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Monday, Dec. 8, 1997

Quality -- Are You Kidding Me?

by Ted Mooney

Something is ripping my brain apart, like I'm trying to live on two different planets simultaneously.

On the one hand, as an engineer and techie, every journal I get is stuffed to bursting with articles emphasizing quality assurance; you'd think it was the only game in town. ISO 9000 is, next to Beanie Babies, the biggest phenomenon of the decade; and with so many manufacturers now certified, you'd shouldn't find two bad parts in a truckload.

But as a homeowner all I can say is you HAVE to be kidding me. We bought a door knob for a closet door a year ago and it stopped functioning this weekend. Not much of a surprise since all the internal moving parts are unlubricated steel on steel contact. As you'd expect, they gall and snag. They are zinc plated, and naturally they're finished with a dark non-irridescent yellow chromate so they can look enough like brass to trick the layperson looking through the bubble pack.

So we buy a replacement door knob yesterday, and the two halves can't even be fit together until you do some heavy filing. I won't even mention the bathroom sink project :-)


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