Oh Say Can't You See?
The Market Ticker - Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-04-21 05:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 212 references Ignore this thread
Oh Say Can't You See?
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You have to love The Atlantic and their "slant" on alleged "news":

Brick-and-mortar retail is having a meltdown, and economists are starting to see the effects in the job market.

Overall retail employment has fallen every month this year. Department stores, including Macy’s and JC Penney, have shed nearly 100,000 jobs since October—more than the total number of coal miners or steel workers currently employed in the U.S. Even America’s richest areas are getting hit: Employment in New York City clothing stores has fallen three years in a row, the longest period of decline on record, going back to the early 1990s.

Of course the lamentation is that unlike the coal industry (or manufacturing) there's been no political promise (empty or otherwise) to do something about this one.

Well, yeah.

Why does this shock you?

Who owns a major mainstream media outlet?  That's not the same guy who runs Amazon, is it?

And of course The Atlantic tries to make it appear that there's a racism element to it too: Manufacturing is, of course, "white men" while retail is not so-concentrated, ergo, they're all sexist and racist bastards in the medial the DC and that's why they won't report on the job loss.

But the decline of clothing-store jobs has something in common with the demise of manufacturing and mining jobs, too. They are both victims of the familiar forces of globalization and technology, which have conspired to make clothes cheaper and accessible online. 

Really?  This just started recently?  How long ago did all the textile jobs leave South Carolina?

Hmmmm....

And of course they try to claim that the losses are offset by distribution center employment.  Maybe, but there's a critical difference: You can't really replace a clerk in a store with a robot, or at least not very effectively.  But Amazon can and is mightily trying to replace employees with robotic systems -- and that will continue.  In other words the distribution center "jobs" are mostly temporary, even if "temporary" means "good for a year or three."

And, of course, The Atlantic pulls out the standard nostrums of socialism: "Universal" health care not tied to a company, etc.  I note most particularly that there is not one word about the ridiculous proliferation of monopolist behavior in that industry without which there'd be no need for "insurance" in virtually every instance at all.

But no!  We can't have that.  We can't have The Rule of Law and we can't do things that, well, make prices cheaper when it comes to those areas of pain that everyone is taking these days -- including displaced retail workers.

It is much harder to say the truth: Technology and trade make America richer as a country, but the winnings are distributed unevenly, and it’s the responsibility of government to improve the distribution without making everybody poorer in the process.

Technology maybe, trade frequently not.  Trade frequently takes the winnings and gives them to the Chinese and Mexicans.

Now exactly how is the government supposed to "improve the distribution" when it's no longer here?

Unless, of course, they're suggesting that we start using all that military hardware we have laying around.

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Vernonb
Posts: 1759
Incept: 2009-06-03

East of Sheol
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Quote:
Really? This just started recently? How long ago did all the textile jobs leave South Carolina?

I see this numbskull has no sense of the jobs leaving in the late 80's and early to mid 90's and the demographics actually affected. He prefers to cry racism. NAFTA (Jan 1, 1994) was the final tornado to create that great sucking sound. And to feed the beast of wage and environmental arbitration many of these jobs then left Mexico to go to India, Pakistan, and the far East. It had nothing to do with technology improvements - just cheaper human labor.

The article is a SHAM and a lie. Here's someone editing and writing something of which he knows absolutely nothing - Derek Thompson (editor of the Atlantic).

I know that many US southern textile manufacturers (in the region I lived) were attempting to invest more in automated equipment - looms and the like- to increase production and profits before the bottom fell out of textiles. Technology can only compete so far with cheap labor. If your technology can be undercut by cheap labor before you can recoup your investment - you are likely going to be bankrupt as well as being out of business.

Additionally having been on the inside at the time more than 50% of those manufacturing jobs in many of those facilities were for blacks and women.

These people have no shame in rewriting history - especially when it involves anyone by the name of Clinton. Of course this would not have passed w/o "bipartisan" collusion-so screw you also Newt Gingrich.

Now they want to send the jobs directly to the Pacific (east) with the TPP (Tran Pacific Partnership).

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"Mass intelligence does not mean intelligent masses."
Aztrader
Posts: 7750
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Scottsdale, AZ
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The government is in the middle and supports the retail crisis because they look the other way when the Chinese open up shop on Amazon and Ebay or even set up actual websites in the U.S. and ship directly from China with no regulations or controls whatsoever. This is no different in how they look the other way on healthcare regulation. It keeps their donors fat and ignores the damage it does to everyone else.
Since 2012, Amazon has been bringing on more and more Chinese vendors that ship directly from China. When you find products very cheap on Amazon under specific brand names, then are nothing but clones being shipped out of China. I don't know how many "Michael Kors" purse sites there are out there, but they are selling the product for 25 cents on the dollar. The Amazon stores don't tell you that they are Chinese, until you don't have your product for 2 weeks and wonder what happened. The Chinese are masters at taking an American brand that is built in China and listing it on Amazon or Ebay as the American brand and blowing out pricing. They either are the manufacturer for the US company or simply copy the product and sell it under the US UPC code. The buyer doesn't have a clue until they get a piece of crap in the mail and then it's typically to hard or expensive to return. These clones are destroying American business and Amazon or Ebay simply don't care. I spoke to one of my manufacturers yesterday and their business has completely dried up in the past couple of months. I was interested in a couple of scopes, but found them on Amazon at close to my cost. I told him that they need to ban all dealer sales on Amazon if they ever plan to get sales back up again. He and a couple other distributors are seeing the writing on the wall and need to break from these online warehouse stores in order to protect their products. It's funny how the general media continue to sell the point of low prices and fast delivery and completely ignore the damage it's doing to the rest of the economy.

Tickerguy
Posts: 148437
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Quote:
Amazon has been bringing on more and more Chinese vendors that ship directly from China. When you find products very cheap on Amazon under specific brand names, then are nothing but clones being shipped out of China. I don't know how many "Michael Kors" purse sites there are out there, but they are selling the product for 25 cents on the dollar. The Amazon stores don't tell you that they are Chinese, until you don't have your product for 2 weeks and wonder what happened. The Chinese are masters at taking an American brand that is built in China and listing it on Amazon or Ebay as the American brand and blowing out pricing. They either are the manufacturer for the US company or simply copy the product and sell it under the US UPC code. The buyer doesn't have a clue until they get a piece of crap in the mail and then it's typically to hard or expensive to return.

Yep.

This is entirely illegal, by the way, and all the facilitators are equally liable when these "products" are imported and they either know or should have (but for intentionally looking the other way), and when the product sources from offshore that burden of proof is met. That means eBAY and Amazon, but you won't find anyone that will lay charges and go after them.

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Winding it down.
Flyanddive
Posts: 2091
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Detroit
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Funny that you never see stories about how amazon has been selling counterfeit items from time to time. You can buy a Rolex from Amazon that is sold by a dealer not associated with Rolex, but they claim it's real.

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"I've seen people go into real poverty trying to pretend to be rich."
Vernonb
Posts: 1759
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East of Sheol
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The other issue with retail sales is that it seems many times when I go into a store they simply don't have anything for which am asking - especially computer parts. Or the person to whom I am talking is nearly clueless. I had one clerk tell me there was no such thing as a plugin USB Bluetooth adapter.

Their reply most of the time? "We don't carry that in the store. You can order that online." If I didn't need it now I wouldn't be there to start. So IMO big box retail stores are masters at cutting their own throats. Even their store couldn't compete online after price comparison and that is where price competition really starts to make a difference.

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"Mass intelligence does not mean intelligent masses."
Aquapura
Posts: 606
Incept: 2012-04-19

South of Canada
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How long ago was it that all of the media was lamenting how Walmart would move into town, undercut the mom & pop stores on main street and put them out of business? Now they are complaining that Amazon is putting even the big retailers out of business?? I'm no Bezos fan but we have the retailing landscape the masses asked for, counterfeit product and all.

My biggest complaint is that retail have gone so far to the online model that you can't hardly find anything beyond the basics in a brick and mortar store. There have been more than a few times I was fixing something around the house, needed a part/fitting/etc., run down to Home Depot to only be told they only offer that online but they can order it for me and ship to store in 2 days. Some pretty common items too.

Not that my random purchases are going to cover rent for a big retailer but it has conditioned me to check online before I get in the car - and more often than not the brick & mortar store isn't the cheapest. If I have to wait for it, then why pay more?? I actually like buying in stores because I want that product now, not two days later with free shipping.

Tickerguy
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Quote:
My biggest complaint is that retail have gone so far to the online model that you can't hardly find anything beyond the basics in a brick and mortar store. There have been more than a few times I was fixing something around the house, needed a part/fitting/etc., run down to Home Depot to only be told they only offer that online but they can order it for me and ship to store in 2 days. Some pretty common items too.

Yep.

If I'm working on something (car, house, pool pump, etc) and I need something I need it NOW. I will NOT wait to have it in the store; if I'm going to do that I'll get it online and ****-you-very-little to the B&M store that thinks I'm going to play "ship to store" from them.

No, I'm not. The reason I'll pay 10 or 20% more is because you have it NOW. That offsets your inventory and store cost, plus you got it on a big truck (and thus effectively paid a per-pound rate for the pallet or six that showed up at your place a week ago) where I have to pay per-piece shipping and handling charges (or someone does, and it winds up in the cost) which are RADICALLY higher than the per-pound rate.

Those in the "business world" thought they could have this both ways. They wanted to carry nothing in the building and think we'll still put up with the delay but buy locally. No, I won't. If I can have it now I'll get the job done now and you get the money. If I can't have it now then I'll buy it online and you'll get nothing.

But that's a separate issue from counterfeit products. Spamazon tries to claim they have no responsibility for this, but that simply doesn't wash especially when you don't clearly differentiate between what you stock/ship/sell ("fulfillment" at minimum all the way up to stocking) and what is some third-party's listing. If you wish to have a "homogeneous marketplace" that's fine but then your ass is on the line when people sell counterfeit products using it.

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Winding it down.

Mannfm11
Posts: 5344
Incept: 2009-02-28

DFW, Tx
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I will start out by saying that Amazon and Bezos can go **** themselves. The Washington Post is fake news trash and Bezos bought it for that purpose. I don't care if the proverbial Dallas Cowboys cheerleader came with it. Amazon has issued debt, on its imagined potential and I pray it collapses.

The truth is people, in general can't afford clothing store clothes. The cost of living in a major metropolitan area begins at $50k a year and $100k is real middle-class, like $10k was in 1970.

There are a few things that have happened in the US. Regardless of trade treaties, the various governments in the US have been systematically destroying the economy for the past 60 years. We have repeated wars that drain the nation. We have bloated bureaucracy in government, education and health that deducts, not adds to the economy. The welfare state. The paper money backed by debt, that can only be maintained by more debt. These all serve to take away from what people can buy. There is no free lunch.

The idea on line is closing these stores is total nonsense. No money in the pockets of most people is what is closing them. Did the middle-class guy comply and buy the health mandate? Rent, transportation, basic food and a place to live and poof goes $100k in a lot of areas.

You really want to know why there has been so much opposition to Trump? Any politician knows that if an outsider without a motive took one peek into the functions of government, they would see the scam. The jobs are going to pay the bureaucracy, the bribes, into the pockets of guys like Bezos. Think these billionaires are really socialist? Only when it comes to putting our money into their pockets. This is one thing that was behind the central government to start and why we demanded the bill of rights. The bill of rights was protection from those behind the constitution, not the constitution. Look what these same corporate bastards are trying to do with the bill of rights, now that so many Americans are over the barrel. The bulk of Americans are broke, including most headed into retirement. The credit card has run out.

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The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.---John Kenneth Galbraith
Dasman
Posts: 63
Incept: 2010-06-27

Lawrence, KS
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Multiple points of constraint converging, here... with the collapse of B&M stores... bare with me.

I'm a 3rd party seller on Amazon... and Chinese seller fraud has cut my revenue by 50% in the last month. My product is VERY high quality, and the customer support is unmatched. I would be surprised if there were 100 sellers on Amazon, that go as far as we do to take care of customers.

There are 10's of thousands of American sellers on Amazon, that have been making, collectively, millions of dollars on Amazon... starting out as "mom and pop" sellers, and then pushing and scaling to 6 and 7 figure a year businesses.

They are getting HAMMERED by the lax management of 3rd Party "legitimate" Chinese sellers (selling by the rules... but no marketing knowledge... so the only advantage is pricing... triggering a race to the bottom and 0 margins) and 3rd party fraudsters from China. I can live with the Chinese competition... I know how to market, and I'm good at "applied cognitive psychology" (making people see why they should buy my stuff over others), but the fraudsters are beating my ass right now.

The trend that is really killing Brick and Mortar isn't as much e-commerce stores, per say, but the technology that now lets folks make buying decisions around price, before they pull the trigger on a purchase.

The B&M folks MUST price match now... because buyers are being groomed to trade their impulse to buy RIGHT NOW for saving BIG and waiting a couple days for UPS or USPS to drop their Amazon purchase. If you buy every day on Amazon... you can get your little dopamine hit every DAY, when a box or boxes are dropped at your home. Christmas every day!

The chain retailers are at something of a disadvantage here.

5 years ago, more than 50% of folks were price comparing online before heading out to make local purchase... those numbers can only have gotten higher since. For awhile, I worked helping local biz get ranking on search... until the "SEO" scammers just got too thick to bother with that business... but back then I believed, and said so, that any B & M store that does not learn to use the internet and integrate relationship building and possibly a value add to their customer experience, will be GONE.

The majority of B & M retailers were not only not out front of the tool the internet could be for them... they got way behind before they realized they had made a huge mistake in not using the tools available to them with an internet presence. (Reminded of RIAA and Napster... and the fact that "...downloadable music is not a viable business model" claims by the industry.

Not too difficult to imagine... with tech and robotics, that we will see B & M become stores that are essentially giant vending machines, with very very few human beings working to run the retail infrastructure.

The data and materials industry now, along with robotics, suggests, if money can be made, that freight can move, containers dropped and unloaded, and inventory managed and placed entirely by machines.

Don't know if I'll live to see it get to that level of automation... but anybody in their early to mid 40's likely will... if running things that way is economic, and there are customers who can buy crap.

There is also an advantage to all the states, in pointing out the trouble B & M are having... it has, over the last few years, taken the blame away from retailers, for not leveraging the internet, and placed it on e-commerce, and final broken down the objections to taxation of online sales. States need the revenue desperately!

Interesting times, for sure... we would buy a little time for average business owners, by restricting access to our markets, online... and from a quality standpoint, brick and mortar, and scrutinizing Chinese products more closely.
Lanny
Posts: 63
Incept: 2010-12-21

Canada
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Perfect example recently, I needed an Ionic Magnesium health product (essentially a vitamin), and so I searched online (Amazon) and found many options for various prices, some from this country, some from neighbouring USA, and when I saw the ship dates were a week or more away I immediately switched my buying behaviour -- I sourced it from a large health food store that is (inconveniently) 45 min away (not in the direction I usually travel). I've bought from them before and they even have a good internet presence and webstore -- but I wanted it now.
So for the sake of having it within 24 hrs I spent time and effort to find a friend who would pick it up for me. Sure it cost a bit more, but in my mind it was fully justified because I got what I wanted, and time (the 'now' factor) is often worth it. Home Depot 24 hr stores are a perfect example.
So my $50 went to a B&M rather than Amazon, even though I like Amazon and they frankly had the better product variety (the reviews are always helpful too, although one has to weed through them as I'm sure if I can always trust them).
Amazon lost. Why? Because the competition cost more, but was faster.
Dasman
Posts: 63
Incept: 2010-06-27

Lawrence, KS
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I guess I should add this remark to my previous "rant"... because it's so ironic.

I personally know 100's of Americans, who have created "mom and pop" stores on Amazon, by arranging manufacturing, branding putting together the packaging creative, etc... and making DAMN good livings on Amazon.

Now, their businesses are being destroyed by scum bag Chinese sellers rushing onto Amazon, and offering no support, no real customer service, but prices that disappear the margins of the Mom and Pop sellers with similar products who can't make money competing against these people.
Bodhi
Posts: 90
Incept: 2008-02-23

Georgia
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Quote:
If I'm working on something (car, house, pool pump, etc) and I need something I need it NOW. I will NOT wait to have it in the store; if I'm going to do that I'll get it online and ****-you-very-little to the B&M store that thinks I'm going to play "ship to store" from them.


Home Depot usually has the option of free "ship to store" or free "ship to home." They had a good deal last year on a fireproof safe that weighed over 100 pounds. You don't have to guess which shipping option I chose. Now if I'm planning a run to Home Depot for something I need right now I might choose "ship to store." But if it's over-sized or unwieldy then UPS will be bringing it to my front door.

As for Amazon, they have lost my trust. An item I ordered a week ago still hasn't shipped, so I requested to cancel the order. They declined and told me to refuse the package if or when it ever arrives. I ordered the same item from an eBay seller and it will be here tomorrow.
Tickerguy
Posts: 148437
Incept: 2007-06-26
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Quote:
As for Amazon, they have lost my trust. An item I ordered a week ago still hasn't shipped, so I requested to cancel the order. They declined and told me to refuse the package if or when it ever arrives.

That's one of their third-party "sellers" and it was (1) probably counterfeit and (2) shipping from China.

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Winding it down.
Topgun
Posts: 60
Incept: 2016-09-10


Banned
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Yeah, it's kind of difficult to compete with someone who can survive on .20 cents worth of rice a day, and allow them to destroy your B&M economy that provides jobs for the citizens of society who have chosen not to raise their earning value.

They probably still make a bottom line NET of 20-30% when yours is -10%.

And the Criminal 535 Gang (tm) will tell you how NAFTA is great for business, and how much American businesses export blah blah blah.

The resulting facts say different.

Yeah, isnt it great how American businesses have to turn themselves into peasants just to survive?

Criminal sumbitches. All of them.

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When Revolution comes to America, I want to shoot these sumbitches with Black Powder so they know Im not blowing smoke up their backsides.
Tickerguy
Posts: 148437
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As long as we keep allowing it to go on it will

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Winding it down.
Flyanddive
Posts: 2091
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Detroit
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I wonder if this will be covered in the new theftcare bill?
http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/owner....

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"I've seen people go into real poverty trying to pretend to be rich."
Tdurden
Posts: 512
Incept: 2015-01-29

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Home depot is persona non grata with me. Not sure if they do this elsewhere, but in Ohio you can't walk into their ******ned store without be hassled to take some survey. They have 2 or 3 of these parasites roaming the isles just waiting to hassle anyone they can. I'll drive another mile or 10 to go to a Lowes or Menards before I'll spend another cent in a home depot. If you're not there to help me, leave me alone and get the **** out of my way.

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"I'd like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next 10 generations that some favors come with too high of a price." -Vir Cotto Babylon 5
Flappingeagle
Posts: 2565
Incept: 2011-04-14

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A lot of B&M stores are so into JIT and trying to reduce inventory that they often only have ONE of an item in stock. When you need two of an item you have to go to two different stores.

Flap

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Here are my predictions for everyone to see:
S&P 500 at 320, DOW at 2200, Gold $300/oz, and Corn $2/bu.
No sign that housing, equities, or farmland are in a bubble- Yellen 11/14/13
Trying to leave the Rat Race to the rats...
Tickerguy
Posts: 148437
Incept: 2007-06-26
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Quote:
I wonder if this will be covered in the new theftcare bill?

But it's the Great Religion of Pieces!

Pieces of vaginas, labia, clitorii......

Yeah. Exactly how far does this have to go before we recognize this horse**** for what it is?

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Winding it down.
Tickerguy
Posts: 148437
Incept: 2007-06-26
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Quote:
A lot of B&M stores are so into JIT and trying to reduce inventory that they often only have ONE of an item in stock. When you need two of an item you have to go to two different stores.

True that.

Lawnmower wheel. Geared. Plastic. Distintegrates (the gearing) after a few years. The meshing gear is of course metal and survives just fine.

OK, so it's a wear part. I'm sort of ok with that. Until there's only ONE at the ****ing store.

Now tell me this -- what do you think the odds are that if one is stripped out SO WILL BE THE OTHER?

Uh huh.

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Winding it down.
Tsherry
Posts: 797
Incept: 2008-12-09

Spokane WA
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For several years now, perhaps a decade, I've been buying stuff in twos. Rototillers, which are near twins. Riding lawn tractors. Spare parts for nearly everything that has an engine.

I like what I own, I maintain it well, and when something breaks down, I get out the spare. When the damage is too severe, I buy another similar model, always used, as the new stuff isn't built as well and will not last as long. Some people think I'm an idiot to do this. I don't give a hot mess what they think.

---

I think retail's in trouble because people are 1) broke, and 2) Already have more **** than we can ever use. Their money went to Theftcare, and it's continuing to do so at an increasing rate as the Collapse continues.
Bodhi
Posts: 90
Incept: 2008-02-23

Georgia
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Another ploy by manufacturers is to redesign products so that parts for the "obsolete" item you bought 2 or 3 years ago are no longer available. I just replaced one of my mini-blinds and naturally the mounting brackets were different from the old ones.
Aztrader
Posts: 7750
Incept: 2007-09-10

Scottsdale, AZ
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The Chinese invasion can be stopped by having the Federal Government cancel the postal treaty that currently exists. This treaty has our post office literally delivering the Chinese crap for under $1.00 and is subsidized by the Post office. If these Chinese sellers were forced to pay our priority rates like the rest of the US businesses, then they couldn't compete.
Eleua
Posts: 15031
Incept: 2007-07-05
A True American Patriot!
N 47.72/ W 122.55
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Az,

Do you have a link for reading material on this postal treaty?

TIA,
El

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"My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism." - Karl Marx
"Destroy the family, you destroy the country." - Lenin
"Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." - Stalin
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