Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – March 17, 2008: WHAT PRICE JUNK?

I went into a consumer electronics supermarket yesterday to browse while my wife was in a clothing shop next door. I hadn’t been in one of those supermarkets in a few years because I get all of my equipment direct from manufacturers during the review process.

I was shocked to see how much of the stuff in that store was simply junk.

We have really gotten ourselves into a “Wait until the price comes down before I buy,” tragedy. DVD players for $99, “100 watt x 5″ receivers for $179.95, even some digital video cameras that look like they came out of cereal boxes as prizes.

What the hell are we doing to ourselves? Does anyone truly believe they will get quality when they purchase that kind of equipment? The manufacturers are not at fault here. We are, because we have insisted over the years that we are only interested in one thing: the price. So, quality has spiraled down to the point that just about everything out there is built with the lowest priced parts. Maybe the top two items on the shelf are good quality, and the rest¬† . . . well, you probably should purchase the extended warranty, but if you do that, you will have paid a total dollar amount that would have been the same if the product had been high quality to begin with and you didn’t need the extended warranty.

As for myself, I have never been a “got to have it right now” kind of person. I don’t mind waiting until I put away enough cash to buy what I really want: the good stuff. Problem is, the good stuff is getting harder and harder to find. It’s out there alright, but I have to look for it.

Sometimes I wonder if we are losing our self respect.

6 Responses to “Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – March 17, 2008: WHAT PRICE JUNK?”

  1. Maurice J Says:

    I agree totally, but I’m keeping my self-respect.

  2. Gary Says:

    This is nothing new. I’m well over fifty yrs. old, and the world has been like this for as long as I can remember. The old cliche’: “you get what you pay for”
    As for electronics, the quality products are still available without a major ordeal to find them. Read and stay current on what’s available, and from where. I’ve had no difficulty locating and buying Klipsch, Denon, Miller & Kreisel, Harman Kardon, Pioneer . . . which all comprise my HT setup.
    No disrespect intended, but I fail to see what your rant is all about.
    The world is what it is, and don’t expedt it to change any day soon.

  3. John Johnson Says:

    Well, it just seems that the quality in the electronics supermarkets is the lowest I have ever seen. A consumer will say, “Why should I pay $1,000 for a surround sound speaker system if I can get it for $99?” It used to be, “Why should I pay $1,000 for a surround sound speaker system if I can get it for $599?” The $599 system was not really all that bad. But . . . $99? The garbage can cost almost that much.

  4. Todd Says:

    Seriously you should see the expression on the face of some of the people I try and “educate” about buying HT products , they think I’m an idiot for spending $7500 on my whole HT system …I mean really when you think about it $7500 isn’t THAT much for an entire set-up , they scoff when I tell them to spend at least $1500 on their sound system thats when I just walk away.

  5. John Johnson Says:

    Yup. Been there, done that. One of my relatives is a multi-millionaire, and after putting in a surround sound system, he said to me, “Wow, those subwoofers sure are expensive.” I asked him how much he paid for it. He said, “$299.”

    But, I don’t feel that the average consumer is “cheap”. I think they are just unaware of the quality of hi-fi that is available out there, and they don’t realize how much better it sounds.

    They need to realize that if they are willing to spend $500,000 on a home, $50,000 on a car, and $10,000 on a fancy stove in their “gourmet” kitchen, why should they expect to only spend $500 on a complete surround sound system.

  6. ender21 Says:

    Priorities. If they’re really spending a significant amount elsewhere (say, on that gourment kitchen), then that means they value the products purchased for the kitchen more than they value the quality of the products in their surround sound setup. If the reverse were true, then it would be the Viking blogs awash with lamentations on the death of the gourmet kitchen.

    If they’re *not* spending much money on anything else, then they just may not have the disposable income necessary to partake in this hobby at a level satisfactory to most audio/videophiles, or the interest. At that point I’d say, be glad they’re partaking at all. They’re what got DVD such market penetration and ultimately what will get blu-ray and other HDM to a similar level of penetration, which will lead to the “great old movies” (to allude to JEJ’s other recent blog) and other back catalog items becoming available for consumption.

    Gotta take the good with the bad. J6P’s bargain-hunting and tight-fistedness could have just as many benefits as detriments.

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