'Is It Just Me Or Is Everything A Scam Now?' — Mom Details The Numerous Ways Companies Have Recently Ripped Her Off

From low-quality goods that break in a week to customer service that couldn't care less, late-stage capitalism is truly ruining everything.

woman angry about her low-quality purchase fizkes / Shutterstock.com

If you've bought anything in the last 10 years or so, you've probably noticed that nothing seems to be like it used to be. Even expensive goods seem to fall apart a week after you bring them home, and when you try to get assistance from customer service, well, good luck. 

It's always been this way to one extent or another, but as a mom recently vented on Reddit, lately, it really feels like it's gone to a whole other level. 


And according to actual studies on the matter, she's 100% right. 

A mom feels like everything is a scam now after being ripped off again and again.

Have you heard about Samsung appliances? The South Korean brand used to be regarded as one of the most reliable electronics manufacturers in the world. It is one of the panoply of Asian makers that helped knock America out of the forefront of the electronics industry in the 1970s and 1980s.



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But now, a simple Google search about the company's refrigerators, for instance, turns up scores of Reddit threads, social media posts, and even reported articles about how the company's appliances seem to break at a moment's notice — and how little the company seems to care when it happens.

It's just one example of this combination of low quality and indifference that seems to have struck every corner of our consumer lives — from clothes that fall apart immediately to TVs that go kaput within five years at best. And it's left one mom on Reddit asking, "Is it just me, or is everything a scam now?"

The mom has had it with how everything is expensive, but nothing works, and nobody seems to stand by their products anymore. 

What set the mom off was the shipping company Send My Bag, a service that ships luggage to destinations all over the world. 


I used them myself when I moved to the U.K. for part of the year in 2021, and at $125 for a large suitcase and box of belongings; it was a screaming deal compared to what airlines charge. 

Not anymore. "I paid ~$300 to ship a suitcase from France to the USA last month," the mom wrote—and when it arrived, it was destroyed, and most of her most important belongings had fallen out of it. 

When she complained, she was told it was not Send My Bag's fault because her luggage had wheels on it, which are prone to breaking. But when was the last time you even saw a suitcase for sale that DIDN'T have wheels? 


It got the mom thinking of all the other things that have felt like a scam to her lately. "Can’t leave neglectful childcare because I signed some dumb contract a while back. Called social services, no one cares," she wrote. 

A landlord scammed her out of her security deposit despite her submitting photographic proof it was cleaner than when she moved in. A kids' fishing pole she bought her 4-year-old broke in the first 10 minutes of use. "This list is never-ending. I have to stop myself from listing more." 

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It's not just in her head or yours — everything is kind of a scam now, and experts say it's because of late-stage capitalism.

Partly, everything has become low-quality because of insatiable consumer demand: We consumers, by and large, want more and more stuff, and we want it immediately (as in on our doorstop tomorrow morning, if not sooner). We don't want to pay for it — in part because many of us can't afford to.


So manufacturers and corporations have responded by flooding the marketplace with cheap goods to make, distribute, and replace. But this has given rise to a different problem: Even when you want to pay for quality, you sort of… can't anymore. 

Furniture is a perfect example—what used to frequently be heirloom fodder in families is now almost universally made in China of particleboard and barely survives a single move. As The Washington Post reports, even expensive furniture labeled "solid wood" is often a combination of rubber, wood, and veneer, which is… not solid wood at all.

Designers told the Post that even when they propose furniture made of good, sturdy materials — you know, actual "solid wood" — manufacturers usually reject them immediately in favor of more profitable, cheap garbage.




This has resulted in things like the $400 IKEA desk made of sawdust and glue that I looked at the other day before slamming my laptop closed in a huff, but it has also created a situation that is even more ominous.

As TechCrunch recently put it, "Even if you can afford high-quality products that are designed and built to last, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to find and buy products that meet that bar." Late-stage capitalism and the death spiral imperative to return eternally growing profits for investors means virtually nobody's even making high-quality goods anymore.

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If it feels like the quality and cost of everything have gotten exponentially worse in recent years, you're not wrong. 

In a February 2022 report, academics at the University of Michigan who study these matters found there had been a 5.2% decline in the quality of goods just from 2018-2022, with most of the slide coming after the pandemic began.

This, in turn, has exacerbated the impacts of inflation — U of M found that when quality of goods was factored in, inflation, which was at 7.9% at the time of their report, was actually more like 10%. Notably, this was nearly six months before inflation soared to its highest rate since 1981 in July 2022, when it hit 9.1%.



Cheap garbage isn't the only way manufacturers have chased ever-larger profits, of course. There's also so-called shrinkflation, in which manufacturers have reduced product sizes while not adjusting the price; as well as greedflation, where they use "inflation" as an excuse to jack up prices just because they can. Greedflation has been found to be responsible for at least 50% of the inflation we've seen since the pandemic. 




Unless corporations' focus shifts away from eternally rising profits—which won't happen, despite the impossibility of the notion—it's unlikely that any of this will get better. 

So, yeah, Reddit lady, it's not just you: Everything is a scam now, and in many cases, there's not a whole lot anyone can do about it.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.