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Forum, April 18: Watching decline in product quality

Published: 4/17/2021 10:00:04 PM
Modified: 4/17/2021 10:00:03 PM
Watching decline in product quality

I enjoyed Dan Mackie’s recent Over Easy column (“Quality not in the cards,” April 10), and my only question is: What took him so long to notice? I’ve been watching the loss of quality in manufactured items for the last 30 years, and it continues today.

I first noticed this trend when the big-box stores came into prevalence. Everyone said they would put the small retailer out of business, which they have, by selling knockoff, low-quality products at low prices. In order to compete, small retailers slowly changed their product lines so they are now selling the same cheap products. Then, when online stores began selling the same stuff, that was the end of the small retailer.

Hardware and building supply stores are my favorite. It used to be that you could walk into any one of them and find a good quality item. Now all you find is junk. And the store owners used to stand behind what they sold; if it failed, they would provide a replacement and deal with the manufacturer themselves. Now they tell you to deal with the manufacturer.

It’s designed to be this way. Manufacturers don’t want to sell you something that lasts. They want it to fail so you have to buy another. It’s about how cheaply they can make it, not about quality. And this applies to products produced both overseas and domestically. I’ve even had a salesman tell me that of two similar items, the lower-priced one must be the best value.

I’ve gotten used to it. What amazes me is that no one seems to notice. They continue to buy junk. If it fails, throw it out and buy another. Those under 45 I can sort of understand because they’ve never known any different. And why aren’t the ecologically minded folks up in arms?

I’ve spent a lot of time looking for stuff online. If you really search, you can find a specialty store selling quality products. You have to pay a premium, and you never really know until you have it in hand.



Imposing hardships on women

I commend your coverage about telemedicine to provide abortion health care (“Abortion method raises concern,” April 12). I thought The Associated Press article tried to give a balanced view of the topic.

Despite the alarming comments noted by those quoted who are against telemedicine abortion provision and the mailing of medications, it should be noted and clarified that a vast amount of research has shown that telemedicine provision of abortion is safe. It is as safe as a clinic-obtained, early medication abortion, and more and more research is corroborating this fact. This is not a gruesome process, as claimed by one person in the article. It is physically much like a miscarriage. Women already take the medication at home and the process proceeds at home.

It needs to be clarified that what providers are trying to do is remove the unnecessary burden of having to drive all the way to a clinic, which could be hundreds of miles away, to pick up the medication. Otherwise, there is no difference. There is always support for the patients who need it. If they need emergency care, which is rare, there would be no difference if they drove the miles and hours to get to a clinic to pick up the meds versus if they picked the meds up at their mailing address.

There is only the wish to punish women (as men are never similarly punished or stigmatized) by making them drive to pick up the medications versus having them mailed. Not having to drive to a distant clinic allows women to work, care for their children or others that they care for, not miss classes, etc. It often allows them to get care more safely if they are in an abusive relationship.

There is no reason to oppose telemedicine abortion provision and the mailing of medications other than to impose barriers and hardships on women by making them drive to the clinic to pick up the medications — none. What can be done in a clinic can be done via telemedicine in the provision of an early abortion.

Women have a right to autonomy, bodily integrity, dignity and self-determination.


West Windsor

The writer is a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist.

America has a violence problem

In responding to the recent Forum letters on gun violence, I’ll add this: Background checks only work when all states are using them effectively (see Chicago).

Yes, we have a gang and drug problem (I thought the “war on drugs” was seen to be a fool’s errand, yet we continue nonetheless). We also have a mental health problem and a lack of will in Washington to study gun violence while we cut funding for mental health. We also have a violence problem, going back to the treatment of Native Americans. You can even see a violent film in the very theater where a massacre took place. Only in America!

Guns are today’s remedy for any gripe (see any day’s newspaper). Yes, people die from karate kicks, but I haven’t heard of concert-goers being wiped out by a jujitsu master yet. We also are careless with guns at home. Too many kids are killing their siblings in accidents. The American psyche is frail, with suicide (commonly by an effective gun) being too easy.

No, we can’t keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them. A speed limit sign doesn’t stop vehicles from speeding. But it tells the driver that the government cares about you and it’s a good idea to brake or speed up here. We should at least attempt to restrain our 400 pound gorillas instead of letting them run amok and blaming the guy with the wrong-colored tie. How about a permit for feral hog shooting and a penalty for giving it to someone you know is a felon or shouldn’t have a gun? If only a job was as easy to obtain as a firearm.

Finally, if you know someone who may become a threat to themselves or others, please tell someone or seek help for yourself. Emotional difficulties shouldn’t be an elephant in the room. We all need to take a deep breath. Can I get an “Amen”?



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