Tag: quality

Little Giant Furnace Water Pump: Overhaul

Little Giant 554405 VCMA-15 non-submersible condensate pump

Little Giant 554405 VCMA-15 non-submersible condensate pump

Awoke, we did, to a puddle at the foot of our basement stairs. Water. Perchance Little Weed had spilled a very large glass of water? Surely not. It turned out that our furnace water pump was no longer pumping. A repair was in order, and fast. Here is how I cleaned out the pump. It now works.

Black & Decker F1000 Type 1 Iron: Disassembly Tips

Black and Decker Steam Advantage Iron, F1000 type 1, has a terrible reputation for usability and reliability. Diana's iron does not work as the safety features prematurely turn the iron off.

Black and Decker Steam Advantage Iron, F1000 type 1, has a terrible reputation for usability and reliability. Diana’s iron does not work as the safety features prematurely turn the iron off.

She was miffed, friend Diana, in Toronto, Canada, that her newly purchased Black and Decker Steam Advantage Iron, F1000 type 1, was acting up. It was prematurely shutting down, a supposed safety feature that belied the task of actual ironing. This seems similar to PC anti-virus software that so overtaxes the PC such that it cripples even simple and small mouse movements. She asked me to look into it.

Planned Obsolescence: A Strike against the Environment

Hate it, I do, when a product fails before I believe it should. I have ranted about such products here before and I stand by my rants. Specifically you see products fail mere months after the warranty has expired, seemingly on queue for you to purchase yet another replacement. The old one goes into the garbage and then landfill, and the environment takes an unnecessary penalty for our stupidity. Clearly this should not be. I purposely buy products that last a long time, if I can, and take measures to ensure they do last.

Orange Juice Test Comparisons: Fresh vs the Rest

Freshly squeezed orange juice is so much better, and way more expensive, than tetrapacked or frozen

Freshly squeezed orange juice is so much better, and way more expensive, than tetrapacked or frozen

Growing up, orange juice was a valued commodity in our family, in that it was rare on our table. Orange juice was expensive to buy and my family could not afford it on a regular basis. While we were “encouraged” to drink water in actuality we had no choice. For this reason, I provide orange and apple juice to our Little Weeds. To me orange juice is a daily reminder of the importance of the small things in life. In a revelation of sorts I set up a taste test of freshly squeezed vs cartoned orange juice (OJ) for the Little Weeds. It was no surprise that they were able to identify which one was freshly squeezed, and also no surprise which one they preferred. Freshly squeezed orange juice is so much better in taste than cartoned orange juice. You really cannot believe all the marketing and packaging of products, as they can warp your life perspective.

Toronto Chinatowns: Downtown vs Uptown

Which Toronto Chinatown is better? Uptown or Downtown? I test both.

Which Toronto Chinatown is better? Uptown or Downtown? I test both.

It is rare for me to visit Toronto’s downtown Chinatown because I live in North-East Toronto, where we have the highest concentration of Mainland Chinese in Toronto. Today we went to MEC.ca (Mountain Equipment Co-op) for cycling gear, so stopped and had lunch in Chinatown at Spadina and Dundas. Having not been there for many years, it was interesting.

Two Tier Quality for George’s Tastee Patties

There are two quality standards for Tastee patties. You choose with your wallet.

There are two quality standards for Tastee patties. You choose with your wallet.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been buying and eating George’s Tastee Jamaican beef patties from Toronto, Canada. It’s become a family tradition. The patties are of reasonably high quality and are not as flaky as Allan’s. This week I inadvertently found out that Tastee offers two tier quality for their patties, readily evident when one bites into a patty.

Growing up with Dollar Store Junk

Dollar Store toys are terrible quality that breaks easily, is unrepairable and disappoints your kids

Dollar Store toys are terrible quality that breaks easily, is unrepairable and disappoints your kids

I have never been a fan of Dollar Store* toys for my kids. They return home with plastic toys of very low quality, even by Chinese standards. The recent Toronto city garbage strike brings home the need to reduce our consumption because the city, temporarily, will not pick up our trash. I continue to press my case to both my parents and my kids that Dollar Store quality is false economy.

China’s Persistent Pollution Problem

Pollution almost obscures Beijing's Birdsnest Stadium

Pollution almost obscures Beijing's Birdsnest Stadium


We were in Beijing just before the Olympics in August 2008, and upon arrival were greeted by Beijing’s biggest and most violent thunderstorm of the year. I’ve never seen rain in Beijing like that day. It was only after we got into our hotel and watched CCTV Channel 9 news that we found out the thunderstorm was man-made. Man vs Wild, specifically Peking Man. Chinese Peking Man wins this round. We enjoyed clean air for the day. The day after, I knew we had to leave the city. Even with manipulated air quality, Beijing has a real problem with air pollution.

CFL Bulbs Made and Sold in China are Defective

GE Compact flourescent bulb, Made in China

GE Compact flourescent bulb, Made in China


My brothers in China have purchased 2 Philips brand compact flourescent bulbs from Walmart China, one which burned out after only a month and another which burned out in less than a week. These bulbs should last for 10,000 hours, or over 6 years. His case is well documented.

___He paid 30.80RMB each, for a total of 61.60RMB, for which he received 1 month and 1 week’s worth of light, all in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. Due to terrible quality control in Philip’s China factory these bulbs were shipped to Walmart stores in China, where my brother purchased them and was cheated. That is a lot of money to lose.