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Thread: Inflation

  1. #1
    The Gunsmithing Moderator blacksmithden's Avatar
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    Inflation

    I really think this is going to be the next "economic crash" for us. I monitor prices of a very diversified swath of things all over the world. Since making the decision to jump back into my old line of work, I also made the decision that it's time to stop doing things the way we've done it for for years. I know I'm not going to start a revolution in the way things are done, but I'm going to take myself to the next level. That requires tooling up. I knew I'd never get a service manager with a razor thin tool budget to do it, so I said screw it, and I'm in the process of doing it myself. This brings me to my inflation concerns.

    We all know what the cost of guns, ammo, and reloading components have done over the past while. We'd love to blame it all on covid. We'd love to blame it on the border being closed. We'd love to blame it on over-regulation. Yes, that has all contributed to it. That said, if it was all because of that, other things that are less regulated and easier to move would be much more stable. That's just not the case. Tooling and instrumentation are two (of many) things that drive the industrial world. Let's face it. China has been kicking our ass when it comes to cheap manufacturing. That's why damned near anything you buy in North America these days has a made in China label on it. For quite a few years now, if I was willing to wait 60 days for something, I could go on Ali Express and buy it, typically for 25 % to 70% less than I could buy it off the shelf here in Canada. All the cheap knockoffs and factory rejected junk aside, you could buy direct from China for a crap ton less than you could buy it here.

    I knew this pandemic thing was going to cause inflation. Anyone with half a brain could see it coming. Forget about government statistics. They're politically driven nonsense. When I decided to buy some fairly expensive tooling, I wasn't in a huge rush. I figured I'd do my research on what I wanted, and then order a lot of it out of China and save a lot of money. Guess what. It didn't happen. Much to my surprise, I was able to buy "already in country" stuff for the same price, and in a few instances, cheaper, than I could buy it direct from Asia. Large items have always been an issue when buying from Ali Express due to large shipping costs. Sure, you could buy a Chinese knockoff motorcycle for 3/4 the price you pay here, but the shipping made it MUCH more expensive, so stuff like that just didn't get ordered.

    Smaller items....that's where the real savings kicked in. Guess what. I needed an oscilloscope, a few multi-meters, and a few other tools. After filtering out all the knockoff junk (fake Fluke meters for example) I came to the realization that ALL of it could be had cheaper HERE than ordering it direct from Asia. WTF ? How can this be ? A lot of stuff that's "in country" today was ordered a year or two ago. That's just how large scale business is done. Ali Express is my canary in the coal mine. If you think our currency has been devalued on the world markets my 1 or 2 percent...5 percent ?......well.....if what I'm seeing and what I think is coming really is what's coming, I have some really bad news for you. The Walmarts, Best Buys, Canadian Tires, and so forth are putting in their orders for 2022 stock now, and they're being put in at our devalued currency rates. They're already starting to make up prices, but the real hit is going to come when that stuff actually gets paid for and leaves China for the North American distribution centers.

    I was in Busy Bee a week ago. For those that don't know the company, they sell Chinese made metal and woodworking equipment to the home gamer crowd. Their higher end stuff is just stating to get into the realm of the bottom end of what you'd see in an industrial setting. The lady that owns Busy Bee is Chinese, and lives in China. Their shelves look like Soviet Russia in 1960. They're out of stock on probably half their products. I got talking to one of the sales guy there about it. They got a memo from their head office a while back saying they'd be getting more stock in soon, but to expect "unprecedented price increases." I guess what I'm getting at is that if you were thinking of buying some large ticket, made in China item, you might want to do it right now, rather than waiting 6 months or a year. The big retailers can negotiate better prices than I can. Of that, there's no doubt. That said, they aren't immune to the reality that our currency is sliding, and from what I'm seeing, it's slid a lot further than anyone wants to admit.
    Last edited by blacksmithden; 02-26-2021 at 02:24 PM.
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  3. #2
    Senior Member t_glover's Avatar
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    Wages have come up substantially in China. Foxconn gave their employees a 50% raise a couple years
    back right after they put suicide up nets around their factories.
    The next country to step up will be India. They have a very low paid work force so they will give China a run for its money.

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    Senior Member Macds's Avatar
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    Im seeing this too, and I make a point of buying as little Chinese stuff as possible.
    Ive been buying Chinese System 3R compatible stuff, because the real deal is out of reach for a small shop.

    Its damned near the same price now.
    And carbide... ugh

    Customers are already freaking out about delivery times. As a job shop, I cant possibly keep everything needed in stock.
    Specialized cutters that used to take a week to get are now sometimes a month.

    Just wait till my pricing starts climbing to include my increased costs....


    Curious as to what direction you are heading professionally Den?

  6. #4
    The Gunsmithing Moderator blacksmithden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macds View Post
    Im seeing this too, and I make a point of buying as little Chinese stuff as possible.
    Ive been buying Chinese System 3R compatible stuff, because the real deal is out of reach for a small shop.

    Its damned near the same price now.
    And carbide... ugh

    Customers are already freaking out about delivery times. As a job shop, I cant possibly keep everything needed in stock.
    Specialized cutters that used to take a week to get are now sometimes a month.

    Just wait till my pricing starts climbing to include my increased costs....


    Curious as to what direction you are heading professionally Den?
    Im going back into material handling equipment, but Im coming at the diagnostics from a different angle. We've always relied on a manual with voltage and resistance specs and diagnostic trees. At best, the way the factory has us diagnose things is a compromise. The line of thinking has been try this, this, and this. If its not that, then replace this expensive component as a test and try again. Why do it that way ? Because every technician has a multimeter. Its time to start taking scope pattern checks right at the modules/computers and making a log of them (printed screen shots) on the common units. That way, when errors occur, you have a specific place to go, the proper tool to check the circuit with, and a real world reference as to what you should be seeing. Ive got an old Toughbook downstairs that has a USB port on it, and enough memorey that it can save and show pictures. Thats all I really need. My scope saves screen shots to a USB thumb drive. Take a sample of say the crank sensor on a properly running truck. Stick it on the Toughbook with a quick description. If left alone, I could catalog every input and output on a unit's cpu in an hour or two. Many models share the same engines, transmissions, computer components, so it really wouldnt take that long to log most of a manufacturers current product offerings. I want to eliminate that 'replace with known good component and try again' way we've been forced to use since the beginning of black boxes.

    Once thats done, anybody (who knows what theyre doing) could walk up to a unit with a pin probe and definitively diagnose it. The manufacturees have done their best to keep things secretive for decades. Understandably so....they dont want people monkeying around with their technical stuff. Im planning on going after their systems at a lower base level. They cant hide the signals in the wires. Its all just electricity.

    Diagnosing heat related problems is always a pain. I bought a vortex tube so I can continuoisly spot cool (or heat) circuit cards during live testing. I design and manufacture my own probes because the affordable stuff thats on the market right now is too generic, and pretty much junk. Specialized stuff is expensive and often just not available. Ive done the job.. I know what would work better. Lets build it.

    Yes, Ill have a lot of my own time invested in it before Im done. Oh well. One of the reasons Im doing this is because its long overdue, and because I can.

    Speaking of inflation....I just got back from the mall. Fabricland in Londonderry Mall in Edmonton has sewing needles.....or as I like to call them, replaceable, customizable probe needles....on sale for 50% off. I bought enough that I can make as many probe styles as I want. Guess where theyre all made....yep...China. i suspect that they'll be a lot more in 6 months.
    Last edited by blacksmithden; 02-26-2021 at 05:14 PM.
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    May 1 2020 - Liberal un-democratic mass prohibition order in council. - NEVER FORGET !!!!!

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  8. #5
    Senior Member Grimlock's Avatar
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    I've noticed the prices on direct-from-china sites are basically the same price as here now. I had a feeling it was a very bad sign.
    Are the knockoff meters Flook brand?

  9. #6
    The Gunsmithing Moderator blacksmithden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimlock View Post
    I've noticed the prices on direct-from-china sites are basically the same price as here now. I had a feeling it was a very bad sign.
    Are the knockoff meters Flook brand?
    Theres a crap ton of knockoff stuff. You need to pick out the meter you want, and the hunt the internet for reviews and teardowns by people who have bought them already. Its a ton of work. I put in an order through Amazon for a Fluke 233. There was no real price difference between what I believe to be legit Fluke from China and 4 day delivery here so I kept my money out of the Chinese retailers hands if nothing else.
    GOC moderator
    Dealer/co-founder/co-owner of Tundra Supply Ltd.
    www.tundrasupply.ca
    June 2013 - The High River Gun Grab - NEVER FORGET !!!!
    Feb 26 2014 - Swiss Arms prohibition and ordered confiscation by the RCMP - NEVER FORGET !!!!!
    May 1 2020 - Liberal un-democratic mass prohibition order in council. - NEVER FORGET !!!!!

  10. #7
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    I thought I was going insane the other day when I was on Ali checking up on Amazon prices.
    After reading this thread I guess I’d better make the order from Amazon and have it in hand next week.
    #wexit

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  12. #8
    Senior Member RangeBob's Avatar
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    One way to decide if amazon prices are ok, is to compare them to local big box stores.
    Usually, amazon is 2x or 5x. This comparison proved the other way recently for me :

    DEWALT DWA1789IR 7/8-Inch-1-1/8-Inch IMPACT READY Step Drill Bit
    -- $65.12, https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0090IHBQE

    Dewalt 7/8-Inch-1-1/8-Inch IMPACT READY Step Drill Bit (DWA1789IR)
    -- $74.98, https://www.homedepot.ca/product/dew...ir-/1001595500

    Top 10 Tools in 2020? Let's find out!
    by Project Farm
    http://y2u.be/3VbUvXq8j7U

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    Untouchable FlyingHigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RangeBob View Post
    One way to decide if amazon prices are ok, is to compare them to local big box stores.
    Usually, amazon is 2x or 5x. This comparison proved the other way recently for me :

    DEWALT DWA1789IR 7/8-Inch-1-1/8-Inch IMPACT READY Step Drill Bit
    -- $65.12, https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0090IHBQE

    Dewalt 7/8-Inch-1-1/8-Inch IMPACT READY Step Drill Bit (DWA1789IR)
    -- $74.98, https://www.homedepot.ca/product/dew...ir-/1001595500

    Top 10 Tools in 2020? Let's find out!
    by Project Farm
    http://y2u.be/3VbUvXq8j7U
    Amazon is cheaper than local stores 90% of the time for me. When I need something the first place I look is Amazon, then American online retailers, then Canadian online retailers, then I might just trouble myself to get in the truck and check local retailers.

    Stats Can recently came out and pegged inflation at 1.8%. They're either corrupt, incompetent or both. I'm going with option 3. Our grocery bill alone has jumped nearly 40% in the last 18 months.
    I'd rather make a difference than a dollar.

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  15. #10
    Senior Member RangeBob's Avatar
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    The other thing to check is amazon.ca vs amazon.com,
    other online (ebay, aliexpress) although I tend to go ebay for discontinued stuff, and ali as a last resort,

    and if you can wait a bit, checking amazon vs history via CamelCamelCamel.com

    amazon_TheThing.jpg

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