Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Walmart Electronic
Old 06-03-2009, 03:46 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
James5v's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 88
Walmart Electronic

I have been told that electronics bought at Walmart particularly TV's are built as cheaply as possible and do not reflect the quality of the brand name. I also understand that if they need repair one is unable to obtain parts.

One technician called about a brand name to his parts provider. When they looked in their computer it was identified as a product made specially for Walmart. They informed him they did not carry parts for this product but had parts for any of their brand name that were sold by any other store.

Can anyone verify this information?
__________________

__________________
James Otis
James5v is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-03-2009, 04:16 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,074
James, I don't have first hand knowledge but I did find this thread on an electronics forum addressing your specific question. The bottom line from the thread: Walmart models of brand name electronics may have a few less features (fewer connections, etc.) to allow them to sell at a lower price, but the products are of the same quality as anywhere else.

Are Walmart Electronics Lesser Quality? - High Def Forum
__________________

__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2009, 04:47 PM   #3
Recycles dryer sheets
James5v's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 88
Thanks for the reply.

I hear that the inside electronic also has lesser features such as poor protection from electronic surges and anything else where they can cut costs. The other problem is if anything goes wrong, you can not obtain parts for the products. That was no addressed in the forum you gave and I will post the concern there.
__________________
James Otis
James5v is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2009, 04:56 PM   #4
Moderator
ziggy29's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 15,612
I've never seen anything concrete, though I've heard this a lot. If there's any truth to it, then we need better truth in labeling because I don't think many consumers know there may be a significant quality difference between a $700 widget and a $900 widget with identical packaging. It's one thing to comparison shop based on price for the same item, but it's quite another when you're comparing an apple and an orange because the orange was packaged to look like an apple.
__________________
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
ziggy29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2009, 05:41 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rustward's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,572
I think it does happen. Not electronic, but I saw it when I was shopping for an office chair a couple of years ago. Went to a real office place and told them I saw a Global chair I liked at big box discount office place, did he have anything like it? The guy said, "That is a stripped down version of one of our near top of the line chairs. Let me show you what that chair is supposed to be like". He did, and the difference was obvious. I wound up getting the stripped down one from a liquidator after the big box store decided to stop carrying them, based on price and the fact that it met my needs.
A while back somebody who was shopping for a TV remarked that they were unable to find exactly the same models in different big box electronics stores. He was trying to do price comparisons but felt he was not able to accurately price-compare because the model numbers were slightly different in different chains.

Retail.
__________________
Rustward is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2009, 06:26 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ls99's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,792
The process for reducing cost in electronics is the time honored activity called: Muntzing. After Earl Muntz. Who liked to make stuff as cheap as possible long before wlamart was even a thought.

His method was to have engineers create for example a TV. He would the then start with a pair of side cutters (dykes as they are called in the electronics trde) cutting out components like resistors, bypass capacitors etc. until the unit failed. Then re attach that component. By following this activity he could reduce the parts count, hence the cost to a minimum. It of course meant that thing barely worked, but it did work and sell cheap.

All hail Earl Muntz, who could have given Wally a run for his money.
__________________
There must be moderation in everything, including moderation.
ls99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2009, 07:57 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustward View Post
A while back somebody who was shopping for a TV remarked that they were unable to find exactly the same models in different big box electronics stores. He was trying to do price comparisons but felt he was not able to accurately price-compare because the model numbers were slightly different in different chains.
I'm pretty sure that is deliberate, just so you cannot ask for a price match. They simply say - see, that is not the same model #. Of course not, those are unique to some of the big players.

Do they take that opportunity to cheapen the product in ways not obvious to the customer? Well, someone with the buying power of WalMart probably could, but I'm not aware that they do. Re-engineering and re-certifying (if needed) costs money too. I would not be too quick to accuse them unless someone showed me a schematic of two near identical models with surge suppressors removed, or something like that.

It may also be that they just want to include this (a case or extra charger), or exclude that for a lower sticker price, but I think the price match is a big part of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
The process for reducing cost in electronics is the time honored activity called: Muntzing. After Earl Muntz. Who liked to make stuff as cheap as possible long before wlamart was even a thought.

His method was to have engineers create for example a TV. He would the then start with a pair of side cutters (dykes as they are called in the electronics trde) cutting out components like resistors, bypass capacitors etc. until the unit failed. Then re attach that component. By following this activity he could reduce the parts count, hence the cost to a minimum. It of course meant that thing barely worked, but it did work and sell cheap.

All hail Earl Muntz, who could have given Wally a run for his money.
I heard that story back in the 70's when I was in school - but I never heard it when I got into the industry. I have a feeling there is more elaboration than substance to it.

For those who don't know, "dykes" ("dikes"? I never spelled it, only said it) is a shorthand meld of the words "Diagonal Cutters" - like a scissors, the two handles and cutters are diagonal to each other.




And no, if you do a google image search for "dykes" it will probably take a long time to find a picture like that

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2009, 08:21 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,261
OK, I took the bait and had to google "Muntzing". One of the first hits was a write up from Bob Pease (always a good read):

What's All This Muntzing Stuff, Anyhow?

For those who don't know, Bob Pease is a highly respected electrical designer. He's been around a looong time (not an ER candidate, he apparently loves what he does).

Bob tends to lean toward it being mostly a story for marketing purposes, but Bob is quite the story-teller himself. But what appears to be the very real part of the story is that Muntz had his TVs designed to target the urban areas, so the receiver could be much simpler, since it didn't need all the extra stages and stability to pick up weak signals. And probably more reliable with fewer parts. Smart, and it seemed to work until the real extra cost of the receiver came down over the years and was a lower % of the total cost.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2009, 08:32 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ls99's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,792
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
OK, Bob Pease is a highly respected electrical designer. He's been around a looong time (not an ER candidate, he apparently loves what he does).

-ERD50
Agree.
Bob is a splendid writer, in addition to being master of the craft.
__________________
There must be moderation in everything, including moderation.
ls99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2009, 09:00 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 19,389
Pease is an expert in analog circuits. There are fewer of them now.

Talk about analog circuits, when in school, I used to spend hours studying schematic diagrams of Tektronix o'scopes and HP spectrum analyzers. These were designed by the experts like Pease


PS. Sometime, it is very desirable to build with fewer parts. In aerospace applications, simplicity is highly desirable as the more parts, the more things to fail, causing reliability and even safety problems. A good design has just the minimal number of parts to satisfy the stated requirements and no more. There are rigorous product specifications so that excessive "Muntzing" would not be accepted.
__________________
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leon Trotsky
NW-Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2009, 10:19 PM   #11
Full time employment: Posting here.
CCdaCE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 887
I've heard of Walmart going to their suppliers, and reducing quality to meet a price target. Pickles was the first example I heard of, there are others in this article. Just read the first two pages. Huffy bikes were another example. I think Levi's was another one.

You can call it "making a company lean" or worse things. Basically Huffy had a range of prices. Walmart came to them and said, give us a cheap bike with a razor thin margin, so Huffy takes an order from them for 900k bikes, when they could only produce 450k. They couldn't make their more profitable bikes, so their competitors did, and stole that market. So, Walmart screwed Huffy or Huffy screwed themselves depending how you look at.

Levi's never sold jeans for less than $30/pair or whatever price. Levi's went to Walmart to start selling jeans there, but Walmart said to Levi's: make us jeans that we can sell for $20/pair. You don't think Levi's cut some corners? Or, the pair you get at Walmart for $20 is the same pair you pay $30 for at JCPenney or wherever.

Call it apples and oranges or pickles and jeans.

-CC
__________________
"There's those thinkin' more or less, less is more, but if less is more, how you keepin' score?
It means for every point you make, your level drops. Kinda like you're startin' from the top..." "Society" - Eddie Vedder
CCdaCE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2009, 08:09 AM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,261
Quote:
Originally Posted by CCdaCE View Post
I've heard of Walmart going to their suppliers, and reducing quality to meet a price target. Pickles was the first example I heard of, there are others in this article. Just read the first two pages. Huffy bikes were another example. I think Levi's was another one.

You can call it "making a company lean" or worse things. Basically Huffy had a range of prices. Walmart came to them and said, give us a cheap bike with a razor thin margin, so Huffy takes an order from them for 900k bikes, when they could only produce 450k. They couldn't make their more profitable bikes, so their competitors did, and stole that market. So, Walmart screwed Huffy or Huffy screwed themselves depending how you look at.

Levi's never sold jeans for less than $30/pair or whatever price. Levi's went to Walmart to start selling jeans there, but Walmart said to Levi's: make us jeans that we can sell for $20/pair. You don't think Levi's cut some corners? Or, the pair you get at Walmart for $20 is the same pair you pay $30 for at JCPenney or wherever.

Call it apples and oranges or pickles and jeans.

-CC
Thanks, but that article appeared so biased to me, that I could not get past the third page.

As you say, the companies that supply WM need to take some blame here, from the link:


Quote:
"Wal-Mart was putting it before consumers, saying, .... You can buy a stinkin' gallon of pickles for $2.97. And it's the nation's number-one brand.

.... But what did it do for Vlasic? The pickle maker had spent decades convincing customers that they should pay a premium for its brand. Now Wal-Mart was practically giving them away.
Sorry, Vlasic was a big part of the problem. Obviously, one hand knew not what the other was doing. If the company spent decades building a premium brand image, why is a single person dealing with WM allowed to contract to sell gallon jugs of pickles at bargain basement prices? It was not just WM that was " practically giving them away", the article said Vlasic only made a penny or two on each jar. Now, Apple is an example of a company that protects its brand image (for better or worse), and you don't see them with a bargain basement line, undercutting their image.

Later in the article, they mention that Vlasic went into BK, and that the gallon jugs had little to do with it. Since I didn't read further, did they ever indicate that Vlasic cut the quality of those pickles, compared to their other gallon jugs sold elsewhere (the gallon jug existed before the WM deal, if I read right)?

Looks like another "we hate WM" article to me. Although, with the size of WM, there might be something to them having too much power in the market. Maybe the govt should at least look into that, and take steps to ensure the markets are as free as possible, before we are looking at another "too big to fail" scenario in 20 years - "who could imagine WM would be asking for a bailout?...."

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-04-2009, 10:24 PM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
CCdaCE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 887
Nope, I don't think the article went into the production specifics of the Vlasic case.

-CC
__________________
"There's those thinkin' more or less, less is more, but if less is more, how you keepin' score?
It means for every point you make, your level drops. Kinda like you're startin' from the top..." "Society" - Eddie Vedder
CCdaCE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2009, 02:08 AM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
bright eyed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,891
Reason 294 I don't shop at walmart...
__________________
If i think of something clever to say, i'll put it here...
bright eyed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2009, 04:14 AM   #15
Full time employment: Posting here.
jambo101's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Montreal
Posts: 940
All your Walmart electrical stuff comes from China where factories like this one http://www.wired.com/images/slidesho...AN_10AB_05.jpg
Churn out everything from irons and kettles to stereos and tv's,not uncommon to have up to 30 different production lines going at the same time each production line producing the same product for dozens of different brand names 'the link is one of a dozen buildings at this site, http://davidlarkin.files.wordpress.c...th-workers.jpg
So now you know where your Walmart stuff comes from.
__________________
"Second star to the right and straight on till morning"
jambo101 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2009, 07:33 AM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,261
Quote:
Originally Posted by bright eyed View Post
Reason 294 I don't shop at walmart...
Well then I'm sure you enjoyed the article. It appeared to be written to target people who have already decided they hate WM, and want more vindication of that.

The nerve of them to offer a product cheaper than the competition, and give people a choice. Tell those poor people to go eat cake, ummm, shop at a nice store where they can listen to someone play classical music at a grand piano while they shop, like Nieman-Marcus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
All your Walmart electrical stuff comes from China where factories like this one http://www.wired.com/images/slidesho...AN_10AB_05.jpg
Churn out everything from irons and kettles to stereos and tv's,not uncommon to have up to 30 different production lines going at the same time each production line producing the same product for dozens of different brand names 'the link is one of a dozen buildings at this site, http://davidlarkin.files.wordpress.c...th-workers.jpg
So now you know where your Walmart stuff comes from.
Not sure what your point is. Have you ever seen a large production factory before? Do you think elves make this stuff?

I'm all for having some decent working standards for the stuff that we import. If I can afford a piece of electronic goods, I'm pretty sure I can afford the small increase in price that decent working conditions would provide. Labor is often around 5% - 20% of the product cost, a bump in that isn't going to hurt demand all that much. Most electrical producers have standards above the local laws:

Apple - Report on iPod Manufacturing


And more importantly, let's not look at this in a vacuum. If not in that factory, where would those workers be? In coal mines (I'll let you look up the fatality/injury stats and working conditions there), or worse?

I don't recall hearing that those people were forced to work in those factories. It must be better than the alternatives.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2009, 08:15 AM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Bimmerbill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,631
I noticed this with some underwear I bought from Walmart. It was much thinner than the same Hanes product from another store. Didn't last as long either.

I wonder if they do it for other things too?

I buy diapers there, name brand. Seem to work well. I just bought a computer game, can't make that cheaper. I get 10% there due to a relative working at the distro center.
__________________
Bimmerbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2009, 08:38 AM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerbill View Post
I noticed this with some underwear I bought from Walmart. It was much thinner than the same Hanes product from another store. Didn't last as long either.

I wonder if they do it for other things too?
Yes... I saw one of the news magazines where someone from a jeans company said specifically they used thinner material etc. to make them specifically for WM... to meet their price target or whatever they call it.. The sad part is they are labeled the same so you think you are getting something for less than the other store, but you really are getting less...
__________________
Texas Proud is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2009, 08:52 AM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ls99's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,792
Factories do make multiple quality units for different markets. My first j*b out of the Army was running several assembly lines for a record player manufacturer. We ran lines for their own label as well as for many private labels.

Under each label there were several different quality units made. All production lines could handle each quality, and label. Some additional women power was added for complicated units. By the way all the lines were staffed by women. What was made depended on the order's from private labels. When private label orders were low, we ran the house label units.

There was a huge difference in the quality of the units. Some of the private labels only ordered the cheap stuff, while some only bought the high end units.

The differences were in the quality of the mechanism, tone arm weight and materials, types of damping materials, suspension, cartridges, needles, turntable weight and quality, paint, fit and finish, packaging, drive motor construction to name a few. Testing tolerances were very different. On good units anti skate setup took priority as well as tone arm balance, shielding and on and on.

In the end the ordering customer got what they paid for, not so sure about the end consumer. I did see some of the cheap stuff we made for private label sell for not so cheap prices.

Even today browsing the old record players wherever sold I can instantly recognize the units and what is underneath the platter.
__________________
There must be moderation in everything, including moderation.
ls99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2009, 09:14 AM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,526
Quote:
Originally Posted by bright eyed View Post
Reason 294 I don't shop at walmart...
Sweet! One less person in line in front of me at walmart. Yes, walmart does suck. I encourage everyone to avoid shopping at walmart.
__________________

__________________
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
connecting electronic components of different eras tightasadrum Other topics 12 01-07-2009 12:07 AM
OT: Electronic hobbyists--wiring a florescent light samclem Other topics 4 02-02-2008 03:07 PM
Making Electronic purchases on EBay MJ Other topics 11 10-02-2007 07:08 PM
Why are my electronic clocks slow? Payin-the-Toll Other topics 7 01-13-2007 08:43 PM
Electronic investment reports that dont work cute fuzzy bunny Other topics 1 12-24-2003 03:36 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:35 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.