit margin to satisfy shareholders. We are also on the edge of a retail apocalypse.

Anonymous said...

This here complaint is caused by what they call crapification.

That's where a good company is suddenly overrun with leaders who happily embrace crappy ideas that turn the companies products to crap. The cause of this is too many feckwitted MBAs and that is the reason "MBA DISEASE" is the alternate label for crapification.

Crapification is directly related to how many MBAs are running the show.

EVERY Jethro or Jethrene with an MBA thinks they are Jared Kushner! Let me point out Jared has both a New York University J , and a NYU MBA (and any large donations made by his rich felon father had nothing to do with any of that.)



Here is the most recent chart I could quickly find- https://www.quora.com/How-many-business-graduate-students-are-there-in-the-United-States-each-year

That looks like a pandemic of MBA's if you were to graph the total!

Let me tell you every MBA thinks it's in their DNA to run the show. Whether or not they know bupkis about the show and whether or not they have a clue.

It don't take but one MBA crapifier infecting a company to cause a crappy chain reaction. The cascade of crapification is unstoppable once it gets started. Qualified people head for the hills because crapifiers make a point to chase out everyone who isn't a crapifier so they can hire more of their crapifier kind.


To MBAs and crapifiers factories aren't worth the time and trouble to run right. Actually making and selling things that consumers want to buyu is hard if you are a crapifier.


The thing the crapifiers do best is cutting material and labor costs past the bone and thinking because the consumer can't see it that they won't notice. QUALITY DOWN AND MARGINS UP!

The final outcome of the crapifier's highly compensated destruction is to turn great companies and brands into empty shells with proud names that can be licensed to the highest bidder who will contract to have the crap manufactured in some low wage country.

Boeing 737MAX.

Anonymous said...

Walmart brought us cheap Chinese junk and clothes were early arrivals in the cheap Chi-Com junk. Poor quality material, seam stitch count and elimination of plaquets has resulted in casual and dress clothes to be more comparable to pajamas of 50 years ago. Wear the junk one season and throw it away. And today most retailers have followed Walmart's lead and allowed their brand quality to deteriorate. L.L.Bean's reputation was built on high quality clothing but even they sold out to buy imported junk.

Anonymous said...

Nine times out of ten comments like this:

You are such a geezer KF! Reading your blog is sometimes like listening to an old fart at the nursing home.

Are dropped by losers who haven't accomplished jack shit in their own lives.

Anonymous said...

I will post no photos as proof, but IMO, many women are being built better these days then ever before. Any many, with much less clothing. Just an opinion.

Anonymous said...

HmmmH - I think 9:09 gets it ;-)

Anonymous said...

@6:38 - I don't know if superplus sizes killed the clothing market but I do know that when I was growing up in the 1950s and '60s, I never saw a morbidly obese person except the "Fat Woman" at the state fair freak sideshow. Nowadays, you can see the fat woman, fat man, and fat children for free at Walmart, riding on scooters, with carts loaded with what would be a year's worth of chips and ice cream in our household. They keep Omar, the tentmaker, fully employed.

And I don't a rat's a-- if I'm body shaming them - They NEED to be body shamed to realize they need therapy for mental issues that drive them to gorge on food. Why would do that to their bodies?

Anonymous said...

This not only applies to physical products but to things such as health insurance. Greed, greed, greed, greed, and then there’s greed.

Anonymous said...

You absolutely can still purchase fantastic, American made goods. If you’re willing to pay for them. Americans got addicted to Wal-Mart and disposable goods and low prices.

No, raw denim handmade in America doesn’t cost $19.99, but the same people screaming about the loss of quality are also the ones that would scoff at $50-100 jeans.

The reality is that a $20 pair of pants can’t be made in America, and until Americans realize the real cost of things without Communist Chinese labor, you’re going to get crap. Real products are made by skilled laborers that make more than minimum wage.

Anonymous said...

Everyone under age 30 would be well served to talk to the older generation. We can tell you how to sew on a button, mend your clothes, bake bread, cook from scratch, change a car tire and oil in the car, cut and stack firewood, sharpen a knife, and how to live without cell phones, I-pads, Twitter, and even television. You'd be amazed at the institutional knowledge of seniors. They are survivors whereas the young are often merely leeches on wealth hard-earned by the older generation.

Anonymous said...



Our consumer is a quantity consumer, not a quality consumer.


Anonymous said...

No news here. It's basic capitalism. Supply and demand. Cut costs maximize profits. Why spend $1.00 per production unit to make $1.50 retail when I can sell for the same $1.50 and spend .50 per production unit. If people are stupid enough to buy the same product anyway, why do I care about maintaining "quality". Stop buying based on brands or if you don't like capitalism, just say so.

Anonymous said...

Riddle me this:

Is out nation becoming obese because the food many of us eat has been crapified just like the clothes we don't fit into any more?


HFCS and added fat and empty calories and prepared foods?

Anonymous said...

9:09 AM, you're absolutely right. Remember when every sleazy little MBA who came out of Ole Miss or LSU, was running around naming shops and restaurants after something they were selling (something the lowest common denominator among their target demographic had heard of and considered desirable), then adding an apostrophe and an 's'?

And then, there are the MBAs you're describing, who went to (supposedly) better schools in better places, and who're engineering leveraged buyouts of hallowed brands. At our house, we're still mourning Sulka, which made incredible menswear (luckily, those Egyptian Cotton shirts last forever, if you have them washed in distilled water, and ironed with the utmost care) - until the leveraged buyout, followed by the inevitable bankruptcy and disappearance. Right now, we're despondent over what's happened to Bulgari (aka 'BVLGARI'), whose once-incredible jewelry is now fit for a dog's leash, and that's about all. Luckily, though, there's now Bayco... And there are still a few family ateliers, quietly making nice clothes, in the hills above Naples. Too, there's the emergence of Zambezi Grace, whose (far too limited) Crocodile pieces are pretty good. And while buying today's Bentley, Rolls, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Mercedes, are like knowingly adopting criminally insane children from criminally insane nations, who you KNOW will grow up to be F-students and psycho-killers, there's now LEXUS, which never disappoints.

Anonymous said...

On the flip side, apparel has gone from 14% of a meager family budget in 1900 to about 4%. Families are earning 68 times as much before inflation. Good grief. All for US made, but it has to be durable, and clothing by definition is not going to last a lifetime like tools.

And, no, quality clothing is very, very seldom American made. Polo is decent quality, and long lasting, but most of it's sewn in China, much Armani in Bangladesh, etc etc. There are some sub labels made in Italy, but they are still using cut rate immigrant labor. Blue or purple labels, maybe, but still not US made.

There are a couple of mills left in Georgia, the Carolinas, and TN that make some denim or cotton shirts. So, you can pay $33 for a Georgia made Tee or pay $5 for it at Walmart.

There are, for example, Round House US Made Jeans from OK that are the same quality as Levis or Wrangler.

There are long time factories still making them for a decent price.

Anonymous said...

The recrapification* of the meatpacking industry in the 1980s (union busting- to lower wages and worsen working onditions- see actual hourly wages today similar to those paid in 1980 with 1980 dollars) arguably has consequences today.

*Too bad Upton Sinclair isn't around to critique Alex Azar.

Azar faulted workers' 'home and social' conditions for meatpacking outbreaks
On a call with members of Congress, health secretary defended conditions inside the meat plants, three participants say.


Anonymous said...

@11:23 You're SO right! Unfortunately, every generation thinks they've got everything figured out (this generation seems to think that way even more than mine did), and it's only when they get a little age and experience that they discover they could've benefitted from a little guidance from those who went before.

Kinda like when you first get exposed to sex. You're convinced people your age invented it and that your parents / those older than you don't understand and wouldn't know what you're experiencing. The thought of your parents engaging in it is laughable (and gross.) It's only when you get older your realize they were subject to the same thoughts, desires, etc. as you are......but when you're young, you'd bet everything you have that you are WAY smarter than they were about such things.

Kingfish said...

The post is a video about declining quality in famous brands as well as how outlet store strategies are ruining them.

Trying to debate the federal reserve system is going too far.

Anonymous said...

All of you geezers assume young people dont know how to do anything as if you know every single young person alive.

My experience with geeezrs is that you repeat the same stories over and over and never get to the point. Geezers are also usually set in your old ways and never look at any project from a different perspective.

Maybe watch some DIY YouTube videos like we do. You will find a lot of young people making DIY videos using new techniques and new tools.

Did you ever stop to think that maybe it is just your progeny and their children who are worthless idiots?

Nah that might put some blame on you!

Anonymous said...

KF, would you consider putting together a list of quality American-made products, particularly clothing. Men’s options and those for children aren’t always super difficult to find, but even boutiques carry cheap Chinese fast fashion for women.

Anonymous said...

" My experience with geeezrs is that you repeat the same stories over and over and never get to the point. Geezers are also usually set in your old ways and never look at any project from a different perspective" .


You're right 4:16.

Hopefully you'll also live long enough to claim the title of Geezer.
You'll be just like us. I doubt you believe it, but it will happen to you like the rest of us . . .that were your age once.

Until then, enjoy life to it's fullest and make memories that you too can repeat to the youngsters 40 years from now.

Being a geezer is great.
Gawd . . . we DO know how to manipulate young people.

The only free advice I'll give ya is . . . no matter what . . . never scream at a little kid to get off your lawn.










Anonymous said...

What 426 said

Anonymous said...

There is Blue Delta Jeans. Quality, but you pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Walmart stock split 11 times from its initial IPO at 16.50 in 1970 until the last split in 1999. So it hasn't split in 21 years. A 100 shares purchased at IPO, 1,650.00 is worth around 4,3 million today.

Had you waited, 1000.00 invested in 1980 was worth 1.9 million in 2018

1000.00 invested in 2009 has only increased to 2700.00 in 2019.

In the 90s, when Walmart was growing exponentially, there was no problem that Walmart didn't think they could solve. Walmart had closed stores, only to open a bigger one in a better location, nearby.

The 1st Store they closed "quietly" because of problems, didn't make the News, but it sent ripples throughout the company. Within 2 days, everyone who worked for the company had heard of the Store Closing. It was the Selma, Alabama location, and after years of trying, Manager after Manager, Walmart couldn't stop theft, or enforce discipline, they closed the doors, and didn't reopen one until years later.

A former Western Auto employee who worked in the late 70s, told me in 1996, that one day, the American People (who could remember) would look back and say that Walmart was the worst thing to ever happen to America.



Anonymous said...

Isn't it fitting that Sam Walton's autobiography is titled "Sam Walton; Made in America?"

Anonymous said...


1000.00 invested in 2009 has only increased to 2700.00 in 2019.

CAGR = 10.44%

Anonymous said...

Many of the brands that were built on quality now must meet the demands of shareholders. So its all about building cheaply, selling high and stock price. It's why I don't buy many of the popular brands. You are simply paying for marketing, not quality. A standard, no brand, T shirt is $6.00-$8.00. Put Izod, Nike or Guy Harvey on it and it is $30.00. No thanks.

Anonymous said...

U.S. consumers are all about glitz and image. Ford sold millions of Mustangs that appeared to be personal performance cars but most were just Falcons under the phony image. How much are Americans paying for dual exhausts on 4 cylinder Toyota SUVs? And the multi gabled and high pitch roofs that are still in vogue are outrageously expensive and as out of place in most of America as igloos. And how can anyone whose wife owns a Gucci bag criticize a man who wears his pants hanging below his butt cheeks? Damn the cost or inconvenience just give them the IMAGE.

Anonymous said...

12:25 PM, you don't get out much, do you?

The XY Chromosome individuals with the sagging pants, typically copulate with the sort of females displaying Gucci bags. 'Wives', is not a particularly relevant word, when describing that population.

I would add that when such individuals prove themselves adept at doing things with balls, they tend to become the stereotypical buyers of the ridiculous houses with the silly roofs.

Anonymous said...

11:23- It won't do any good. This generation couldn't even figure out how, if needed, to live without store bought toilet paper. Don't think most of the population will be sewing on buttons or fixing shit.

Anonymous said...

P.T.Barnum had it all figured out and today's media pedals useless products and lets the suckers pay it off in easy monthly charges against their credit cards. And just look at the idiots who rush in to pay $65,000 for an SUV because they can stretch the payments out to 84 months with zero interest and put off the first 4 payments.

And this is one Geezer who hasn't made a car payment in 45 years or a house note in 28 years (I wrote checks for my current home and a dozen or so cars) and never had a check bounce in my life. But I went to work early and stayed late for 40 years like many Geezers. The under 40 crowd might give that a trial run.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry 6:43.

These youngsters have no clue what may be in store for them after were're gone.

If they can't change a flat tire or boil an egg today, Lord help em' when the elitrical grid goes out for a few years.





Anonymous said...

As warren Zevon would say sounds like a bunch of excitable boys

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