Friday, November 21, 2008

A Piece of Crap - Nov 21

I have a funny story to tell. Today as I was on my rounds in Newmarket I went into a Price Chopper (Leslie and Davis) store to buy a can opener (not the one pictured above). It was selling for a dollar so I bought it. I left it in the trunk of my car for about two and a half hours before I got it home. When I arrived at Casa Johnny, I went to open a can of apple juice using my new opener and the the thing promptly broke apart. No injury to report but I looked at this piece of crap in my hand and started to laugh. 'Figures', I said, 'You get what you paid for'. Turns out the cheap plastic handles were glued to the metal. As well, the metal itself was brittle to the point where I could bend and break off the lower handle. My one-piece can opener had disintegrated into three inoperable pieces in a matter of minutes. Here's the kicker: Made in China. Later on, I went to the local grocery store to pick up a replacement. Guess what? The exact same can opener was on sale there too! I decided I wasn't going to fall for the same trick twice so I kept looking. Two aisles over I found it. It was beautiful. All metal (with no plastic) and 'Made in England' to boot. Grabbed it and paid $3 for it. There appears to be a few lessons here:

I Hate Getting Ripped Off

Doesn't everybody? I mean, it was only a dollar (plus applicable taxes) right? I felt like a fool for buying such an inferior product. A company ought to stand by their product through thick and thin. In China, keeping the people employed is seen as the highest goal. Other business virtues such as quality assurance, efficiency, profitability and transparency (the enemy of corruption) are therefore relegated. If you have an inferior product, be it made in China or anywhere else, and it breaks on you well before it should - like on the first try for instance - you should go back to the place you bought it and ask to speak to a manager. In a polite tone, tell him (or her) your tale of woe and ask them to remove that product from their shelves. It is impossible for any store to vigorously check each and every item. They lack both the manpower and time to do so. In so doing, your complaint does them a huge favor. An inferior product is removed from circulation and future customers aren't inconvenienced by shoddy craftmanship. That's how a free market works. Individuals show the way, not government hacks or middle men who only care about their cut of the profits.

Entropy Is Very Much A Biblical Concept

Where are all these scoffers that tell us that science and Christianity are irreconcilable? Hogwash! The Second Law of Thermodynamics can be found here:

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
(Romans 8:22-23)

That is, things - and people - get run down, get tired, break down and sometimes just flat out fail us. Ever owned a car or truck for an extended period of time? The brakes need fixing. The tires need changing. The battery could die at a most unexpected time. The muffler could be rusty and in need of replacement. The list goes on. So while we put up with life's little breakdowns, be they expensive or cheap, it's clear this world is in a state of terminal decay. Yet when we look at this marvelous passage of scripture we are given hope for a bright future. The passage reveals an inward groaning but ends in our glorious redemption. It's amazing how a simple can opener can show the way to God's truth when we're willing to listen!

Johnny Cash

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