icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle


Nordstrom's Chinese Pajamas

Neither of my two Nordstrom L Tall pajamas matches the other. The sleeves in one are two inches shorter than the other—along with the rest of the dimensions.

What’s going on? Answer: Outsourcing, followed by slow shrinkage due to quality fade.* Quality fade steadily and deftly lowers costs by cheapening components, ignoring original specifications and dodging certification (should any occur). The result sticks it to consumers, as with my smaller-than-before pajamas. Previous Nordstrom L Tall pajamas fit me perfectly and were roomier. I have not grown taller nor gained an ounce. The new pj’s were made for Nordstrom in China where shrinking an old size is no surprise: Reduce the size, choose cheaper materials and keep the Nordstrom brand. Everyone is happy except the consumer.

Outsourcing is a dicey issue for retailers like Nordstrom. Not that Nordstrom is powerless to enforce specs or is oblivious to the game. The usual defense is that it lowers costs for American consumers. But does this kind of outsourcing and spec tinkering improve or deconstruct quality? And should I have to point out to Nordstrom that it does not help the brand?

I called Nordstrom’s Customer Service to bring them up to date about my policies regarding diminished quality and disappearing customer satisfaction: I do not accept “quality fade” nor pay to be victimized by it. Nor do I pay for the shipping costs I was charged and to get and return faulty products.

Customer Service said it would take care of the shipping part but had a problem about the rest of my policy. Nordstrom’s customer satisfaction policy does not—unlike mine—cover the consumer time needed to deal with corporate complicity in quality fade. Whether Norton knew in advance or should have known, my time was used to bring the matter to Nordstrom’s full attention.

I sent the pj’s to Blake Nordstrom, CEO of the venerable firm founded in 1903. (Customer Service cheerfully supplied his address.) In the spirit of unsolicited advice for which I expect compensation, I recommended a change from the current MADE IN CHINA L Tall collar label to

* "Quality fade" is a phrase originated by Paul Midler, author of “Poorly Made in China” (Wiley, 2009) in which he describes the techniques and long-term strategy of Chinese outsourcers to hoodwink western companies that outsource product manufacturing to dramatically lower costs.

Abuse: Quality Fade
Post a comment