What were they thinking?

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#1
Every so often, I pick up and examine tools and gadgets for sale at stores which are intended for the "casual" user (versus the professional.) These are obviously inexpensive copies of professional grade tools and implements. Even so, while not expecting such products to meet NIST standards, I would expect them to be serviceable for casual use.

Such is rarely the case. In the past week, while visiting friends and acquaintances and some business establishments like saloons, restaurants, dry cleaners, a lawyer's office, I came across the following examples of things these folks were using in their homes and businesses which were either very shoddy or actually unsafe.

The list from just this week, with my comment in parentheses"

  • stainless steel kitchen scissors (held together by a plain steel rivet which had rusted to the point the scissors wouldn't work)
  • screwdrivers (tip hadn't been hardened and was chewed up and warped)
  • desk stapler (with sharp metal edges - owner admitted having been cut, but hadn't thrown it out)
  • stainless steel kitchen knife set (all rivets in handles were plain steel and were severely rusted)
  • drill bits (plated, with plating chipping off, not hardened, bendable with hand pressure)
  • padlocks (rusting badly)
  • stainless steel tea kettle (knob on lid held on with plain steel rivet which had corroded badly)
  • spatter screen for stovetop cooking (plain steel mesh and frame badly rusted from water vapor from cooking)
  • unbranded plastic party cups (brittle plastic, cracking open with little hand pressure while gripping one full of beverage)
  • metal forks at a restaurant (stamped from soft stainless alloy which hadn't been completely deburred or which picked up nicks in use - able to injure diners' mouths)
 
Elsmar Forum Sponsor

Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Moderator
#2
Every so often, I pick up and examine tools and gadgets for sale at stores which are intended for the "casual" user (versus the professional.) These are obviously inexpensive copies of professional grade tools and implements. Even so, while not expecting such products to meet NIST standards, I would expect them to be serviceable for casual use.

Such is rarely the case. In the past week, while visiting friends and acquaintances and some business establishments like saloons, restaurants, dry cleaners, a lawyer's office, I came across the following examples of things these folks were using in their homes and businesses which were either very shoddy or actually unsafe.

The list from just this week, with my comment in parentheses"

  • stainless steel kitchen scissors (held together by a plain steel rivet which had rusted to the point the scissors wouldn't work)
  • screwdrivers (tip hadn't been hardened and was chewed up and warped)
  • desk stapler (with sharp metal edges - owner admitted having been cut, but hadn't thrown it out)
  • stainless steel kitchen knife set (all rivets in handles were plain steel and were severely rusted)
  • drill bits (plated, with plating chipping off, not hardened, bendable with hand pressure)
  • padlocks (rusting badly)
  • stainless steel tea kettle (knob on lid held on with plain steel rivet which had corroded badly)
  • spatter screen for stovetop cooking (plain steel mesh and frame badly rusted from water vapor from cooking)
  • unbranded plastic party cups (brittle plastic, cracking open with little hand pressure while gripping one full of beverage)
  • metal forks at a restaurant (stamped from soft stainless alloy which hadn't been completely deburred or which picked up nicks in use - able to injure diners' mouths)
Good point.

While I agree that some instances are indeed examples of bad design or bad quality practice/mindset, there are at least 2 logical reasons I can think of for creating products that might seem substandard:

1. Sometimes articles are intentionally made to not last for too long, as to encourage replacement purchases. Once upon a time items were designed and engineered to last as long as possible - see the VW Beetle for example - but then people needed to buy new ones much less. Today cars are designed to only last so much and that's it. If a modern car that is not top of the line lasts more than 20 years, it's quite an exception (but then most people also don't want to drive cars designed 20 years ago...)

2. Sometimes it's a matter of being fit-for-purpose vs. cost. The padlocks could be an example. Some products are offered in different variants for indoor use only (minimal weather protection), for "mild" outdoors conditions (eg galvanised or zinc-plated) or for extreme weathering (eg good quality stainless steel). Of course, prices vary accordingly. In such cases it's mostly up to the consumer to pick the right one for the use (and many times they just don't). To see a product consistently performing well there needs to be a quality-driven process in place at the manufacturer's side, but there also needs to be a similar process (albeit not a conscious one) at the customer's side, ie understanding upfront what the requirements are and what's necessary for satisfying them.

Other than that, sometimes you come across "scams" - a low grade product is made in a large quantity at very low costs, not intending to last in the market. One batch (or a few) is made and sold, and by the time customers have realised that it's a bad product the (large) profit has already been made and the product is already retired. And on we go to the next bad quality alternative...
 
Last edited:
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Wes Bucey Queen Mary 2 - What were they thinking? Fire safety rule breaches Preventive Action and Continuous Improvement 16
S Internal audit discrepancy - We missed a few audits that were scheduled Internal Auditing 12
qualprod To raise a NC beyond the audit scope? Two signatures were missing ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 11
I Who has had to move from ISO 9001:2015 to ISO 13485 and what were the challenges? ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 7
B ISO 9001:2015 6.1.1 b - Enhance desirable effects - No opportunities were addressed ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 10
J If Corrective and Preventive Action were truly Effective IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 3
D QMS Performance Based on how many NCRs were generated month to month Nonconformance and Corrective Action 8
S Can we sell units that were chosen for process validation? ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 6
K Operator Checks - How to show that they were completed on a checklist as acceptable IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 2
M EN ISO 15197:2015 - Glucose meters that were CE marked to EN ISO 2013 Other Medical Device Related Standards 2
I Catch up 510(k) - Non-significant changes were made Other US Medical Device Regulations 1
T How to handle 510(K) submisison in 2014 when the Fees were paid in FY13 ? US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 3
Ajit Basrur Medical device recalls in Q2 2013 were 30% higher than previous quarter ! Other US Medical Device Regulations 2
R Reorganization - Some New Employees were placed as Managers over some Owners Quality Manager and Management Related Issues 7
K Have you ever behaved differently because you were being watched? Coffee Break and Water Cooler Discussions 7
T Vernier Caliper Accuracy Issue - Inside measurements were slightly off General Measurement Device and Calibration Topics 7
E Comments on our 510k submission - Symbols in our device labeling were not described 21 CFR Part 820 - US FDA Quality System Regulations (QSR) 1
B Addressing Lots that were measured with Out of Tolerance Gage Pins Nonconformance and Corrective Action 5
N Marketing Material with Pictures that were Updated ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 1
arios Which of you were members of Boy-Scout or Girl-Scouts associations? Coffee Break and Water Cooler Discussions 25
Marc Newsweek admits how wrong they were about the internet After Work and Weekend Discussion Topics 5
S Salt spray test on nickel? Parts were plated to QQ-N-290 Manufacturing and Related Processes 5
Q Where were you on 9/11/2001 when the world trade center got hit? Coffee Break and Water Cooler Discussions 28
A Quality Metrics that I should include if I were reporting Quality Manager and Management Related Issues 6
T Refurbished class 2 medical device which were returned because of 'Customer Remorse' 21 CFR Part 820 - US FDA Quality System Regulations (QSR) 19
J What to do if equipment IQ and OQ were never signed off ? Nonconformance and Corrective Action 4
R Sample Failure/Qualification Test Failure? - A few units were tested many years ago! AS9100, IAQG, NADCAP and Aerospace related Standards and Requirements 13
M We were Recently Audited (ISO 13485 & Related) - With 3 Minors! ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 6
Wes Bucey The ASQ blogs - were you aware of them? ASQ, ANAB, UKAS, IAF, IRCA, Exemplar Global and Related Organizations 34
T No prevention modes were in place - Surveillance Audit Finding IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 9
SteelMaiden What does 99.9% success look like if processes were 99.9% accurate? Training - Internal, External, Online and Distance Learning 19
ScottK If Super Heroes were Real would you support a Registration Act? Coffee Break and Water Cooler Discussions 11
L Does anyone know were I can find opportunities for a foreign application? Immigration and Expatriate Topics 5
R Were can I find a copy of the Shall's for TS16949 IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 4
Marc GM worldwide sales were at their highest level in 27 years World News 5
C ISO 9000:2005 - What changes were made? ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 1
R Auditors Point of View: What were your worst audits and bad experiences? General Auditing Discussions 7
J Training Question - Maintain copies of *what* people were trained on? Training - Internal, External, Online and Distance Learning 26
Douglas E. Purdy ANSI/ASQ Z1.4-2003 - 1993 version vs. the 2003 - What changes were made? Various Other Specifications, Standards, and related Requirements 2
I Records that never were a document...? Shipping Labels and Computer 'Screens'? Records and Data - Quality, Legal and Other Evidence 7
E Multiple Registrations at One Site - Operations were Separated - Four different QMS's ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 18
S Delivery performance- Supplying part quantities which were not in our acknowledgement Preventive Action and Continuous Improvement 6
J We were recommended for TS 16949 Certification IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 15
M We Were Recommended for TS 16949:2000 Cerification! IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 8
B Have you ever applied for a training grant, what were the results? Who? Where? Training - Internal, External, Online and Distance Learning 29
D I thought that MIL-Q-9858A, MIL-I-45208A and MIL-STD-45662 were obsolete Various Other Specifications, Standards, and related Requirements 19
B Exclusion of Design - Problem if we were to design? & Sample exclusion Text Design and Development of Products and Processes 18
M 25th September 2002 - We were recommended for ISO / TS 16949:2002 Certification IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 21
S What aspects of the ISO 9001 1987 standard were changed in the 1994 revision ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 3
M Informational Critical Thinking and the Process of Evidence-Based Practice Medical Device and FDA Regulations and Standards News 0

Similar threads

Top Bottom