My Beef with Planned Obsolescence

planned_obsalescence
I’m about ready to go on another of my rants, that’s right, one rant coming right up.

If you’re curious about other rants I’ve had in the past you can see them here, here, and here.

But my current rant?

It’s about my TV. My 37 inch LCD, not too big, not too small, just right, only five year old TV…

… which broke.

Not quite blew up but wherever there was meant to be black on the screen was suddenly light blue which meant the colours were mental. It had to be fixed.

No problem, we rang the service number in the manual and they directed us to a local TV repair who advised us it would be $54 to check it over and would take about three days.

No bother, okay, we can do that.

However, after three days we were told that the problem was a part in the TV which had blown and that part was no longer available.

Wha…?

The TV is five years old! Are you saying that within five years of this thing being made there is not a part to be found to repair it with??!

Yes, that’s what they were saying.

Welcome to Planned-Freakin-Obsolescence my friends.

What’s planned obsolescence you say? It sounds like an old folks home?

Well, it’s not, it is something we all live with on an everyday basis which means that our products break well before their lifespan is up. The reason being that supposedly all of these broken products keep consumers buying more and keep companies and the economy rolling. Some people say it’s a myth, I think it absolutely exists but no company of course would dare admit they design products to break.

But think about how many of your things have just… stopped working and could not be repaired.

I have several, in fact our house is riddled with them.

The fridge – don’t get me started. Another product less than five years old that freezes up every three months, apparently this is a common problem with this model. However, the part needed to fix the problem? You guessed it, is no longer available.

My phone – oh ho ho ho! The love/hate relationship I have with my phone. It has been working fine for about eighteen months but suddenly it drops out of service… when I’m on the phone! I’m sorry but isn’t that it’s sole purpose! To make phone calls! Why not just get a new phone you ask. Because I don’t want a new one, I just want the one I’ve got, to work! Is that too much to ask?

Our dresser drawers – They broke. They broke because they were badly made, cheaply made even though it didn’t feel like we were paying a cheap price. But again, it’s okay, we’ll fix it. No, apparently we won’t because the size of the runners needed no longer exist!!

The TV we had when I was a kid was a square box on wheels, it weighed about a hundred kilos and you probably could have fried an egg on top of it with all the energy it used but it worked and for a good twenty years too.

I sometimes wonder if while we have made great technological advances in creating products that don’t use so much energy have we tipped the sustainable balance anyway with the amount of waste we produce by turning these new products over every couple of years?

If you want to know more about planned obsolescence, it’s not a secret, start here with this documentary called The Lightbulb Conspiracy.

If you want to fight back and take things into your own hands, check out IFixIt.org to find out how and why we should be repairing our things.

What do you think? Does planned obsolescence exist?

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