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To think consumerism has ruined this country? Long, sorry.

(61 Posts)
CatthiefKeith Sun 12-Jul-15 08:34:12

There is virtually no manufacturing left in this country. sad

Years ago, the academically bright went to Uni, and those that were less so still got jobs without higher education. Whether it was in management, the canteen, on the production line or doing the packaging, factories provided massive employment. Now we buy cheap stuff from amazon without a thought for the working conditions of the people abroad that make them.

People with learning difficulties were still able to go to work, I can't remember the name of the scheme but there were government subsidies for factories that gave equal employment opportunities back in the 70's, one of my uncles was employed through it. He used to repair things like toasters and kettles. I think he changed the elements in them. Now we just throw them away and buy a new one.

Clothes. Made here, and made to last. Handily that provided a side line for anyone that could sew. My gran was a seamstress, and opened a little business doing alterations, changing zips etc.
Now we just buy a new pair of jeans from Primark (made by kids in sweat shops) instead of getting a new zip put in when the old one goes.

My mum used to work for a high end jewellers. As a child I knew two watch repairers, both polio victims, trained by Rolex, who earned a really good wage. Now people buy cheap watches. Some people just get a new one when the battery goes, let alone pay for a repair!

The steel works have gone, most of the pottery firms have gone bust, as have the companies that produced long lasting crystal. Crystal goes cloudy in a dishwasher and who wants to pay for expensive and hard wearing bone china when Asda living do entire dinner sets for £20? If it chips, just buy a new one!

I can remember television engineers, washing machine engineers, even people that made a living selling pop from a van in glass bottles that you paid a deposit on. And milkmen. That must have been better for the environment and it kept people in jobs.

I'm not having a go at anyone, I do exactly the same. I would love to be able afford to do it differently, but I fear it is too late to turn the tide.


Orangeanddemons Sun 12-Jul-15 08:39:57

Well, there's obviously a market for all the cheap things you're talking about.

Not sure it's consumerism that ruined the manufacturing base, I think it was Thatcher who wanted Britian to be a service economy and ruined the manufacturing part of the country

Zamboni Sun 12-Jul-15 08:41:58

I know what you mean OP. I think about how by GPs (in their 90s) live a frugal life, repairing things that break, getting the full use of anything they have, and limiting what they waste. They probably take it to extremes, but I am always aware that in comparison we have so much more stuff AND have such a wasteful existence. Life is very different to how it used to be.

Andrewofgg Sun 12-Jul-15 08:42:35

So do you expect people to spend their money in ways which you somehow think keep jobs going?

There never was a golden age, don't kid yourself, but think of this. Back in the day you probably owned a camera which used film. Now you probably own a digital. There are millions of us who have made that change.

And we have put the photo-processing labs out of business, where scores of thousands of people had jobs. We have transferred the work not to a low-wage but to a no-wage economy - us at our computers. If we particularly want a print we take the memory stick to Boots and do it ourselves..

And 'twas ever thus. The trains that so many of us get sentimental about killed the canals and the coaching inns. Free trade in corn was a disaster for the farmers. That is the nature of the world, isn't it?

Tooooooohot Sun 12-Jul-15 08:42:48

People are still buying Rolex watches, fine China and crystal! I get what you mean but it's a complex situation -supply and demand, cheaper costs overseas, etc.

OhEmGeee Sun 12-Jul-15 08:45:08

Milkmen still exist.

allithwaite Sun 12-Jul-15 08:46:28

We are a very throw away society. Just seeing how much stuff that could be reused goes to the tip. Having volunteered in a charity shop
seeing how much people give away that's never been used or like new.

It's to easy to get a new one rather than make do and mend.

allithwaite Sun 12-Jul-15 08:46:46

We still have a milkman

Bohemond Sun 12-Jul-15 08:48:42

When my grandad died I asked for the contents of his garage. I now have a complete set of tools - mostly very old but beautifully kept; boxes of any type of screw you can think of (all carefully saved); small bits of string and wire neatly kept to come in useful one day. Secateurs that are better than the three pairs I already had, plumb lines, dibbers you name it.

I will never need to go to b&q again.

Someone nearly put them all in a skip....

Teabagbeforemilk Sun 12-Jul-15 08:50:56

I have a milkman....can not afford a Rolex though!

I still believe I should be able to wear a watch....even if it's cheap and shit. As long as it tells the time, that's what it's for.

It's like saying people should by a ford because rolls royces are available.

Andrewofgg Sun 12-Jul-15 08:51:00

Getting your milk delivered sounds good if it happens before both of a couple have left for work. We stopped it years ago when the round was re-organised and we came home to milk which had been in the sun all day. I don't apologise for going to Tesco every Saturday morning and buying enough half-pint cartons - always choosing the longest-dated - to see us through the week.

Teabagbeforemilk Sun 12-Jul-15 08:53:28

Our milk comes between 9pm and 10pm at night to avoid missing people who leave early.

But yes in that situation I would be getting my milk from tesco too

Teabagbeforemilk Sun 12-Jul-15 08:53:59

Don't know why I pointed out 10pm is at night..whoops

RealHuman Sun 12-Jul-15 08:56:57

I think it's partly because of relative labour costs (it costs more to pay for half an hour of a British worker's time to replace a zip than several hours of Bangladeshi workers' time making jeans) and partly that while repairing takes as long as it ever did, production methods have become quicker and cheaper. Also it takes more time and money to manufacture goods that are easy to repair, and many goods (like TVs) are obsolete so quickly they're not worth repairing. And TVs are a good example of modern items that are a lot better-made and more reliable than the old stuff. TVs used to need repairing so much (and were so expensive) that it often made more sense to rent.

yellowcurtains Sun 12-Jul-15 08:57:26

If you don't like it, change the way you live. I don't buy from primark or have a dishwashing machine ( or any Crystal! ). People with learning disabilities are employed making furniture, gardening, in offices etc, which is better because they're not removed from society and treated as 'other'.
Do you actually have a clue how much a watch made by a watchmaker costs in 2015?
I think you would be somewhat surprised as you're talking about £2m.

velourvoyageur Sun 12-Jul-15 09:00:49

Yes OP let's all go back to subsistence farming and live off t' land.

SavoyCabbage Sun 12-Jul-15 09:02:15

Where I live (Australia) there is a lot of talk about buying Australian. People, have signs on their businesses saying 'Australian owned' 'Australian made' and things like that.

People do get things fixed and mended more here as everything costs a fortune to buy in the first place. There are small businesses owned by individuals all over the place.

People seem to have less stuff here I think. Things are so expensive.

Orangeanddemons Sun 12-Jul-15 09:02:49

Also, the Far Eastern countries invested in computerised technology when they were gaining the ground in manufacturing. Britain didn't bother as it was too expensive. So now Britian has no manufacturing, as the Far East can do it cheaper due to more advanced technology.

Britian is a third world country imo

ghostyslovesheep Sun 12-Jul-15 09:03:53

erm I suspect you have rose tinted glasses on there!

remember power cuts, 3 day working weeks, riots, racism, shortages etc

Milk'men' , domestic engineers, British clothes all still exist - why don't you employ them

TheWordFactory Sun 12-Jul-15 09:06:07

When we manufactured a lot if stuff in the UK, the majority of the working class earned very low wages doing horrible jobs!

RealHuman Sun 12-Jul-15 09:06:32

My grandma left school at 14 and went to work in a shirt factory. She worked on the machines sewing together the already-cut pieces of fabric. She showed me once how she did it - still there in her muscle memory 60-off years later. TBH, it looked exactly the same as the way machinists in modern clothing factories work - as fast and economical in movement as possible. I'm not that convinced that a shirt made like that in England in the thirties would've been that different to a shirt made now.

CatthiefKeith Sun 12-Jul-15 09:07:01

My op wasn't clear, I apologise. When I pointed out they were trained by Rolex, I meant it as a follow on point to the factories who employed people with learning difficulties. Rolex once did a scheme where they offered polio victims in wheelchairs a free apprenticeship as watch repairers. Of the two I knew, one worked with dm at Mappin and Webb and the other had his own little shop.

I did put at the end of my op that I wasn't having a go, and I do exactly the same.

I was hoping for a good old fashioned debate about the subject, like it used to be on Aibu. Perhaps I should have put it in chat.

RealHuman Sun 12-Jul-15 09:10:31

60-odd. Not 60-off.

She was academically bright but didn't go to uni. Same with my granddad - also academically bright, also left school at 14, worked in a workshop.

SavoyCabbage Sun 12-Jul-15 09:11:14

I've just looked up the price of a plain school polo shirt as I have to buy one tomorrow. It is $25 which is £12.

This is why people don't want to buy things that are manufactured in the UK. Price.

My dd goes to an ordinary government primary. Her school logo polo tops are 40 something dollars which is why I am buying a plain one as its half the price.

Would you pay £12 for a school top that was manufactured in the UK? £24 for a logo one?

MarchLikeAnAnt Sun 12-Jul-15 09:13:01

Remploy employed disabled and learning disabled people but most were closed down by the condem government a couple of years ago.

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