Reconciling assholes for nearly a decade.

Power tools

We get heaps of junk mail catalogues - most of which I ignore. But one last weekend had shop power tools - drills, sanders, jigsaws or angle grinders for 15AUD each.

Cripes that's cheap, wondering if they work and how long they would last in action. Then I pick up the next flyer. Same stuff but $9.95 each. That's 7USD. Cheaper than a cask of red. Or a pack of smokes.

I'd like to know what this signifies as it seems to fly in the face of all reason. A sessile 4 plug powerstrip for 2 bucks I can understand but power tools used to be stuff you would carefully check out before committing serious money to.

Moving up a notch, there are reasonably well made Chinese copies of DeWalt designs for a fraction of the DeWalt price - not that I'm overly fond of that particular brand - simply an example. Other brands such as Hitachi are also copied. Consumers must love the prices and it can't be complete crap, otherwise it wouldn't be there.

So what's the price of a cheap Chinese drill at WalMart? Or ASDA?

Just a thought. Some time ago if a big bakery wanted to starve out a smaller competitor they would undercut the price of bread throughout the target market until the victim sold up or went out of business.
Permalink trollop 
March 21st, 2005
"and it can't be complete crap, otherwise it wouldn't be there. "

I wouldn't be so sure of that.

Chinese copies are rampant, but they also typically have small flaws that can lead to big problems. They also put lots of first world employees out of jobs, but it's up to you whether that troubles you or not.

I suppose that eventually the global economy will have to stabilize. The US economy is almost certain to fall in the next handful of decades. I just wonder whether we might go through a NASTY depression before things equal out and we're all working white collar jobs, or if it's just going to be total anarchy from which we'll never recover.

</tangent>
Permalink muppet 
March 21st, 2005
"Cheaper than a cask of red. Or a pack of smokes."

Those are some expensive smokes. US$7 per pack?
Permalink Flasher T 
March 21st, 2005
>> Consumers must love the prices and it can't be complete crap, otherwise it wouldn't be there. <<

I have a friend who used to work for a Japanese firm located here in the US. His job was production scheduling -- in order to ship 4000 widgets on Friday, he decided which machine tools needed to be run, and for how long. But whenever one of the Japanese supervisors would see a machine idle, they would immediately order someone to begin running it, whether or not the parts it produced were needed. Their reasoning was that it was the factory's job to make all the widgets they could, and it was the salesforce's job to sell them, no matter how cheaply.

My point here is that sometimes production is "pushed" out the factory door, and isn't based on any actual customer demand. So when you see absurdly low prices on items which require a fair amount of machine tooling to produce, that's probably what's going on. Despite the cheap labor available in China, there's no way they could produce that product at that price level simply because the cost of materials is greater than the price they're selling it at. The firm is trying to build market share at the expense of profits.

And all of us who were around for the dot-com bust know how successful that strategy is, right?
Permalink example 
March 21st, 2005
A better example of this strategy might be Japanese cameras in the 1950s or cars in the late 1960s. Each type of product was a "self evident joke" at the beginning.
Permalink Bored Bystander 
March 21st, 2005
The average home user power drill gets used less than 20 minutes in its entire lifetime.

So it may well be worthwhile buying stuff that's not going to last, unless your grandchildren like DIY.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 21st, 2005
Christ. I've used a power drill for more than 20 minutes on one job. Damn tough those conrete lintels.
Permalink Or do I mean lentils? 
March 21st, 2005
The worst thing about chinese drills are thier chucks (especially the speeed chucks). After a few uses the teeth become mis-aligned and there is no gripping power on the bit.
Permalink Yo 
March 21st, 2005
Don't buy a cheap router. I could have gouged an eye out when the damn router bit slipped off.
Permalink fuckinSlave 
March 21st, 2005
+1 on the router. I have an ancient halfhorse B+D router and doublecheck the collet every time since a bit crawled out under power and pinged around the workshop like a squashball on speed. Fine unit.

I should have mentioned the DeWalt knockoffs from GMC come with a year's guarantee (I have a GMC biscuit jointer that works just fine). Don't know about the real cheapies which would be covered by "fitness for purpose" provisions in our regulations.

Are these tools sold in the US and for how much?

Muppet: yes - it does trouble me a great deal. Australia sells minerals, coal and gas to the world and China is becoming a very significant trading partner. We also sell services and knowhow to a lesser degree but the contempt shown to IP by the Chinese amongst others hurts us less than it does the USA as we are less reliant on that sector.

Yet their product is allowed to be sold on the world market at a killer price. I don't see the USA taking this lying down and the trade dispute could get heated when IT, pharma and other sectors are threatened.
Permalink trollop 
March 21st, 2005
Flasher: Most of our ciggie packs contain 25. Cough on this:

http://www.vctc.org.au/tc-res/latest.htm

Excise of course.
Permalink trollop 
March 21st, 2005
>>> Christ. I've used a power drill for more than 20 minutes on one job. Damn tough those conrete lintels.

Buy the cheap stuff for one-off jobs or to learn how to use them. I only had to drill into concrete once, so a $40 hammer drill was good enough, I don't care how long it lasts now. Not much of a woodworker, bought a $180 compound mitre saw just to play around with. If I still have enough fingers left after a few projects, I'll look at the $1000 Dewalt.
Permalink Ward 
March 21st, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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