Should things we buy last forever?

I don’t know about y’all, but it seems that more and more of what I buy just doesn’t seem to last.


I remember when I was growing up; I would earn extra money working in neighbor’s yards. My neighbors, the Mikells, had an old refrigerator in their utility room
where they kept Coca-Colas, RC’s and the like for when you got hot. I know that icebox had to go back to the early 1950’s.

They retired it to the utility room when they purchased a new one for the house sometime in the late 60’s. But despite it’s retirement, like the energizer bunny it keeps
going and going and going.
My parents bought one sometime in the early sixties that is still keeping stuff cool at my uncle’s. They just seem to last forever. I’ve already worn out a refrigerator,
one of those newer ones.

We also had a Snapper riding mower that just kept rolling for nearly 30 years, and then got sold. I imagine it’s still mowing somewhere.


I don’t know how many lawnmowers I’ve worn out in my life, but it seems I’m getting one every time I turn around.
It is also amazing to me how hard it is getting to work on things you buy. We got a car that you can’t even see the battery. How do you give it a jump? Of course, now you
need to take cars to the dealership to hook them up to a computer that tells you if all the other computer parts are working.

I recently had to remove the battery from my riding lawn mower. Who designs these things? I had to turn the mower on its rear to get to the bolt holding it down. I then had

to remove the seat to take it out. You would think they would make it so you can get it out without taking the mower apart. Maybe it’s a safety issue. Maybe they are afraid
someone is going to steal the battery, so they create as many obstacles to getting it out as they can.

We are all getting more and more electronic and computer based products. When they break we have to take them in to be worked on.


I bought a VCR a few years ago. I think I paid around $500 for it. I took it in for repairs one time, paying around $100. Have you ever looked inside one of those things?
There’s not that much in there.  When it broke again, it was cheaper to buy a new one than have it looked at.
Not fixed, just looked at.

I guess we are simply creating a disposable attitude about appliances. With care, they once seemed to last forever, but now they just wear out and get replaced.

Maybe it’s us.


Maybe our lives are moving so fast we just don’t have the time to maintain things like we should. But I think there is a little bit more at work here.


Quality should not be a thing of the past. There are good people out there working in these companies making products. I know many of them care about what they do.

Sometimes they probably don’t get what they need to make a quality product. Even if they do their best, something may go wrong.


I heard a few years ago, before the children of the boomers were on the scene, that many companies realized they could no longer sell various appliances and other durable goods. They had made them so well the old ones wouldn’t wear out.


Someone made a decision, “Let’s not make them so durable. So they will have to buy another one in 10 or 12 years.”


I don’t know if this is true. I wasn’t there, but faced with diminishing sales it sounds feasible.


You don’t think the innovations in consumer goods from record players to 8-track to cassette to compact disc, and the VCR to DVD and every additional variation are
exclusively to give us better sound and picture.

They do give us that, but these advances are usually timed by manufacturers who are seeing sagging sells of their last innovation and want to once again tap that same market, people who already bought their previous innovation.


These advances allow us to spend money once again on new formats of our favorite movies and music so that we can play and see it on our new toys. Innovation opens endless potential to marketers for new sales. That is if they find something that is widely accepted. Remember beta format video and laser movie discs. Most people do not.


I look at the surviving consumer goods from the earliest part of the 20th century. The cast-iron typewriters, the tube radios, the pedal sewing machines or the non-motorized push mowers are just a few of these. The ones I’ve seen still work. Some of these are 60- to 100-years-old and they still work as well as the day they were made.

Unfortunately, if some little something goes wrong, you can no longer buy what is needed to repair them.

I wonder if our descendants in the year 2112 will be able to look back at what we’re making now.


Will they be able to sit down and sew a piece of cloth, type a letter, or tune in the Grand Ole Opry on our appliances?


Maybe they will, but at the rate I’m going through the stuff there won’t be anything left.