Thursday, June 28, 2012
Good Targets and Bad - Made in America
I keep a small rental near the city, for work and on call. It's close to where I need to get to work and my neighbor is a a young police officer and his family, who thankfully looks after it when I travel or am off work.
It's got some nice furnishings, as I sold a large four bedroom house to downsize, but like most rentals, it has all the ambience of a dental lab, with white walls and plain window fixtures. The place has two bedrooms and a little office. Unfortunately the bedroom where the occassional family member or friend bunks has a Eastern exposure. The first time I slept there, when I had all beds and couch occupied during a race weekend, including someone with a bad back using my bed with the orthopedic mattress, I got an early morning wake up call.
No wonder my guests were up so early! I thought it was anticipation of my cooking. No, it was the BLINDING sun that came through the cheap blinds. A Rooster on crack couldn't have woken them up any faster.
Time to buy drapes. And this is where my story starts. There's a super Target within an hour. It's fairly new, fancy, with clean wide aisles, all kinds of kitchen stuff, food and housewares and patrons that didn't look like they were auditioning for the circus or trying to buy ingredients for Mama's Meth Lab. I liked their grocery department, as far as selection (all kinds of bacon and Jason's maple almond butter!) and the household section looked impressive with a quick, shallow glance.
So have some folks that we as a nation, elected.
I wasn't fussy, any neutral color would do, I just wanted two sets of drapes, long enough to cover the windows, and made of a thermal material to keep out light and noise. I also needed towels to replace a few old ones that went from "shabby chic" to "did Barkley EAT this?" (Yes, that's my sock with his toy)
It did not go well. Target had LOTS of drapes on display Apparently, whomever does inventory figures six drapes per color. That would be three windows. The fact that three of those were one length (64 inch) and the other three were another length (83 inch) didn't factor in. Doing the math, that each window requires TWO drapes, was too much for the stock person here. No matter what color or style, I could NOT find two complete drapes the same color and the same length in the entire store. I'd have asked if they had any in the back had there been a clerk. Oh, wait! Maybe they were manning the 26 checkstands? No those are all empty but for the two with long lines.
On to towels. I hated to wait in line, but I did NOT want to go home with neither drapes nor towels. They had a whole wall of towels, plush, lush towels, their own brand! Oh, they were SO soft. so fluffy. Not WalMart cheap, but reasonable. I wanted to get good towels. I showered at a bachelor buddy's house after working on cars one day and found myself completely covered in blue lint after using the towel on the rack. I looked like Smurfette. No, I wanted to get some better quality towels, which is why I went to Target, not WalMart.
After purchasing the towels, I washed them and dried them in the dryer before I used them. After my shower, I ended up covered in blue lint. "Why does this look familiar? There was lint all over the tub rim and on the floor. I washed them twice before using again. Each time I cleaned the lint trap, there was enough lint in there that, had I added starch, I could have had a whole new towel.
I looked at the rapidly "less fluffy" towel to see the tag - "Made in China".
I called car buddy and said "it's like your Smurf towel!" He said "did you get yours at Target??"
Oh. . . I'm a trained forensic expert. I detect a trend here.
It's been a month, a half dozen washings and the towels are still shedding and getting thinner and rougher each time I wash them. There's still tiny spots of lint all over my tub and bathroom floor.
I think after one or two more washings, I can cut these towels into little squares and sell their thin, abrasive surface on eBay as the "DIY Glock .25 cent trigger job." I could make a fortune.
Lesson folks. If you can, buy American, you might pay a bit more but there is a reason. Quality.
With that, I'll leave you to a link to a nice little blog managed by some folks I hang out with, who appreciate quality, and are happy to pass on information(without compensation) for companies that still earn your dollar with good products, all made in America.. They don't post often, but there are some good buying hints there. Say hi to my friends Midwst Chick and Company over at Made in America.
I'll be in the bathroom mopping up lint.
But at least this weekend's guests will be able to sleep in until the bacon starts frying.