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gmtech16450yz 05-15-2018 05:23 PM

Thor's assembly practices summed up in one single picture...
 
I took a ton of pictures of all the messed up stuff on our '18 Vegas, I ran across this one just now and think it says it all...


http://j16450yz.com/coppermine/album...3-WA00191.jpeg



Maybe this would be a good place to share other interesting/disappointing/horrifying/inexcusable/funny pictures of things you've found on your Thor. I'm sure we could fill a few pages with pictures of extra screws alone!

Bob Denman 05-15-2018 05:35 PM

1 Attachment(s)
How about a bolt missing from a handle used to lower the patio/ramp? :facepalm:


http://www.thorforums.com/forums/att...1&d=1526405653

gmtech16450yz 05-15-2018 05:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Denman (Post 120212)
How about a bolt missing from a handle used to lower the patio/ramp? :facepalm:


http://www.thorforums.com/forums/att...1&d=1526405653

Hahahaha! Perfect! That seems totally legit. I'd be proud to stand behind that install if that was my job. Not.

Like the generator pipe hanger, I like the fact that there's not even an attempt at putting a fastener on it. No hole, nothing. Nice.

Bob Denman 05-15-2018 05:52 PM

What if they allowed the Production Line Managers to shoot about two of the worst assemblers each day?
How long do you think it would take, for the rest of them to realize that it's getting pretty serious? :o

Mauserdude67 05-15-2018 06:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Denman (Post 120216)
What if they allowed the Production Line Managers to shoot about two of the worst assemblers each day?
How long do you think it would take, for the rest of them to realize that it's getting pretty serious? :o

They'd wind up shooting someone in the offices next door: Thor Quality Control hard at work! LOL!

Skip 500 05-15-2018 06:57 PM

I did not get the picture GM Tech. How about glue left all over the ceiling?

Hinges under bed for wiring access door stripped out of (wood(?))

brucev 05-15-2018 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Denman (Post 120216)
What if they allowed the Production Line Managers to shoot about two of the worst assemblers each day?
How long do you think it would take, for the rest of them to realize that it's getting pretty serious? :o

I've been in business for over forty years, some small and some large. My experience has been that when there are quality problems like we have with Thor, fault falls on the back of the company. There are bad employees and we all make mistakes but Thor is a perfect example of poor management. Probably starts at the top and runs down hill. Just my humble opinion, what ever that is worth.

Bob Denman 05-15-2018 07:25 PM

Perhaps we need to cull the herd of managers also?

Tacouser 05-15-2018 07:57 PM

OMG.......Please don't get me started about Thors fantastic quality inspection work.....:facepalm::nonono::confused:

Gary A 05-15-2018 07:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gmtech16450yz (Post 120204)
I took a ton of pictures of all the messed up stuff on our '18 Vegas, I ran across this one just now and think it says it all...


http://j16450yz.com/coppermine/album...3-WA00191.jpeg



Maybe this would be a good place to share other interesting/disappointing/horrifying/inexcusable/funny pictures of things you've found on your Thor. I'm sure we could fill a few pages with pictures of extra screws alone!

That's weird because I just replaced the bolt that held the hanger on my generator exhaust, for the 2nd time. This time I installed 2 screws/bolts.

The Gritz Carlton 05-15-2018 09:15 PM

OEM specs call for staples...not screws or bolts! You've voided your warranty!!

Druff 05-15-2018 09:44 PM

When we took the Thor tours last summer, the guide told us they would hire 500 breathing people tomorrow if they walked in the door. Every place you drove past in Elkhart had the same signs out front. The workers know they will not be let go so they don't care at all.

Airbronco 05-16-2018 04:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Gritz Carlton (Post 120248)
OEM specs call for staples...not screws or bolts! You've voided your warranty!!



I needed that laugh

clausens 05-16-2018 06:22 PM

There is a facebook page for Thor owners trying to get warranty help from Thor. If you want to join, maybe we can pressure Thor to respond to the bad quality issues..... No, not holding my breath!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1801...31887/?fref=nf

schreinertms 05-16-2018 06:38 PM

1 Attachment(s)
They forgot to finish mine!!!! :lol:

DenverTransplant 05-16-2018 08:32 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Finish carpentry with a SawsAll....

First picture is the edge of our slide after we removed the couch to replace it with RecPro recliners. We covered it (and the face of the slide) with some hardwood.

Second is under the bathroom cabinet where the wiring from the control center comes down through the wall and off to wherever the wiring goes. This is a hidden space, but reflects a general antipathy to quality.

Ron Newbry 05-16-2018 11:40 PM

The first two weeks I owned my new Synergy last year I started taking pictures of the construction flaws in this new Thor. After 35 pictures, I just gave up. But the most annoying thing was finding old dirty rags in the enclosed compartment where my gas on demand water heater was located. A real potential fire hazard.

airforceret 05-17-2018 12:00 AM

They built mine on the wrong chassis... but that pales in comparison to the 172 other things wrong. Everything from the bathroom wall only half installed, the dinette bench seats collapsing due to split wood during screw installation, missing screws from the bench construction furthering the failure of both bench seats, plumbing that fell apart due to never being final tightened, water feed lines leaking due to same issue as the drains, bare wire shorts, bathroom door installed crooked then reinstalled where it no longer opens / closes, slide seals are peal and stick separating on the slides, the inside slide seals fell off due to improper installation, heat pads fell off both tanks due to lack of tape adhesion, fantastic fan vent came apart during travel due to incorrect installation, furnace duct work not connected to vents, a/c cold air return isolater not properly installed, warped cabinet doors, oh yeah and the kitchen cabinet shelf cut to narrow that fell out, and the list goes on and on and on and on... I've had numerous calls from different Thor representatives but they would not agree to fix all issues... only enough they felt would appease me. My travels last year resulted in a net loss of over $1 million in verifiable sales and I'm once again traveling this year and hoping to break that record this year when others ask about my Thor.

Oh yeah and the icing on the cake was when they agreed to fix the manufacturing defective fresh water tank that had finger size holes in the product but was still installed and released to the dealer. I showed up for my appointment and they changed their mind and refused to release the tank to the repair facility, then they said ok maybe we will, then changed their mind a second time because they didn't want to pull one from the assembly line even though I was waiting with my unit torn apart at the repair facility in Wakarusa Indiana..... That is quality Management... at it's worst!

saddlesore 05-17-2018 12:39 AM

I am just continually amazed.....
And I thought that our former coach (a '99 Infinity 34-H) was lacking quality controls both in build and components....

Mike in AZ 05-17-2018 01:39 AM

1 Attachment(s)
This is the shower drain. This is how it looked after I took my first shower in my new Challenger, dressed, went outside and saw water running out of the basement.

Summerwind 05-17-2018 02:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Denman (Post 120235)
Perhaps we need to cull the herd of managers also?

Managers go first!

Dbadger777 05-17-2018 10:33 PM

2 Attachment(s)
This is typical of all the screws in the bottom trim. Do they think you will never look under there?

Bob Denman 05-17-2018 11:12 PM

:ermm: You should have walked outside nekkid: it would have attracted enough attention to put together either a repair party, or an angry mob for storming Elkhart! :coolsmiley:

Tearstone 05-18-2018 12:56 AM

Sometimes I fantasize about being hired by Thor Motorcoach to lead a Lean Six Sigma program initiative.

Bogie 05-18-2018 01:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tearstone (Post 120697)
Sometimes I fantasize about being hired by Thor Motorcoach to lead a Lean Six Sigma program initiative.

:rofl::rofl:

DenverTransplant 05-18-2018 02:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tearstone (Post 120697)
Sometimes I fantasize about being hired by Thor Motorcoach to lead a Lean Six Sigma program initiative.

They would fire you after the first week

gator 05-18-2018 03:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schreinertms (Post 120404)
They forgot to finish mine!!!! :lol:

The only way you'll get warranty from Ford is if you ordered this E53 chassis directly from them. After Thor purchases it Ford washes their hands of it.

saddlesore 05-18-2018 05:28 AM

Thor Quality......
I just ran across this little item..Good Gawd!
An NC couple is suing their RV's builder over chronic problems | Charlotte Observer

lug 05-18-2018 07:40 AM

I had no reservation about filing a NHTSA report on Thor. Tossing Thor under their own bus was a no brainer.

bharrisv65 05-18-2018 10:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schreinertms (Post 120404)
They forgot to finish mine!!!! :lol:

No, actually this is the future of motorhomes....they'll come as a basic kit which the end user must put together themselves. I'd rather have had mine come like this as I've basically almost rebuilt the whole unit..........

Bob Denman 05-18-2018 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bharrisv65 (Post 120734)
No, actually this is the future of motorhomes....they'll come as a basic kit which the end user must put together themselves. I'd rather have had mine come like this as I've basically almost rebuilt the whole unit..........

If it does come to that: my "plywood shanty on wheels"; will be hilarious! :lol:

Calman 05-18-2018 03:07 PM

I know someone has extra screws in their rigs 'cause I'm missing some. Ain't talking "loose screws".:)

Was under Vegas yesterday checking out where and how I'd be installing my sewer drain storage pipes. Noticed that the clips that hold the storage compartment bottoms in place has holes for 3 screws both only 2 were in each clip. Checked another compartment bottom - ditto. Didn't bother checking the others.

Will be putting screws in the missing compartment clips IF this darn rain ever stops. Will be putting plywood in the bottoms of the compartments at the same time to "beef 'em up"

Bulldog 05-18-2018 04:01 PM

.... Totally agree with all of the replies here... Can't count how many defects / errors made in building our new Quantum.

The dealer was great in repairing 80% of the defects, I'm now dealing with the other 20 % now....I should say that the I'm finding the 20 % now that I'm digging in to find the errors

I really think that Thor is relying on the dealers to accept the "less than perfect" construction and relying on them to repair the defects to make the sale....

That said , I monitor forums for two other manufacturers and the exact same quality issues are being raised... Some even worse....

I told the Thor rep that the best part of my RV is the Ford engine/transmission... Everything else is Of the old Yugo quality

The Gritz Carlton 05-18-2018 04:09 PM

If you have the option...choose one that was, is being built during the off-season.

Bob Denman 05-18-2018 04:18 PM

Mine was built on a Thursday... it didn't seem to help! :nonono:

saddlesore 05-18-2018 04:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Denman (Post 120743)
If it does come to that: my "plywood shanty on wheels"; will be hilarious! :lol:

AH HA.......So You went with the "Upgraded with Genuine Imitation Plywood" package!!!!

Does that package come with extra screws and a case of caulking?

Bob Denman 05-18-2018 04:58 PM

No, but I did get the coolest cardboard box ever! :thumb: :lol::rofl:

Skip 500 05-18-2018 05:02 PM

There was a reason we called ours "The Little Box on Wheels":lol:

gmtech16450yz 05-18-2018 05:36 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dbadger777 (Post 120674)
This is typical of all the screws in the bottom trim. Do they think you will never look under there?

Yeah stuff like this is amazing to me. Imagine the thought process... "Oh darn, that screw didn't go in right, I think I'll just ram another one next to it, bend the metal and leave the messed up one there."

Really? This is how you work and feel good about the job you've done when you go home at night? The reasons for that kind of work quality are simply this... They either don't know, don't care or CAN'T care. I actually feel bad for those assembly line workers, I believe there has to be some good people there, but clearly they aren't doing a good job.

Like I've said already, this isn't a THOR problem, or a MOTORHOME problem, this is a problem that is growing throughout the entire country. When I look to the future, I just don't see how any of this is sustainable. I sure hope we don't end up in another world war someday. We'd lose. Can you imagine fighting a war with fighter jets, ships and tanks built like these motorhomes? Yikes. And when China shuts off all our trade supply, what components are we going to build these war machines with? We don't make anything here anymore. It's scary to me to think about the big picture of what we're seeing in the examples of poor workmanship shown in this thread. It's one thing leaving a couple screws loose or not installed at all. It's a little bit worse if those missing screws mean people get injured or killed because of hardware failure on the roads or in the skies.

I think I mentioned my wife following closely behind me as we brought our new Vegas home from the dealership. I was mortified when we got home and I saw this...

As you can see, not a single screw was put in any of those 3 holes. They didn't fall out, they simply were never even put in. There was ONE screw holding on the other end, that's all that kept it from falling off. What if that giant piece of metal came off and went through my wife's windshield or caused her to swerve and crash? No amount of money that I'd sue the crap out of Thor for would fix something like loosing a loved one.

Sad, scary and disappointing.

Nice replies and pics guys. I think we should keep this going with more pictures. Like they say, a picture says a thousand words. Talking about this is just a bunch of letters on a page. SEEING this stuff hits a LOT harder. I'll post more of the stuff I found on my rig when I get a chance. And for the few that say their coaches have been fine, they just didn't look hard enough. I wanted to see how the water tank was installed the other day. It's under the back bed with no way to see it without taking panels off. I pulled on the panel across the whole front side and pulled it right off with almost no effort. Behind it I found another handful of extra screws, construction debris and screws that were only put in half way or not even in the right place. 99% of owners would never see that stuff. That's what Thor is banking on, that a lot of this shoddy workmanship doesn't show or cause problems. I think we need to show it here so maybe some day Thor can see what we're finding.

Skip 500 05-18-2018 05:38 PM

We used to joke back in the 70's that you would need to pull a magnet behind our Harley's to pick up all the nuts and bolts that would fall off!

The Gritz Carlton 05-18-2018 05:58 PM

Very true Skip...I've had 4 in my life. I remember the fact..."if it don't leak oil...don't buy it!"

gmtech16450yz 05-18-2018 06:07 PM

That's why the only bikes I've owned have been made in Japan. I bought a 2018 Yamaha YZ450 last year and not only can I monitor and change engine calibrations through WiFi on my phone, the design, build and operation of the entire bike is FLAWLESS. I can thrash on my Yamaha's for years and never have a single hardware issue.

We also bought a Yamaha boat about a year ago. The twin Yamaha engines are amazing and bulletproof. The boat is assembled in Tennessee by the same kind of workers as Thor finds though. The assembly quality isn't as bad as these motorhomes, but it's a LONG way from the quality of something like Japanese engines or motorcycles.

wayneroe 05-18-2018 11:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Druff (Post 120258)
When we took the Thor tours last summer, the guide told us they would hire 500 breathing people tomorrow if they walked in the door. Every place you drove past in Elkhart had the same signs out front. The workers know they will not be let go so they don't care at all.

I took the tours last week - the signs are still up all over town. At 4:30 in the afternoon, Burger King was locked and drive-thru only was available - they said they can't hire enough people to man the counters inside. I had spoken a couple of times last month to one of Thor's Sales Advisors. When I mentioned him to our tour guide, he said the guy was no longer with Thor; he had taken a bonus and better pay to move across town to a competitor. According to the TV news report about Elkhart last month, that is happening to all of the manufacturers now on a regular basis.

We were amazed at all the building going on in Indiana and southern Michigan; warehouses and manufacturing facilities going up everywhere. Then, we crossed back into our depressing economic disaster area called Illinois and saw a grand total of two buildings under construction as we traveled from Chicago to the St. Louis area on I-55. We now lead the U.S. in people moving away from the state.

wayneroe 05-18-2018 11:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by schreinertms (Post 120404)
They forgot to finish mine!!!! :lol:

You are supposed to do the rest yourself; after all you are going to be rebuilding most of it DIY, anyway. :coolsmiley:

Bob Denman 05-19-2018 12:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gmtech16450yz (Post 120822)
That's why the only bikes I've owned have been made in Japan. I bought a 2018 Yamaha YZ450 last year and not only can I monitor and change engine calibrations through WiFi on my phone, the design, build and operation of the entire bike is FLAWLESS. I can thrash on my Yamaha's for years and never have a single hardware issue.

Canadian Bike here... Eh! :coolsmiley:

Dbadger777 05-19-2018 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Denman (Post 120793)
Mine was built on a Thursday... it didn't seem to help! :nonono:

Iíve always said, ours was built on Friday before a long holiday weekend.

Bob Denman 05-19-2018 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dbadger777 (Post 120929)
Iíve always said, ours was built on Friday before a long holiday weekend.

:eek::eek::eek::eek:

mcr1010 05-19-2018 01:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dbadger777 (Post 120929)
Iíve always said, ours was built on Friday before a long holiday weekend.

I think mine was built on that same Fri, but late in the afternoon.:ermm:

Wilby 05-20-2018 09:10 PM

That's funny!

captmetal 05-20-2018 09:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Denman (Post 120216)
What if they allowed the Production Line Managers to shoot about two of the worst assemblers each day?
How long do you think it would take, for the rest of them to realize that it's getting pretty serious? :o

and the dealers get to shoot the 2 worst customers every year

Bob Denman 05-20-2018 10:18 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by captmetal (Post 121106)
and the dealers get to shoot the 2 worst customers every year



http://www.thorforums.com/forums/att...1&d=1526854694

Elite Washington 05-21-2018 03:22 AM

1 Attachment(s)
So besides the endless water leak that Camping World has trouble fix. The grey water hose from the kitchen sink was placed on the heater. Let me tell you two sinks full of water leaking on the floor is awesome

Dave P 05-25-2018 03:27 AM

I thought my problems were bad! I have multiple leaks resulting in permanent damage in the floor and the back wall. Passenger and drivers side windows both leak and the list goes on. I was told by an independent repair owner that any company Thor buys goes downhill very quickly. The latest being Jayco. Maybe time for class action lawsuit?

Elite Washington 05-26-2018 04:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave P (Post 122009)
I thought my problems were bad! I have multiple leaks resulting in permanent damage in the floor and the back wall. Passenger and drivers side windows both leak and the list goes on. I was told by an independent repair owner that any company Thor buys goes downhill very quickly. The latest being Jayco. Maybe time for class action lawsuit?

Thank fully the grey hose was a quick fix the leak in the front bunk is a different story, just hoping the 4th time is the charm. Good luck with your issues

schreinertms 05-26-2018 06:46 AM

My wife and I follow an young RV couple on YouTube and the boyfriend/husband made a good point during one of his videos. That is that these RV's are subjected to major earthquakes every time they are driven. There is not much that can withstand that kind of abuse especially the way in which RV's are built in the U.S. Some states roads are worse than others. I know that in PA, for many years, truckers voted PA as the worst roads in the country. I sometimes wonder if my coach is going to make it in one piece driving some of the roads in PA. Its probably not unlikely that when these RV's are driven (motorhomes) to their final destination dealers, how much stuff comes loose and you can bet that the dealers aren't checking that stuff, at least most aren't.

Summerwind 06-04-2018 03:28 AM

Good Enough!
 
re: GMtech

https://aeon.co/essays/what-chinese-...bout-modernity

[picture] A resident of the 6th floor of an apartment block gazes at the damage after the balcony fell from his 13 year old apartment in Shenyang, China. Photo by Stringer/Reuters

In our apartment in central Beijing, we fight a daily rearguard action against entropy. The mirror on my wardrobe came off its hinges six months ago and is now propped up against the wall, one of many furnishing casualties. Each of our light fittings takes a different bulb, and a quarter of them are permanently broken. In the bedroom, the ceiling-high air-conditioning unit runs its moisture through a hole knocked in the wall, stuffed with an old cloth to avoid leakage, while the balcony door, its sealant rotted, has a towel handy to block the rain when it pours through. On the steps outside our door, I duck my head every day to avoid the thick tangle of hanging wires that brings power and the internet; when the wind is up, connections slow as cables swing.

The apartment is five years old. By Chinese standards, it’s far better than the average. Our toilet works, while in many of my friends’ houses, flushing the loo is a hydraulic operation akin to controlling the Nile floods. The sockets do not flash blue sparks when plugged in, and all but two work. None of the lightbulbs have ever exploded; and the mirror merely broke away, rather than falling spontaneously from the frame. The shower is not placed next to the apartment’s central wiring and protected by nothing more than rotting drywall.

I am a believer in Hilaire Belloc’s 1911 epigram:

It is the business of the wealthy man
To give employment to the artisan.

I barely qualify as wealthy, even in China, and artisans are few and preciously guarded. Most of the time, when I’ve called in help, I’ve been left standing in a flooded bathroom with a panicked 20-year-old assuring me that he thinks he can get the pipe back on.

My time in China has taught me the pleasure and value of craftsmanship, simply because it’s so rare. To see somebody doing a job well, not just for its own reward, but for the satisfaction of good work, thrills my heart; it doesn’t matter whether it’s cooking or candle-making or fixing a bike. When I moved house some years ago, I watched with genuine delight as three wiry men stripped my old apartment to the bone in 10 minutes, casually balancing sofas and desks on their backs and packing the van as tightly as a master Tetris player.

But such scenes are an unusual treat. (And, after losing the card for my master movers, the next time I shifted house, the moving team did a fine imitation of the Three Stooges.) Instead, the prevailing attitude is chabuduo, or ‘close enough’. It’s a phrase you’ll hear with grating regularity, one that speaks to a job 70 per cent done, a plan sketched out but never completed, a gauge unchecked or a socket put in the wrong size. Chabuduo is the corrosive opposite of the impulse towards craftmanship, the desire, as the sociologist Richard Sennett writes in The Craftsman (2008), ‘to reject muddling through, to reject the job just good enough’. Chabuduo implies that to put any more time or effort into a piece of work would be the act of a fool. China is the land of the cut corner, of ‘good enough for government work’.

Yet sometimes there’s a brilliance to chabuduo. One of the daily necessities of life under Maoism was improvisation; finding ways to keep irreplaceable luxuries such as tractors or machine tools going, despite missing parts or broken supply chains. On occasion, it was applauded as ‘peasant’ science or Stakhanovite virtue, but more often it meant trouble if noticed by a superior, since Maoism often matched the call for revolution with a pedantic insistence on the correct routine, especially in the factory or the farm. Improvisation could get you accused of ‘sabotage’ – why were you fixing a problem you hadn’t caused? Besides, why would there be a problem in the first place, when things were so well-planned from the top?

But improvisation was a vitally needed talent, and a particular genius developed among some of the senior generation, now in their 60s and older: an ability to go beyond make-do-and-mend to the kind of skills displayed by the A-Team when they’re locked in a barn by villains and they construct an armoured vehicle out of nothing but gardening tools and old tyres. More usually, chabuduo is the domain of a village uncle who grew up with nothing and can whip up a solution to anything out of two bits of wire and some tape. Gate broken? Don’t worry about getting a new lock, we’ll fix it up with some wire, it’ll be chabuduo.

Today, the countryside is full of isolated inventors who build their own juddering planes or pond-going submarines from scratch, or craft full-scale catapults to resist demolition teams. Their mechanical genius has nowhere to go; they’re stuck in a world of farm repairs and lunatic projects. But on a small scale, it’s visible all over even the big cities, from the sidewalk salons assembled out of castaway furniture where layabouts and grandfathers play cards in the afternoon, to the numerous home-built roof shelters made by doting locals for Beijing’s stray cats.

Yet chabuduo is also the casual dismissal of problems. Oh, your door doesn’t fit the frame? Chabuduo, you’ll get used to kicking it open. We sent you a shirt two sizes too big? Chabuduo, what are you complaining about?

At my old compound, the entrance to the underground parking lot was covered by a 20-metre-long half-cylinder of heavy blue plastic. Nobody had noticed that this made a highly effective wind trap, and it had been only crudely nailed to the brick foundations. Chabuduo, what’s it going to matter? When a storm hit, the nails burst from the pressure and it was sent hurtling across the compound, smashing stone tables and trees; I came down in the morning to find it lying across the grass like a fallen jumbo jet’s wing.

We were lucky, nobody was killed. But behind China’s disasters, ‘good enough’ squats more often than actual malice: compromises that are mere annoyances in daily life become fatal when undertaken on an industrial scale. Problems that a keen eye or a daily routine can circumvent transform into deadly rifts when reproduced millions of times nationwide.

The deaths pile up: on construction sites where men dangle from tied-together lengths of old rope; from meat carried in unrefrigerated vans; from fires in badly wired apartments

Take the last year alone. You don’t have a proper cold-storage chain to send vaccines? Well, stick some ice in the parcels and put them in the post. Chabuduo, and children cough to death. Why take the sludge to a disposal site? Just pile it up here, where everyone else has been putting it. Chabuduo, and 91 people are crushed by a landslide in Guangdong. Separate out the dangerous materials? What does it matter, just stick that nitrate over there. Chabuduo, and a fireball goes up in Tianjin, north China’s chief port, incinerating 173 people.

‘There’s a Tianjin-level explosion every month,’ a staff member at a national-level work-safety programme told me, asking for anonymity. ‘But mostly they happen in places that nobody cares about.’ Careless disasters are buried all the time; when a chemical plant exploded in Tangshan in March 2014, a friend there told me of the management’s relief after the Malaysia Airlines flight 370 went missing the next day, swallowing up all other news and making sure nobody but them noticed, save for 13 widows.

But the small deaths pile up: on construction sites where men wield blowtorches without safety goggles, or dangle from tied-together lengths of old rope; from food poisoning from meat carried in unrefrigerated vans; from fires in badly wired apartments. The toll grows every day, especially among the poor, unnoticed and unrecorded by the institutions supposedly guarding them.

Many Chinese cities are half building site; I’ve gone on walks through back alleys that resembled Super Mario levels, full of grinding wheels shooting out flurries of super-heated sparks, bricks dropped from scaffolding above without warning and cords strung across the pavement. ‘Why don’t you put tape around that?’ I asked at one spot, pointing to a guttering pit next to the road, deep enough to break a neck. The migrant workers shrugged. ‘Nobody told us to.’

In a 1924 article, the critic Hu Shih turned chabuduo into an eponymous parable. ‘Mr Cha Buduo’, his protagonist, lives his life by the principle of ‘Close enough’. ‘Certainly you’ve heard people talk about him,’ wrote Hu. ‘So many people say his name every day.’

Mr Cha Buduo doesn’t understand why he misses trains by arriving at 8:32 instead of 8:30, or why his boss gets angry when he writes 1,000 instead of 10, or why Iceland is different from Ireland. He falls ill and sends for Dr Wāng, but ends up getting Mr WŠng, the veterinarian, by mistake. Yet as he slips away, he is consoled by the thought that life and death, after all, are close enough.

For Hu, the cure for this hazy malaise was modernity; the tick of the railway station’s clock, the carefully kept account book, the doctor’s prescribed remedy. He wanted an end to the veneration of fuzziness, mysticism and incompetence that, in his parable, eventually cause the public to pronounce Mr Cha Buduo a Buddhist saint and ‘Great Master of Flexibility’. Hu’s contemporaries, educated in Japan or the United States, longed to embrace the modernity of a new nation, and ditch the past and all its accumulated dust. But the flood of modernity, already lapping around China’s cities even before Hu Shih’s time, didn’t bring care and precision; it destroyed it.

Even before Hu’s day, overpopulation and globalisation were hitting China hard, driving huge migrations in the late 19th century. Chinese people were struggling with new technological and governmental norms with which they had no experience. The disasters of war and revolution cracked what traditions were left. Today, since China’s head-first dive into the modern world began in 1979, mass urbanisation, internal migration and the constant flux of change have eroded most traces of the skills for which the country was once renowned.

Earlier this year, in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, I feasted – visually – on the Ming-dynasty plates that 16th-century Ottoman sultans favoured, the glaze still preserved and each marked proudly with its makers’ stamp. Our sense of the material past might be biased toward the beautiful and the fine, purely because it’s more likely to be valued and thus to survive. But ample evidence speaks to pre-modern China’s skills, developed most particularly with the thriving commercial environment and rich merchant patrons of the Song (960-1279) and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties. The craftsmanship of China overwhelmed Europeans and Ottomans alike, sparking waves of awe and imitation.

Some arts, of course, have survived. Close to my home, a Manchu family still makes beautiful and funny scenes of Beijing life from tiny doll’s furniture, the posed bodies of cockroaches standing in for human beings. But there is so little left. Wood-workers, lute-makers, coopers, weavers of rare cloth: they remain only in pockets.

To some extent, this is a normal historical process. In 19th-century Paris, Hamburg and New York, writers complained of builders who didn’t know one end of a trowel from another, of plumbers more likely to smash your pipes than mend them, of glaziers whose frames would fall and shatter the next day. Rural migrants flooded the cities, looking for any day labour they could find, their own local skills useless in a new environment. In a generation or less, the rush of modernity invalidated talents developed over centuries.

But in much of the developed world, the sense of craftsmanship soon returned. There was the pleasure of invention, of the cutting edge, of developing new standards for a new trade. In late 18th-century England, brickmakers crafted their own rich metaphors, where, as Sennett notes, the invention of ‘honest’ brick (without any artificial colour added) reflected the manufacturers’ own pride. Ford workers in the 1930s envisioned a gleaming automated future made with their own tools. In contrast, Chinese workers have been stranded for four decades in a dead zone, where the old skills have been lost, but a new professionalism hasn’t evolved. And the era of quick-and-dirty shows no signs of disappearing any time soon.

If what you’re making represents a world utterly out of reach to you, why bother to do it well?

Why is China caught in this trap? In most industries here, vital feedback loops are severed. To understand how to make things, you have to use them. Ford’s workers in the US drove their own cars, and Western builders dwelt, or hoped to dwell, in homes like the ones they made. But the migrants lining factory belts in Guangdong make knick-knacks for US households thousands of miles away. The men and women who build China’s houses will never live in them.

The average price of a one-bedroom apartment in a Chinese second-tier city – a provincial town of a few million people, straining at its own geographical and environmental limits – is around $100,000; the average yearly salary for a migrant construction worker is around $3,500. Their future is shabby pre-fabricated workers’ dorms and old country shacks, not air conditioning and modern bathrooms. If what you’re making represents a world utterly out of reach to you, why bother to do it well?

The opacity of Chinese companies means it’s often hard to pin down the blame for even cataclysmic failure; the maker’s marks once inscribed on every brick in a city’s walls have been replaced with the mirages of holding companies and shell enterprises. Local governments fearful of higher unemployment and lower GDP work assiduously to shield their favoured businesses from any consequences for their actions.

The greatest gulf of all is between the planners in Beijing and the workers on the ground who implement their policies. Huge swathes of the country still operate under the logic of the planned economy, reacting to government quotas and guaranteed bailouts. Yet craft requires the feedback of users and the marketplace. The quota, set for everything from wordcounts for journalists to arrests for policemen, is a powerful spur to value nothing about the product except the speed of its production. Chabuduo: good enough for government work.

There is one glowing exception to the culture of chabuduo: China’s tech sector, perhaps because it developed near-simultaneously with the rest of the world’s. In other areas, Chinese factories and workshops weren’t developing new trades, but taking over ones the West needed done cheap. There was none of the pride or knowledge earned by problem-solving or invention. By contrast, the e-commerce giant Alibaba has honed the art of getting goods from buyer to seller in a vast country to levels still unknown in the West – albeit possibly through the use of the Hobbit-like founder Jack Ma’s network of magical fairy roads – while mobile payment, fierce and relatively open competition and the money that flowed from it have produced their own set of brilliant skills.

Yet tech can’t escape the curse altogether. Sloppy coding, broken apps and massive privacy failures are common, especially when China’s state industries are forced to develop internal programs rather than use commercial ones for ‘security’ reasons. China’s search engines are abysmal, simultaneously crippled by government censorship and protected from real competition. Baidu, the biggest, was struck by scandal earlier this year, after repeatedly promoting quack medical treatments in exchange for payment.

After the scandal, the authorities announced that they would take hard measures to ensure that Baidu performed better. And where reputation can’t push responsibility, regulation can step in. But in practice, China’s regulatory authorities are a void. Although each disaster is ritually castigated in the press, any follow-up is rapidly killed; the average lifespan of coverage of even a massive disaster such as Tianjin is less than a week, before the mandates of the propaganda bureau go out and the story disappears from the papers.

Everyday regulation is even less efficient, bound by a set of perverse incentives that have persisted for decades. Regulators, under-funded and under-staffed, aren’t expected to cover every possible enterprise. Yet if they inspect a site or company, they’re deemed to be responsible for any future disasters there, which can cost them their jobs, Party membership or even potential jail time. The obvious solution is for regulators to cover few sites and concentrate on the least risky areas, thus minimising their personal risk. This failure is compounded by the absence of a functioning civil legal system, especially for collective action; mistakes that could mean massive lawsuits in the West can be papered over in China. Even the death of migrant workers can be paid off with as little as $5,000.

The Party no more wants hod-carriers or rail workers across the nation to come together than it does Christians, democrats or feminists

All these factors work against the Chinese developing pride in their own work. And if they do, they better keep it to themselves. In the West, unions (for manual labourers) and professional associations (for groups such as doctors and lawyers) played a critical role in setting national standards. They gave people an identity that depended, in part, on both mastery and morality, a group of peers to compete against, and to be held to account by.

But, as Adam Smith argued in The Wealth of Nations (1776), every profession ‘ends in a conspiracy against the public’ and the Chinese Communist Party tolerates no conspiracies except its own. Especially since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, any group that might represent a cross-national basis of resistance to the Party has been cut down. Unionisation, outside of the toothless and corrupt All-China Trade Union Federation, is a threat to the Party, which no more wants hod-carriers or rail workers across the nation to come together than it does Christians, democrats or feminists.

Under the Party umbrella, there is room for professional associations – but only at the top end of the scale. There’s a Chinese Medical Association, but no China Plumber’s Association. Even within those bodies, though, far more value is put on sticking to the official line than in creating a peer group. As the medical journalist Michael Woodhead has pointed out, in the West doctors have clear professional guidelines, and review bodies to keep them on the straight-and-narrow; in China they have only the flickering lamp of their own conscience.

In the end, what perpetuates China’s carelessness most might be sheer ubiquity. Craft inspires. A writer can be stirred to the page by hearing a song or watching a car being repaired, a carpenter revved up by a poem or a motorbike. But the opposite also holds true; when you’re surrounded by the cheaply done, the half-assed and the ugly, when failure is unpunished and dedication unrewarded all around, it’s hard not to think that close enough is good enough. Chabuduo.


Bolding is mine-Summerwind

Summerwind 06-04-2018 03:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tearstone (Post 120697)
Sometimes I fantasize about being hired by Thor Motorcoach to lead a Lean Six Sigma program initiative.

I will find water on the floor to leave and go back to my office to create a flowchart starting with is substance wet
where is substance
is it hazardous
followed by the second chart containing all the hierarchy
after day 3 I will send the memo and it leads to calling janitorial services who run the second flow sheet finding that, after testing, it is hazardous. Then it will be calling the HAZmat team.
Meanwhile, 5 people have slipped on it.
After day 7, it has evaporated, and they find after testing again on the concrete, it was indeed water.

I grew up with a mercury thermometer and I'm still here (although not thinking clearly)
6 sigma (I can cut corners without being punished, Geo Carlin where are you?)

hahahahahahah

schwartzees 06-05-2018 08:47 PM

just saw this today and joined
 
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/...d%20complaints

RVMichael 06-06-2018 11:07 AM

https://www.facebook.com/ISRmechanic...zMDg5NTYzMjQ1/

RV Pirate 06-06-2018 12:40 PM

Did y'all ever get to see the Thor quality control propaganda video that the have showing all the quality checks they do? They show them going thru all the systems, and pressurizing the RV and washing the outside with soapy water looking for air leaks.. I about fell out of my chair laughing...

Our dealer showed it to us while they were processing the paperwork. :lol:


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