I've been in the quality Assurance business for over thirty years now and I'm really disappointed to hear and read of the general decay in the quality of today's goods.
I don't mean low end stuff, I mean branded items like Nikon and even our beloved Mercedes Benz vehicles. ( As a ML-320 owner, I was stung by the comments in some posts.)
My specialty is pharmaceuticals and I recently came upon a case of a life saving asthma inhaler made by a major pharmaceutical company but a significant number were made without any active ingredient -inexcusable!
I think the constant cutting back by all the firms is a major cause, along with some of this team based manufacturing, where the team members check their own output.
As Mercedes Benz owners we expect the quality commensurate with the marque. Maybe the owners who had a series of cars through the years can comment on: Are you getting the quality you used to get and expect today? Also, is there any solution? I was going to say, go back to Japan to learn what Dr Deming taught them after the war, or have they forgotten as well.
Just the ramblings of an old QA man.