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Is the world becoming a DFO?

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  • Is the world becoming a DFO?

    I had to leave the confines of my inner sanctum and go shopping again for something to automatically feed my cats when I work late or super early. Wow! Globalisation and mass manufacturing have certainly created choice....the choice to buy plastic crap from China at stupid prices.

    Nowhere could I find more than one option. The only auto-feeder in the universe. A dinky plastic dog bowl with a battery operated lid. And what is the price of this marvel of modern manufacturing? $89.99....

    Dont get me wrong. Im not cheap. Id be quite happy to pay $89.99 for something worth more than 10 cents. Id also be quite happy to accept a choice of one type of 10 cent bowl....if it only cost a few bucks. But it seems the combination of cheap manufacturing and chasing the lower end of the market gives us a 10 cent bowl for $100....

    And I can find countless other instances where Made In China and the creating of products down to a certain profit margin has eradicated consumer choice. The once well crafted products are undercut on price until they can no longer exist, then in the absence of competition the prices on the inferior product are jacked up to stupid levels. There are a great number of household goods where quality can no longer be purchased at all.

    Out and about yesterday I felt like I was wandering in an endless $2 shop, where everything is cheap and tacky but the price stickers are highly variable.

    Increasingly the only place to buy a quality product these days are from toolshed innovators who make a small living out of their passions. But they do it for the love not the tiny profit margins they are left with. Its amazing (or rather appauling) that you can traverse the entire world and yet find identical shopping malls, filled with the same franchises the world over. Its actually a real mission to visit a foreign country and come back with a product unique to the region you visited.

    Cant say Im a fan of this trend. :-/

  • #2
    Re: Is the world becoming a DFO?

    Originally posted by 626D607360676D6E010 link=1332387874/0#0 date=1332387874
    Out and about yesterday I felt like I was wandering in an endless $2 shop, where everything is cheap and tacky
    The large shopping centres are busy and climate controlled but are cold and soulless at the same time.

    I had a cousin come to Geelong a couple of years ago with his wife and they planned on going for a walk along the main streets for a bit of "window shopping". Instead of interesting "Ma and Pa" boutique/specialist small businesses they found street after street of $2 shops, pawn brokers, cheque cashers and for lease signs on empty shops of broken dreams. There was nothing the wanted to walk into, nothing they wanted to buy even though they had dollars in their pocket ready to burn.

    Retail everywhere has suffered from the "shopping mall" / "sausage factory" giants that seem to unload stock during key sale dates in the calendar.

    Disposable society and screwing down on price with no value placed on service is hurting all retail outlets. Its really not a pretty picture.

    For the suburban and city shopping strips, our local council is looking at the Renew Newcastle model of getting the arty types into vacant properties for free rent (or a token $100/month) and bringing some life and colour back into the strips.

    Renew Australia is expanding that into making use of a whole lot of different empty spaces.

    Its a great concept and with enough support from the landlords and the consumers it should do something to help stem the tide.


    • #3
      Re: Is the world becoming a DFO?

      Ha yep Andy I agree great concept, cant say it worked for Newcastle though, since DavidJones closed down no one goes there bar the people that work in the offices in the surrounding streets or people that have caught the train or are catching a train.  Even the people that live there shop elsewhere.

      Cant half tell Im really disappointed in Newcastle can you!!!

      Oh well besides when they have the hippy festival that is now held in the old DavidJones building  ;D


      • #4
        Re: Is the world becoming a DFO?

        Renewal does happen on small scale though. When Fendi, Gucci, and other big brands turned their back on the italian leather industry in favour of chinese factories an American brand re-employed the leather workers to make a high-end luggage range. I own a $400 tote bag by this company and I can tell you my tote bag will still be living long after Im gone. Its also one of the most beautiful items of luggage I own. I cant bring myself to use it because I dont want to scratch the leather. Its an object DArt in my home.... :

        I am constantly looking for niche products and companies like this to spend my money with. They dont make $50 products, but what they do make only needs to be bought once. Anything with the word vintage on it commands a high price these days because people are beginning to understand that those items have value beyond their function. They were made to last and almost nothing made in the past 30yrs was.

        My sewing machine was made in 1920, Ive owned it for 25yrs and its never needed repair or servicing, not once. Even if I needed another machine I would never buy anything made post 1960 now.


        • #5
          Re: Is the world becoming a DFO?

          The coffee industry is the same.Everyone roasting the same beans,claiming that theirs is the best.Sourced from exploited labour at cents per kilo and sold roasted for $ 40 plus.Seems the bigger the roasting company,the worse they get!


          • #6
            Re: Is the world becoming a DFO?

            I can see this thread getting going off-topic in the off-topic area.

            Originally posted by 2B222C2B2F20214E0 link=1332387874/4#4 date=1332460027
            Sourced from exploited labour at cents per kilo
            Really?  Please let me know who in the planet is selling at cents per kilo?

            Commodity grade coffee (think floor sweepings) is fetching around $4.50/kg at the farm (plus freight).  I doubt many in the world are selling their coffee for less than that.


            • #7
              Re: Is the world becoming a DFO?

              Sorry Andy,I wasnt having a dig at you or anyone related to this site,more the multinational corporate end. Yes ,it is available at 40 cents per kilo direct from the farmer as shown on a recent telly doco on Timor. They actually interviewed the farmer and his family with a warts and all report on the current political situation.Im pretty sure the farmer said 40 cents.


              • #8
                Re: Is the world becoming a DFO?

                Originally posted by 6C656B6C686766090 link=1332387874/6#6 date=1332497917
                as shown on a recent telly doco on Timor
                I would like to see that doco, Ive got an interest in East TImor.  Let me know what it was called if you can find it.

                Originally posted by 6C656B6C686766090 link=1332387874/6#6 date=1332497917
                Im pretty sure the farmer said 40 cents.
                He might have.  I would guess he was getting diddled by the middleman that buys from the farmer and sells to the coffee mill.  Most subsistence farmers dont have the knowledge, skills or capital to process the cherry so they sell it to a "buyer" who does the logistics to get it milled.

                Most will sell whole cherry for a price like that unpulped.  Which will still workout to $2 - $2.50 a kilo of end product beans.

                The coffee needs to be pulped, dried, parchment removed, graded and sorted before its ready to be sold.  That part of the process is very labour intensive and attracts more cost than growing the cherry did.

                Add another $2.50/kg for the milling and you are at $5/kg with the beans still at the mill.

                Then there is shipping across their country, into a container, fumigated, put on a ship and travels across the world with tons more labour to make that happen and lots of expense/risk.  Then it comes off the ship, gets inspected, gets stored, sold, roasted, packed, shipped and at some point goes into a grinder to make a cup of coffee.

                $0.40 or $0.50 is not going to be too far off the mark for cherry.

                This is exactly why FairCrack put pulpers and raised drying beds into Tanzania, if the farmer can process the cherry to dried parchment they get $5-$7 a kilo and the milling is cheaper.

                Ive tried to do the same in East Timor but its been trickier with the problems there.  Its still a work in progress (that I dont want public dicsussion about for fear it will hinder the process) but I hope we can get similar FairCrack projects off the ground for our near neighbours too.

                The media and journos love to show a poor farmer and compare the cherry price to the price of coffee in a cafe but not very often will they look at the whole chain and the costs.

                Aussie farmers are getting paid 17 cents a kilo for wheat yet you buy bread at $4 a loaf... you dont have to be in a third world country to see that value adding to a raw product can make a big difference to the people that grow it.