Talon News - Good Local News

PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE IS DYING

 


Who's not heard the expression, “planned or engineered obsolescence”? “Did you know that the lifetime of light bulbs have been reduced on purpose to just 1000 hours? Or that your printer may “break” after a predefined number of printed pages determined by an electronic counter?” Watch “The Lightbulb Conspiracy” on YouTube and your darkest suspicions of this practice will be confirmed.

This delving documentary demonstrates how products or their specific components are designed to fail at a predetermined time. So too, is the case with so many foreign-produced goods, manufactured with slave labor wages. We've all experienced the frustration of dealing with cheap, mass-produced products, such as clothes, shoes, electronics, toys, etc., falling apart or giving out before they should.

The drive to sell more in order to grow the economy, with no consideration for the resultant massive mounds of waste, is being recognized for what it is: insane greed and reckless profiteering. This diabolical side of capitalism is the curse of all conscious consumers; it simply breaches the idea of common sense and rational thought. “What consumerism really is, at its worst, is getting people to buy things that don't actually improve their lives,” to quote the powerful, mega-marketer, Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and now Whole Foods.

The good news is: the throw-away culture is meeting its demise. There are groups, such as the Degrowth Revolution, fighting against this evil marketing strategy. Aware consumers are seeking quality, not quantity; and heading in the direction of local suppliers, especially when it comes to food. Farmers Markets are proliferating all over the country.

Corporations care not about individuals and service; they're concerned with the bottom line and profit margins. But that does not apply to all. The most progressive and successful ones tune in and adapt to the desires and needs of their valued customers. I've seen this trend toward better service locally at Lowe's and a few others. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the Aztec Safeway. The lack of management awareness and presence is astounding! The importance of proper staffing, even at off-times like a Sunday evening, should be obvious.. Recently I faced a long line, one checker and no self-check option. Of course, no sign of management anywhere and when I asked the clerk about the lack of help, she said “they don't care—call the number on your receipt to complain.” I did. It resulted in a dead-end series of automated voice commands with no chance of talking to a human.

Planned obsolescence, low-quality products and poor service reflect directly on the level of consumer passivity and the herd mentality. Too often people choose not to question--in the end most submit-- and go along to get along. That posture perpetuates mediocrity and stagnation. We need a sense of disgust for rank business practices and an attitude of “why should I settle for sub-par service—I'm the customer.” Have you ever thanked the clerk and had them respond, “no problem,” as if you could be their problem? Aren't businesses supposed to thank the customer for their business in hopes of building loyalty?

How about products that stand the test of time, diminishing the amount of waste; and good 'ol service based on mutual respect? Let's expect less--demand more!

 

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