Sep 6, 2010

Off shoring and outsourcing kills another U.S. industry

United Furniture has been a fixture in Monroe for 40 years, but the founder and owner leaves some parting wisdom on off shoring and outsourcing upon his retirement from the business he spent his life building.

Jack W. Cosby, 74, told the Monroe Evening he is retiring, but he said you should not be buying some of the stuff he sells out of his 28,000-square-foot showroom.

“I have to be honest with you,” he told the MEN. “I sell people stuff that I feel guilty selling them. It’s not what I’ve always been selling. It’s really tough for me to accept the foreign market, but I have to accept it because that’s all that’s selling.”

Cosby said he resisted selling the stuff made in China and elsewhere because the quality was inferior, but the market forced him to sell cheap over quality. In other words, sell foreign crap or go out of business. In fact, 98 percent of the wood furniture sold in the U.S. is foreign made.

Overall, according to the paper, U.S. manufacturing employment has dropped more than 32 percent since 2000, falling below 12 million, the fewest working in manufacturing since 1941.

“It’s not the quality we’ve been used to selling,” Cosby said of the imported furnishings. “It comes over on a boat as everybody knows and it’s bound to get damp coming over and it shows every crease where it’s put together.”

“They have hardly anything that’s solid wood. It’s usually like a particle-board with wood veneer over it,” Cosby said. “I think most of your American companies have closed their factories and use them for warehouses. They just buy it and sell it like we do.”

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