Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Planned Obsolescence

Planned Obsolescence is a manufacturing strategy I have come to despise lately. First, my Black & Decker blender craps out on a batch of mole'. It lasted 2 years at the most. I should have known better then to buy a blender from Black & Decker. I won't even by a drill from them. Then my Panasonic Microwave decides it can't run past 10 seconds. This hunk of junk, pictured below with my heap of other planned to die appliances, lasted 6 years tops!
And then! The topper! My portable Whirlpool dishwasher decides to give out after only 5 years!
This hunk of junk not only leaves my dishes as dirty as they were when I put them in, but bakes on all remnants of food making it twice as hard to hand wash them. I'm starting to understand why I saw so many appliances out in the Nevada desert full of bullet holes. These things aren't worth more then being target practice now, and it costs a pretty penny to dispose of all this crap. We're suppose to be all eco groovy, not fill our landfills with more and more stuff, but the people who manufacture this junk are creating the problem by manufacturing appliances that can't even last 10 years. My paranoid mind tells me they're in on receiving the fees you have to pay to dispose of this stuff.
This is why I will not throw this beautiful toaster away (manufactured by Toastmaster), I absolutely refuse to replace it with some new fancy schmancy toaster with a bunch of bells and whistles I don't need. I just need something to toast my bread. (The Brave Little Toaster movie comes to mind.)
This thing of beauty is 40 years old. A toaster my parents got from some bank when they took out a loan. You know what? It still WORKS! And it works well. Why can't we have appliances like that now? Like the 40 year old Maytag washer and dryer I had. I finally had to replace them. I got the Whirlpool duet washer and dryer, with all the bells and whistles. You know how long it took before I had to have a repair man out to fix the "mother board"? Six frickin months! And what is a mother board anyway? I thought I bought a washer and dryer, not a space ship.
To finish off this little rant of mine, here's a picture of another trusty electronic item of mine.
My 35 year old Realistic amplifier. I know, what's the connection to food? Well, I like to listen to music when I cook. And this amp has NEVER failed me. As you can see we have and listen to a lot of vinyl, but we also have cassettes (what are those?), CD's and MP3. I can listen to it all as loud as I want through my trusty 35 year old amplifier, broken button and all. Apparently 35 years ago, manufacturers took pride in the quality of their products, rather then in maximizing profit by selling consumers a bunch of junk over and over.

My advice to you....if you have an old appliance or electronic item that still works. Keep it! Chances are it will still outlast anything new you buy. (Don't get me started on our vacuum cleaner situation!)

Caveat Emptor!

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Amen! Brilliantly written--and I agree completely.

I have an old Montgomery Ward's microwave oven that my granny bought when I got married in the early-90s. It's followed me all over the country and still works great.

As for new appliances, I rarely buy anything expensive just because of the probability that it won't last very long--why pay more, when I'll just have to throw it out in a year or three? I bought my washer & dryer used from a local merchant--at $150 each I can deal if it doesn't last a lifetime.