Bad Furniture and Snooping Repair Technicians
Some notes & quotes from recent reads:
No one expects an Ikea bookcase or West Elm sofa to last for generations, or maybe even to survive another move. But walk into a vintage furniture store and you’ll find all types of old pieces that were inexpensive and mass-produced in their day, yet have still managed to achieve heirloom status.
Furniture isn’t what it used to be. Fifty or 60 years ago, people thought of it as something they’d have for life — a dresser that a grown kid could take to college, a dining table where future grandchildren would have Thanksgiving. Today? Not so much.
Today’s cheaper materials and construction go hand-in-hand with the voyage that most new furniture takes across the ocean. The mainstreaming of container shipping in the 1970s “effectively erased distance” as a manufacturing concern, says Christopher Mims, author of “Arriving Today: From Factory to Front Door.” “It’s just so mind-bogglingly efficient and cheap” to transport goods around the world.
Labor is cheapest in China and Southeast Asia, so those are the places mega furniture companies tend to make their products. To drive costs down even more, they aim to cram as many of those products into as few containers as they possibly can. The result: “flat-pack” furniture that you, the lucky consumer, get to assemble at home, amid a mess of Allen wrenches and screws.
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