Reverse engineering the Chinese; it's payback time.

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Blog entry by pashley posted 06-08-2012 03:28 PM 6761 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This thought occurred to me, as I looked at all the Chinese stuff (mostly decorative) at stores like Target – rip them off as they have, and continue to, rip us off, on original ideas.

At the risk of angering someone out there, I’ll say it anyway: the Chinese are thieves. I don’t mean your neighbors from China stealing your stuff, I mean in a corporate sense – they copy our DVDs, Software, and all kinds of engineered stuff, and sell it either as a cheap copy, or as a blatant counterfeit. Go to Chinatown in NYC if you don’t believe me.

So how about a little pay back, craftsman style? LOL

Make a better copy of the crap they send to us, and sell it at a higher price? Let’s say they have a nice style dresser or table at Target, which I can guarantee is made in China. Rip them off. Make a copy of the style, but this time using a finish that won’t rub off, drawers that won’t fall apart, and something you don’t have to put together; steal their style, improve the follow-through.

Fight fire with fire.

Maybe this is just an anger piece, maybe this is a decent proposition – I’m not sure.

Thanks for listening. :)

-- Have a blessed day!

14 comments so far

View PineChopper's profile


193 posts in 3691 days

#1 posted 06-08-2012 03:50 PM

I like the idea.
“So it has been said and so it will be done”.
Nice idea.
I had to say that twice.

View sixstring's profile


296 posts in 3738 days

#2 posted 06-08-2012 04:25 PM

Hey man, I’m totally with you on this. I’m sick and tired of mass produced, overpriced junk. I get that younger folks and transitional lifestyles warrant shopping at IKEA and Target for furniture, but when you look at what is charged for what is built (not just Chinese, but those slick Scandinavians too..) you start to wonder that this junk is built to last long enough for you to want to purchase the next model down the road.

Frankly, this is a major part of me taking up woodworking and just building my own stuff in general. Not so much because I hate those that build cheap stuff… more like, I want and deserve furniture and other stuff that I can be assured will last a lifetime. If I can pass it down to my kids, even better…

Forget about ripping them off… Just show them up and smile.

-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

View Mosquito's profile


11806 posts in 3787 days

#3 posted 06-08-2012 04:46 PM

I second what JC Garcia said… Show them up and smile.

The issue with copying it, but making it higher quality is that if it looks the same to most people, then you would constantly here “why would I pay that much when this one looks exactly the same, and is cheaper”

Also, Top Gear UK had an episode about Chinese cars that was rather entertaining, along the lines of your first statements

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View murch's profile


1380 posts in 4119 days

#4 posted 06-08-2012 07:22 PM

America, and the west in general, is a huge consumer society. Some people will spend a bit extra for a quality product but an awful lot of folks will see a cheaper option and go for that instead.

All Americans have to do to put China and all the other counterfeiters and rip-off merchants out of business is stop buying their junk but let’s face it – that will never happen.

As long as there is a market for junk, i.e. forever, there will be junk produced.
Better get used to it.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 4465 days

#5 posted 06-08-2012 07:42 PM

Ya’ll keep talking about Chinese “junk” while typing on your Chinese made computers, or your Chinese made smart phones or your Chinese made tablet computer.
Dude, do you have any idea how much market penetration they have?
It aint just trinket junk they make. It’s every damn thing we use.
Like over 90% of everything you see in any Walmart, or Target, or any big box store is made in China.

If you made a better quality product, who would sell it? Not the big box store.
They might buy a few to see if there is a market.
If there is a market, they will simply go to their Chinese connection and say I need 100,000 widgets at X dollars and at such and such quality and bingo; they blow you out of the water.

We were at war, but I’m afraid we’ve already lost.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3970 days

#6 posted 06-08-2012 11:44 PM

So, you are saying we should rip off a design they already ripped off from someone else? ;-)

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View ChuckV's profile


3517 posts in 5022 days

#7 posted 06-08-2012 11:54 PM

  1. There was a high-quality original.
  2. Someone took the design and made a low-quality version.
  3. If you make a high-quality version of that product, won’t you just be back to the original?

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

-- "Join the chorus if you can. It'll make of you an honest man." - I. Anderson

View pashley's profile


1047 posts in 5212 days

#8 posted 06-09-2012 12:27 AM

If they have an original design – usually seen in decorative pieces – rip them off. LOL

-- Have a blessed day!

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 4149 days

#9 posted 06-09-2012 05:30 PM

The only problem I see with this is that some times the design and specifications have come from an American company, off-shored for production in China (or other eastern countries) and then shipped back to the USA for sale. So, are we copying Chinese companies or American companies that just use offshore for manufacturing? I don’t know the answer. Sometimes it is well hidden on the furniture, if mentioned at all, that an American company designed it.

Now, maybe the offshore manufactures “stole” an American design and started mass-producing it for sale in the USA. In this case, by all means, let’s fight back and build a better, longer lasting version of what they are dumping on our shores.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View ChuckV's profile


3517 posts in 5022 days

#10 posted 06-09-2012 06:33 PM

Maybe this afternoon I’ll bang out a copy of an antique Chinese piece like this:

That’ll show ‘em.

-- "Join the chorus if you can. It'll make of you an honest man." - I. Anderson

View David White's profile

David White

120 posts in 4775 days

#11 posted 06-10-2012 02:56 AM

So on the one hand you complain that Chinese are thieves (way to go with the generalisations) and on the other you encourage Americans to steal designs. Wow – great idea dude.


View NormG's profile


6576 posts in 4498 days

#12 posted 06-10-2012 02:57 AM

Someone gave the spec’s in the first place and I would bet it was an American Company

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View rasp's profile


75 posts in 3752 days

#13 posted 06-10-2012 02:55 PM

you would have to make something better (more durable, more stylish, more practical? ) than the Chinese copies, and sell it for LESS, to really make a point. (and to curb the flow of offshore junk)

most people these days are concerned with price , not quality, longevity, or whether or not that item was made in North America.

china is the manufacturing center of the world now, and this is unlikely to change in our lifetimes.

View BigTiny's profile


1721 posts in 4383 days

#14 posted 06-13-2012 08:27 PM

I’ve been doing leather carving for over half a century. When I started, the tools were made in Fort Worth, Texas. Now, although they still carry the same trade name and are still sold by Tandy Leather, they are made in China and the quality is crud, pure crud. Luckily, my own collection of some 300 odd tools dates from the US made years, but if I wanted to sell them I could get several times the price of new tools for my used ones.

I taught the craft for over 40 years, but refuse to teach any more because it is too frustrating trying to get good work with such poor tools from the students. It’s hard enough learning a craft with decent tools, let alone with poor ones. Imagine trying to do hand cut dovetails with a cheap cross cut saw and a sharpened screwdriver.

These tools are chrome plated, but without the layer of copper under it to hold the chrome, resulting in many tools coming with the chrome plating pealing off in the package!

Why did Tandy close their own factory and send the jobs off shore? They’re making a buck or so more per tool.

When Americans refuse to buy crap at prices that should buy quality and demand better from their corporate suppliers, those lost jobs will return to this side of the Pacific and quality will go back to the level it once held in the USA. As long as saving a few bucks is the aim of the majority, we will all suffer with crap being the only thing we can get, and the unemployment lines will continue to get longer.

In my (not so) humble opinion, a company like Tandy that sends jobs offshore for pennies of extra profit should be charged with treason.

Just my two cents worth…


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

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