“Dumping” refers to the practice of a nation or group flooding a market with less than fair-value products in an unfair effort to dominate that market.
This is what happened to the iron beds market in this country about 7 years ago. Prior to this time there were a number of good quality manufacturers in this country that produced “high end” beds. The materials they used were better than need be and the manner in which they were constructed insured they weren’t just being produced for the visual, but also for the long haul.
The market continued to grow for these bed manufacturers and they not only sold directly to the public but also to large chain stores.
Then all of a sudden larger chain stores stopped placing orders with American manufactured beds. Yet beds were still being displayed in their catalogs and in their stores. Where were they coming from? The beds they now were selling were coming from the, near slave labor, factories in China.
One of my closest friends built, at one time, the largest and most respected reproducer of iron beds in the country. He became known for exact replicas that had been made in this country back in the 1800’s. He was meticulous in his attention to detail and the quality of materials that he used. When orders from his larger store chains started falling off, he found out the beds he had been producing, were now being imported from Chinese foundries.
In an effort to see exactly how they could possibly produce an iron bed at a fraction of what he was able to produce them at, he took a trip to China under the guise of being an importer that wanted to look into establishing a source for beds. What he found were enormous factories in which the labor force actually lived in living quarters of the factory, ate at the factory and purchased their needs from the factory store. Many of them worked 10 to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whereas our minimum wage is $8. an hour, China’s is approx $4. depending on what province they are located in. But beyond their labor costs being nearly half of ours, their hours are far greater.
The other glaring difference in China’s production of beds was the use of inferior materials which cost far less than what we used in this country.
It’s unfortunate that the larger chain stores didn’t look into the differences he found in the product and only concerned themselves with the initial visual look and bottom line cost.
There’s an old adage we’ve all heard……..“you get what you pay for…….”. It’s unfortunate that a generation of people that bought beds that were made in China, won’t really know what a difference there was until it’s too late. “Dumping” their inferior products on our market put a number of good reputable dealers from this country out of business. It also did nothing for our economy, which along with other imports helped put us in the economic boat we find ourselves in. Tariffs, import taxes and restrictions must be put in place if we’re ever going to regain the level of quality and economic stability we use to enjoy.
I hope you’ve found this blog informative . I invite you to revisit my website
to answer any and all questions you might have about antique iron beds.
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