We use quite a few tea lights around the house, and they’re especially nice for the dinner table, adding a little elegance to even the most mundane meal. We’ve been buying the ones from Ikea for a few years and they’ve always worked very well. The most recent batch hints at a shift in production to either China or some 4th world country (yes, there is such a thing as 4th world countries….places that are now competing with the 3rd world countries for their share of the ultra-cheap product market).
The candles burn unevenly, usually in a narrow hole down the middle leaving most of the wax unused on the sides. The wicks fall out. The wicks simply won’t light. Who cares, you might rightly ask, and this is certainly not a rant about poorly made off-shore products. The funny part is in reading Ikea’s label, which reads: “Design and Quality, Ikea of Sweden”. To the average person this implies that this is a Swedish product, with all the attendant quality expectations from a Volvo, Saab, Swedish Steel, Britt Ekland (boy, am I dating myself…how old is she now, 70?). In reality, this is code for: “Made in China or some 4th world country”. What the label really says is that the product was “designed” in Sweden and that someone in Sweden occasionally receives a few samples, eyeballing them to make sure they vaguely resemble what was originally designed.
Its a fun exercise to read product labels looking for the companies that have the cohones to really write “Made in China”, vs. the sneaky cowards who hide in the shadows and try to baffle customers with their bullshit. Adding to the confusion is the fact that even if it says “Made in USA” it doesn’t actually mean much more than the fact that some “final transformation”, i.e. packaging, was done in the USA, while the product actually originated elsewhere.
Remember Steve’s Third Axiom:
“You can’t defend yourself part-time against people who are committed to taking advantage of you full time”.