Putting Cheap Labor Into Perspective

A few months ago we ordered some furniture from Costco.  The furniture was 4 bedroom pieces, which cost $1500.  It was backordered, so it took more than  two months to arrive.  It finally arrived, in two shipments.  The first shipment was 250lbs, the second was 347lbs.   Pictured here is a portion of the packaging materials from the second shipment.  In all, there was twice as much as is seen here.

The furniture is great; well crafted, well packed, and requires very little construction.  We’re very happy with it.

What surprised me, though, is that this furniture was built in Thailand.

So, lets get this straight.  It’s cheaper to build furniture in Thailand, pack it, and ship it (with a shipping weight of over 500lbs across 5 boxes), than it is to build it here in the United States.  Wow. I tried pricing how much it would cost me to ship 500lbs of anything to Thailand.  That’s about 250kg, and as far as I can tell, it would be at least $2000 to ship.  Of course, I’m not Costco, so my shipping rates aren’t as good :-) 

I knew that labor was cheap there.  But this really shows how much cheaper it is.  More than 500lbs cheaper.  I wonder who made more profit – Costco or the company in Thailand?  I’m betting it was Costco.

6 thoughts on “Putting Cheap Labor Into Perspective

  • July 31, 2007 at 1:23 am
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    Wait, am I missing something? 500lbs should be about ~267kgs.

    Oh, and hi. 😀

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  • August 17, 2007 at 5:01 pm
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    Indeed – I am an idiot. I knew a lb was about 2kg, but multiplied instead of divided. I’ve updated the entry so future readers don’t know how dumb I really am.

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  • August 17, 2007 at 5:06 pm
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    BTW – one more comment about this for the eco-freaks.

    There was so much styrofoam in this that I was unable to fit it into my trash cans even after several weeks. It had to be hauled to the dump in a special trip.

    Regardless of how it got to there – this made-in-Thailand styrofoam is now at the dump. I hope they recycle it, but fear its just heading for the landfill.

    Reply
  • August 17, 2007 at 6:01 pm
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    Oops! I dropped a “2” (and shifted my decimal point one to the right) in my comment, so now I look like an idiot! 😀 Oh well.

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  • December 31, 2007 at 1:37 am
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    Are you sure the styrofoam was made in Thailand? Did it have a stamp or something. Who knows, with globalization, the styro was most like made in China or Mexico where the eco-laws are non-existent.

    Reply

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