Commentary: Connections - Satisfied Customers; March 1996; Scientific American Magazine; by Burke; 2 Page(s)
I suppose the modern department store, with its money-back-guaranteed merchandise, is one of the great examples of industrial democracy in action. Thanks to mass production and distribution, I can go back to the shop and get a free replacement for the cup that I found a flaw in last week. It was one of those willow-pattern things. Genuine Wedgwood. An ironic term, really, because Wedgwood's original stuff was fake.
Josiah Wedgwood was a potter who started his career repairing Delft chinaware (fake porcelain, first made for the Dutch middle classes who couldn't afford the sky-high prices of the real thing coming in from the Far East). Then, in 1769, he graduated to crafting his own stuff (fake Greek pieces, first made for the English middle classes who couldn't afford the sky-high prices of the real thing coming in from southern Italy).