Made in ???

The problem with poor-quality foreign parts

greg-burnet-bathroomRemember the term “Made in the U.S.A.”? It wasn’t that long ago that the phrase was often used by manufactures to instill confidence in the product they were promoting. By-and-large, American manufacturers have produced good-quality parts and materials. In my 25+ years in the trades, I can only recall a couple of incidents where we received a part or component made in the U.S. of such poor quality that it failed immediately after being installed.

This past week, perhaps to remind us of the “global economy” in which we now live, my company experienced three part failures in the span of about two working hours—all on the same job. The products in question weren’t made in the U.S., or any other country known for its ability to turn out finely-crafted components. They were all made in Asia. Now, neither myself (who spec’d the tub faucet drain, which leaked immediately) nor the plumber (who supplied two copper fittings of suspect quality) set out to buy these inferior products—on the contrary, both parties attempted to purchase and install good-quality materials. But fate, and the seeming demise of manufacturing in this country, created what I can only describe as an enraging situation.

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