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September 24, 2014 / 74

Who’s Dumber? The Chinese or the Americans Who Buy Their Stuff? (What Difference Does It Make – Chapter 2 )

So… In Chapter 1 of “What Difference Does It Make” I told you about the watches. ( )

So here’s Chapter 2 of “What Difference Does It Make.” Now I have another (better) example of how buying Chinese may not be in Americas’ best interests.

I went to a Menards store. I saw some nice looking rain gauges. They had metal rods that you could stomp into the ground, a decorative middle (half way up the assembly) and on the top, a structure that holds a glass rain gauge. The glass “vial” looked sturdy and was neatly marked off in cm’s and inches, and it said “Toland” on the glass. It didn’t say “Made in China” anywhere on it. Nice.

Only it WASN’T nice. I failed to notice that the inches were NOT divided as “inches of rain” are divided here in the US (in tenths of an inch). They were divided in inches like on a ruler (in eighths). So you had eighths, halfs and whole inches.

Have you ever divided eighths into tenths? 1/8″ = .125″ (or “one and a quarter tenths of a tenth of an inch) and so on. I don’t know about you, but I’m not in the habit of carrying a calculator to read the rain gauge.

So now I have a rain gauge that is pretty much useless except to catch the rain, which it does admirably. Last night we received 1 3/8th of an inch of rain. Or one and .375” – which would be 1 and three tenths plus three quarters of a tenth of an inch of rain.

Nope. It just doesn’t work.

So… I went to my trusty old computer and looked up “Toland”. It seems that they make those frilly, pretty much useless “yard flags” that people clutter their lawns with. If people want to clutter their lawns with meaningless flags that’s fine with me. Maybe they are useful in some odd way – like the movement of the cloth/plastic in the wind keeps squirrels from stealing the dog food… maybe. (Is it possible to keep squirrels from stealing dog food?)

So for some reason, they decided to branch out and sell rain gauges. Now, the design of the rain gauge holders they made are probably very similar to little stick-in-your-yard flag sticks. (I’ve never owned a stick-in-the-yard flag) So it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to change the functional form to hold a really tall fluted glass. Think of the possibilities! You could feed the hummingbirds without getting bird doo on the flowers in the beds under the windows! Or… hey… WAIT!!! We could make RAIN GAUGES!!! But we aren’t set up to make little glasses. Sooo… okay. We buy the rain gauges from China! Everything’s cheap in China!

So that’s what they did. They bought the vials from China. And the Chinese dutifully put the measurement markings on them, and proudly put Toland’s name on them, and left off the “Made in China” stickers.

According to the nameless lady at Toland to whom I delivered the bad news (of the screw-up), they have a “whole warehouse of them.”


I guess that’ll teach them to not buy from China!!! Or maybe in the future they’ll just be more careful in how they order?

So it makes me feel a little better – I have a useless rain gauge but the idiots who bought from China have a whole warehouse of them. And when the word gets out, and the stores like Menards send them all back, maybe they’ll have TWO warehouses of them? Now all they need is a company to figure out how to redo the markings on the glass? Let’s hope they don’t have it done in China.



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