I get cranky when I buy household appliances that have features built in to fail.
It does seem that manufacturers do this so that we must replace items in the short term, thus adding to their profits.
And to the frustration of buyers!
In my book, household appliance manufacturers could be seen as being in the same box as the banks and financiers who created the global recession. I mean this in the sense of the danger the practice poses to the globe.
I reckon this built in obsolescence of so much stuff - not just electrical appliances - must stop if we are to make any headway against climate change. The waste occurring because of this practice is extreme, and the damage to our environment beyond measure.
Imagine my Dad’s day when everyone made things to last. People had pride in their workmanship and we could count on having possessions around for years to come. We should concentrate on making today's technology last.
Now, rarely do goods work much past their warranty period, and break down in that time, if we’re lucky.
Land fills are full of them.
Surely it is possible to make things last without too much overall expense. It costs to send things to landfill. It costs to make packaging for two processors rather than one well made one. I think of the transport from one side of the world to another - twice. On and on.
We’ve become meek little lambs to the slaughter, not questioning this shoddy practice, although grumbling as we try to make ends meet. It’s unfair and it’s immoral.
The obsolescence fiend struck again this week - at my place. My food processor threw in the towel. The motor seized.
While working well enough when it was working at all, this little machine had been falling to bits almost from the day it reached my kitchen.
The discs for shredding and slicing were the first to fail. They were made of thin aluminium which was bound to buckle. And did in short time.
More recently the main blade developed stress fractures in the plastic holding the sharp steel. This quickly became worse, and the little fractures expanded to dangerous looking cracks. It looked as though the blades could fly off any time during operation of the machine.
The failure of the motor and my decision to give the machine the flick happened at almost the same time. And I hasten to say that I hadn't been trying to chop up anything solid.
I decided to beat the system and pay twice as much for a stronger machine that would last. The new one has a big strong motor and can even be used in commercial kitchens.
It cuts and slices and shreds and mixes with supreme simplicity. My new machine with its ten year guarantee of the motor will be around as long as I will!
But wait …
The day after my purchase I’m taking apart the spindle and the blades so I can wash and store them. The spindle is stuck and won’t come away with all the twisting and pulling I can muster.
Eventually I tap the top of it on the bench top, hoping it will come free.
Still no joy. I tap half a dozen times before the two bits come apart, as it should have done easily in the first place.
I'm called on to fight this battle again when I reassemble the blades for another test. I cut my finger on the blades on this attempt, and the blood flows.
I’m off to the shop today to take back my beautiful processor.
So much for beating built in obsolescence.
How do you approach this problem at your place? Do you pay more or just get the cheap stuff and replace it early?
Should society ban the manufacture of rubbish?