Refit:  Winter 2008-2009

Winter 2008-2009 Refit | Thursday, October 9, 2008

I ordered my new forward hatch early in the week, along with--as an experiment--an interior trim/screen package by the same manufacturer, Lewmar.  The hatch was backordered at the manufacturer, and as of this writing I had not yet received it, but I received the interior trim package promptly.  For reference, the kit is Lewmar # 367660252 Hatch Trim/Screen Size 60 White. 

I ordered the trim kit because I was tired of our old Velcro screen system that we'd used on the old hatch, and the notion of a fixed, hinged screen was attractive to me.  Obviously, building such a thing from wood was within my realm as well, but despite that I considered that the pre-manufactured kit might be worthwhile as a time-saver.

I had low expectations for the interior trim, knowing up front that it was plastic, but I figured it didn't hurt to look at it and consider using it.  I knew it was overpriced even as a remote concept.  But as soon as I opened the package, I knew it wasn't going on the boat.  This $120 retail item consisted of a cheesy, flexible plastic frame that would fit right in on a Sea Ray, perhaps.  Imagine the cheapest plastic item on the shelves at Wal-Mart, and you might have some idea as to the nature of this Lewmar hatch trim kit.

I was disappointed, though not really surprised, that the trim kit would not be usable.  But despite my skepticism when I ordered the kit, I was still unprepared for precisely how cheaply made and unsuitable it was.  I had hoped (and, frankly, expected) that at least the trim kit might be made of durable, rigid, and quality plastic.  As it was, one might accept the level of quality and apparent lack of durability if the kit were priced at, say, $20, but at a retail price of about $120 the trim kit was simply laughable.  Why, I couldn't even imagine the kit surviving installation: one extra quarter turn of a mounting screw would be sure to crack the cheap, flimsy plastic flange, or one of several other issues might doom the trim forever.

Highlighting absurdities in manufacturing and retail practices is the first step towards correcting what is becoming an epidemic problem of cost vs. suitability today.  So there you have it:  consider this absurdity duly highlighted.

Obviously, I planned to send the trim kit back forthwith, but not without first speaking my piece on the disturbing lack of quality--in fact, the complete and utter unsuitability--of this overpriced item.


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