I don't know what to make of this--help!

The instrument may or may not fail eventually - only time will tell. It may be "only" a "cosmetic" defect, but defect it is, nevertheless.
Well, they all fail eventually. But that's a different story.
Using 2 pieces (not for decorative purposes) does make the instrument cheaper to make, and it still shouldn't do that.

This may sound counterintuitive, but a two piece top is often a sign of a better made instrument. When you have two pieces of wood that are bookmatched, they are dimensionally more stable than one that's cut from a single, larger cross section of wood because wood has different levels of density at different places.

Yes, it's also because there aren't that many bits of quartersawn wood that can be harvested from one tree, but mostly it is because bookmatched tops often make for a better instrument. The join between those two pieces of wood are at least as strong a a one piece top, there's a cleat underneath them all along the join.

It is more expensive to make an instrument with a bookmatched top, there's more labour involved. In fact, Martin uses three pieces of wood for some of its guitars.

If the bridge hasn't moved (if it had the instrument wouldn't intonate properly), there are no loose braces (again, it would be obvious from the sound if it was) and there's no cracking on the top, I think that this is not going to be where the instrument fails unless it's physically damaged somehow. Seam separation is much more common around the sides of an instrument anyway, and that is after many years.

Still, this is all beside the point.

The seller of the uke isn't here to defend themselves. The buyer seems happy. Trying to find faults where there are none worth mentioning seems unnecessary.
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I don't HAVE to try to find fault. The fault is there and glaringly obvious. Not arguing with whether or not the buyer is "happy" (or at least resigned), nor is it germane whether or not the seller is "here to defend themselves". I stand by my evaluation. I would not buy a uke like that and I'd be willing to bet that there are very few people who would knowingly buy a uke that looked like that at point of sale.

And again, if it is ALREADY swelling, now, in winter when things are usually at their driest, the potential for it to swell even more when humidity levels rise is concerning.

This is not my first wooden instrument, not even my first instrument in the lute family. Again I've never seen this kind of "gaping" (since "cracking or whatever you call that" didn't pass muster) in any guitar or uke (or mandoline) that I or anyone else I've ever known have ever had.

shrug YMMV. Mine doesn't.
Some of us appear to be more upset about this than the OP.
No kidding, the OP probably left his poor ukulele in the garage last night in case it did something strange. It may have been your suggestion @ kkimmura, but someone suggested taking that humidifier out of the case...first thing I'd have done as well. Who knows, he may have caused his own problem?
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