Saturday, September 1, 2012

They Used to Last

Way back in ancient history when I was a kid if someone bought a major appliance, such as a stove, washing machine, or refrigerator, they assumed it would last for the rest of their lives and they were often right. Smaller things like irons, electric mixers, toasters, phonographs, and electric hand tools were expected to last forever, too. And when people bought a new car they thought it would probably last for for fifteen or twenty years if they took good care of it.

Sometimes people who could afford it would buy newer versions of things because they had features the old ones lacked, but that wasn't a necessity.

Now we're lucky if things can be used for a fraction of the time they once were. That phone from 2000? A ten year old computer? Toss them as e-waste! Even major appliances wear out far sooner than they used to.

Some of the need to buy new things is because of technological advances that keep older things from working, but even some of those changes aren't improvements. Others are legally required because of energy efficiency. And household items don't need a lot of fancy features. But many things are just changed because of planned obsolescence. That helps manufacturers make money, but it's sure hard on individuals, especially in this present economy.

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