Whatever happened to quality?

Published 12:10 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2023

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By Jack Godbey

Contributing Columnist

Is it just me, or is it getting harder to find a quality-made product. I’ve always subscribed to the idea that you get what you pay for. However, these days it seems I’m paying premium prices for dollar-store quality. For example, I came in from doing yard work and was hungrier than a bear. I came roaring through the house pushing any obstacles out of my way to the kitchen and stepping on the cat’s tail in the process, which reminded me to clip the cat’s nails. I yanked open the fridge door and the handle came off in my hand. My parents had a refrigerator that lasted over 20 years. Now, this expensive fancy model that I have that does everything except butters my toast literally comes apart in my hand. So much for quality.

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My smoke detector began to beep two weeks ago and was driving me crazy. I first thought it was a cricket. However, after searching the house over, I determined that the culprit was my smoke detector. I went to the store to purchase batteries. When I saw how much they cost, I looked like Fred Sanford standing in the middle of Walmart holding my heart and telling Elizabeth I was coming home to her. I wasn’t trying to invest my entire savings account in batteries. I just wanted that annoying chirping sound to go away. I bit the bullet and purchased the batteries. Two days later, you guessed it; the smoke detector was chirping again. Now, instead of batteries, I have to purchase a new smoke detector because that one may have been smashed with a hammer.

I’m the kind of man who finds something that I like, and I stick with it. I bought a coat at JCPenney sometime around 2001 and it’s been with me every winter since. Sure, the zipper sticks, and it may have a stain or two on the front from a taco experience that went horribly wrong but still, it’s a well-made coat and I refused to part with it. My wife drew the line and said it was time to go coat shopping. She pried my fingers from my old coat while convincing me that everything would be fine. It seems that things have changed a bit in the coat world since 2001. They seem to want me to cash in my savings bonds to afford a coat that looks like something Pee Wee Herman would wear.

Is it possible to find a coat that is like me, cheap but tough as nails? It seems the answer is a hard no. So, with no other options, we purchase the Pee Wee Herman coat, as my wife says that it looks great on me. I take it home and the first time I wear it, the zipper busted wide open. I like to think that had more to do with the poor quality of the coat and less about my addiction to Snickers. I quickly ran to the closet and dug out my old coat out and put it on for a great reunion.

If you see me out be sure to say hello. I’ll be the guy wearing the taco-stained coat with my wife pretending she doesn’t know me.