When was the last time you looked at the bottom of some merchandize to see where it was manufactured? In an eye opening conversation with one of my uncles a few months back, I realized that we are no longer “outsourcing” as much manual labor overseas as we are to ourselves.
Take for example Ikea; we purchase pre-fabbed household furniture that WE assemble ourselves. “We” are the manual labor. In an effort to cut labor and drive down product costs, consumers have chosen to take on this burden themselves. I for one am ok with this and am a huge fan of Ikea. I feel very accomplished with my crooked end tables and chairs with missing screws (enjoy sitting at that breakfast table!)
Additionally, we have seen grocery stores and airports take on this shift of labor from the supplier to the consumer with self-service checkout and digital kiosks. Technology continues to become more invasive in consumerism and easier to replace commodity tasks.
As we move into this new frontier of “made by me” are we giving up quality or are we gaining the freedom of personal accomplishment and satisfaction?