I'm going to retire my Flexsteel dealership.
The stuff from China they have is CRAP. I was taking one apart yesterday (to move upstairs in my showroom) and I really started to look hard at the interior of it. If they could make this any cheaper I don't know how.....they actually use Poster Board (like you use in school projects), cover it with the cheapest closed cell foam you can imagine (glued on) then cover that with a leather hide. That's the entire back of the Chinese made Latitudes recliner!
I found that poster board used all inside the piece, and cheap foam used all over it. That's disgusting to pass that off to a consumer. When that paper poster board absorbs some humidity over time, it will simply degrade and lose what little rigidity it has. I don't want to sell that in my store.
I know, I know, I have some misguided ethics where I can't sell what I don't believe in, like I take everything personally. Bad for business, but good for sleeping through the night. I effectively cut myself off from those customers that will not, or can not buy in the quality product price tiers however, so that's not a good thing.
The Chinese-made Flexsteel Leather Recliner sells for $ 879. The Hancock and Moore that is made in the USA of the right stuff for twice that and it will last 4 x as long. Even though $ 879 seems like a lot to some, it can't buy a decent leather recliner. I fight that battle every day with almost every customer trying to convince them to spend a bit more and get something worth having.
Cheap furniture is just cheap, nothing else.
Next trip through here that the Flexsteel Rep makes I'm going to have him pick up the catalogs and samples and take me off the website as an Authorized Dealer. I just can't tolerate the cheapness of Flexsteel construction. I'm know I'm bucking the trend in not selling inexpensive furniture but and will lose those sales to another dealers but I just can't do it in good conscience.
All Questions should be asked in the forum
Good for you! I truly wish that we had a furniture showroom around here that I could trust to only sell top-quality (and made in the USA) products.
Ahh...well, truth be told Sarah, most stores can't stay in business using that model, the American public went to a Wal-Mart mentality a long time ago (the fact that you are even using the furniture forum is proof that you are not mainstream when looking for furniture). I have a unique store in that my customers rely on my expertise to give them lasting products and rely on my word when buying. I'm there six days a week and depend on loyalty from my customers to keep my business going. An unhappy customer will never return, of course. So one way to prevent that unhappiness is to never sell junk in a box, and though I hear whispers of couples in the store say "its so expensive in here" I am confident that the items I carry will meet anyones test of durabilty and quality over time.
Consumer pressure has been so intense on manufacturers to deliver products to a given price point that most gave in many years ago. So what they do now is make the outside look as expensive and solid as can they can, and build the interiors of the cheapest materials they can locate. Then they cut back the warranties, and with good reason - because the insides will disintegrate not long after the warranties expire. To be fair, its not just Flexsteel doing it, but virtually all companies rolling out stock with MADE IN CHINA on the outside of the box.
The people that run these companies are Americans just as we are, and hate to go down that road as well - but they have been forced to do so by consumer pressures. The average wage of the furniture worker in China is 50 cents an hour. In North Carolina its $ 18 an hour.
A few companies have held the line. Some work to the highest standard and those are the ones I like best. Of course, when I tell someone that the leather sofa from that premium company is $ 3,000, I see eyes roll and they say "Well at Macy's I can get a Natuzzi for half that". From the outside, they look the same, don't they? Now if they'll give me half an hour in the store and are willing to learn, I'll explain the differences to them and then if they want the Made In China piece - more power to them. At least now they have made an informed decision.
Sorry to go on a rant, but this is one of my little HOT buttons , and I've been to the American factories and seen the pride in workmanship, the dedication to a product well-made, and met the workers who make the good furniture. Its worth every penny, and will reward the purchaser with so many more years of good service that for me its a no-brainer on what to buy. In my own home there is nothing made overseas other than some accessories. All my furniture is Made in the USA and will continue to be so (small American flag waving) ....rotf
All Questions should be asked in the forum
I could not agree more about buying USA manufactured products. I find it perplexing that the worker complaining that his or her job has been outsourced to China or India is the same one who raves about the buys at WalMart or the discount furniture store, or the internet virtual store.
Don't get me wrong comsumers should look at price as a consideration in their purchases, but other factors need to also be considered including value, service, loyalty and origin.
Your point about buying quality USA manufactured products is becoming increasingly difficult to do for a number of reasons. First identification of country of origin is not always easy, components and subassemblies can have multitude of nationalities. US sources don't even exist for many products. Craftsmenship has all but disappeared in the furniture industry. With a world economy, forces will tend to balance standards of living across international boundaries. This does not bode well for the good old USA.
Hard work doe not cut it when 1 billion Chinese can overwhelm the demand for cheap labor in labor intensive manufacturing. This coupled with the extremely high corporate tax rate in the USA gives multinational manufacturing companies additional incentive to move operations offshore.
Unfortunately my friend I don't believe there is going to be any answers for the USA that will be very popular. We will in all likelihood continue down this slippery slope to an end of our economic dominence in the world as we know it.
I don't think your ethics are misplaced at all, it is everyone else's that are. I suggest when the Flexsteel rep shows up you show him the insides of his merchandise as well as having him take the catalogs etc.
Proud by lonely grandmother, and yes that really is me in the avatar.
bought my 2 flexsteel chairs in August 2010, took ownership of them in October 2010.
Last week one of the recline assemblies seized and the other was getting close. Had the furniture repair guy come out and he agreed that ever since they moved their operations to China, the quality has gone WAY down and that he repairs these chairs often. My brother in law has 2 chairs from circa-2005, and they are tough as nails. Also, they don't squeak when you sit in them, etc. they have never had problems with them.
The repair guy knew exactly what was wrong before he showed up. We flipped the chair over and of course the mechanism has dug into the wood (that explains the wood falling from underneath our chairs).
Now I don't mind stuff going over to China (*I believe* that our nation has benefited from the fact that we don't make cell phones, linen, etc anymore). But when the quality drops off that much, it is rather problematic.
I hope the chairs are better than when they were delivered after the repairs.
Turns out that buying from China is more expensive after all, if you include headaches, repair costs, and replacement costs of some piece of furniture that would have been a lifetime purchase, if it was US made.
Wish I had researched Flexsteel better than I did before buying. I usually spend days searching for reviews and complaints. I definitely did not stumble across this forum or the gardenweb before plunging into the abyss. Yes, a little hyperbole can go a long way. I actually got thrown off while shopping in the store - I went for the Grandview line but found it was way too small for my height. My legs were hanging off the thing when reclined and my head was thrown back due to low rear seat cushion height so I started to consider other Flexsteel models and landed on the Latitude due to the really soft leather and "cushions". So, I'm now another victim of the Flexsteel myth. Even if their USA furniture is somewhat better - the fact they put their name behind such terrible junk as Latitude (China) disqualifies them in my book. Faithful in a little - faithful in a lot . . . Spent over $5,500 for a power loveseat w/ console, sofa and recliner and a day after delivery a motion component on the first piece delivered is broken. The authorized and trained Flexsteel repair person just left after replacing a sheared off pressed-on fastener with a non-manufacturer bolt / washer / nut he had in his car. I thought one of the neighbors was walking up to the door when he arrived - didn't expect someone in an old white undershirt and hole-y jeans. Turns out he is a local handyman that rigs things for Flexsteel and other local stores when they break. He indicated the retail store communicated the wrong phone numbers to him for my repair request - even showed me the text. He would have shown up the day after I called in the repair had the contact info been right. He said the store cursed him and hung up when he called to tell them they had given out the wrong info. I think that used car lot next door may be theirs too. Nice guy and was honest about the Flexsteel construction quality. He related that he has had Hancock and Moore at home for 25 years - need anything more be said? I definitely added his contact info into my phone - I'm sure I'll be using it. Not looking forward to the leather issues however. Tony won't be able to handyman fix that. Time to consider some mitigating SureFit slipcovers. Guess this is as good a reason as any to get back to the gym and shed some pounds - don't want to stress this stuff any more than a Chinese sized person would. :-/ MikeSpeak is right - after I have to repeat this purchase in a couple of years I could have afforded the Hancock quality-level after all. Here's hoping Flexsteel (and the local retailer) gets what's coming to them - Carma :-) Sorry for all the emoticons but this is post the only therapy I'll be getting.
Anyone know if the (Montage) MFS-4 5 year premium combo protection plan is any better than the Flexsteel it insures?
Was that a warranty period repair? If so, do not accept the nut and bolt 'fix' and insist that a new mechanism be supplied. That is the correct way to repair a motion piece under warranty, not a kludge like that.
You can see why I dropped the line....
All Questions should be asked in the forum
It is. Just delivered two days ago. This proves the Flexsteel warranty is nearly worthless considering this is what they sent and I have to assume it's all they got. The thing that gets me most is not being able to deal directly with the manufacturer. The local retailer's competence or caring can be a crap shoot and Flexsteel should know that or exercise better control over which are allowed to represent their brand. From all I've read today they just don't care about customers or quality. I can't tell you the trouble I went to to discover their phone number. It definitely wasn't posted on their site - just a form field with no real reply back once I used it.
Yes I can . . . with clear eyes now
Thanks for all the great info - for dropping these goofs and telling it like it is