JMG SteelWorks

​Craftsman Knives & Razors. Handmade. With No Compromise. 

Why Do We Buy Crappy Stuff?


Take a quick look at all the things around you. All the things that you use on a day-to-day basis. Almost everything was created by a person. Virtually everything that you see around you and that you use is a thing made by another person.

All of these things were made through a series of decisions. Some of these things are obviously made well. Others are obviously not.

One of the items I find most interesting, is the decisions I have made on what to buy and what not to buy, which have led me in the past to purchase crap. I am sure that most of you have done the same thing. Why in the hell did we do that? Why did we purchase something that was crap? And especially when it was so OBVIOUSLY crap?

I believe that well-made things, of good design and created with great care and thought are easy to see. It’s not too tough to see and feel a thing that is of high quality, when it’s right in front of you, right? For example, well-designed furniture is not only easy to see by looking at it, but also the moment that you use it, you know, it's well-designed. Or if it's not, you can tell that too. Shoot, take a walk down to the dollar store and you will get a good idea of what I'm talking about by knowing instantly if something is crap. Why is it that in most cases, you can see both well-made, and the crappy things, before ever buying them, and yet we still bought the crap?

I mean stop for just a moment right now and look around you. Take a look at the things that you're using in this very moment. I bet at least one of them is an item of good design, great thought and attention was put into its creation, and this is a thing of quality. I bet also, if you look around from where you're sitting, you can see a thing that is complete crap. Its design is bad. Its function is bad. Its ability to even do its job is bad. It's crap. And you bought it.

Why do we do that? If we try to justify this through cost, that's the wrong justification, I believe. Buying something that's crappy will just cost you more the long run. It won't do its job well and it will most likely break or become non-functioning earlier that well made products of the same. And crappy products have crappy warranties. You will have to buy yourself a new one eventually. Is it because we like the color? Someone once told me that you can shine a turd, and you can paint a turd, then polish that turd to a high gloss. But in the end, all you have is a turd.

And yet we keep right on doing it. Buying turds.

Think about that the next time you go to purchase something. Ask yourself when you look at it, “Is this well-designed? Was there thought put into it? Does it do the job that I needed to do in the most perfect fashion?” And if you answer no to those questions, then maybe it's best to put that thing down. You're just wasting your money.

I think about that every time I'm making one of my knives. I'm asking myself if I designed this right. I'm running my hands over it, holding it, crafting it, seeing if my thumb can be positioned correctly, or if the fingers are comfortable. I asked myself at every turn, is this being designed properly? AmI doing my BEST work? I also ask myself, am I creating a turd? And if I even hint at the answer of yes, I put it down and either redesign it, or just start over.

To be a craftsman and to become the very best at something, means that you accept nothing less than the very best of your abilities. If I'm not doing my best, then I'm just creating another turd for the world. And I believe the world has enough turds. The world has enough crap. I'm not going to add to it.

John M. Glueck

The Maker