Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Home Electronics Blues

Why is everything made of crap these days? It used to be that you could purchase, say, a cassette player, and that cassette player would last you a good 20 years. The player would hold up so long it would become technologically obsolete. True, electronics and appliances once cost about 500% more than they now do, but if you have to constantly replace your cheap electronics, it probably comes out even at the end. And isn't it easier to spend more in the first place and not have to constantly shop for and hook up DVD players?

Yes, my two-year old DVD player died the other night. Yes, it was a cheap piece of crap; I bought the entire 2.1 home theater system at Sam's Club for something like $150. I didn't think it would hold up forever, but two years? When exactly did home theater systems become disposable?

When I replaced my 30 year-old garage door opener several months ago I didn't feel badly about it. Thirty years seems like a good run. The refrigerator that died two months ago was at least 25 years old, and again I figured that was a good long life for a kitchen appliance. What's annoying is that I doubt the new opener will last ten, let alone 30, years, and the new refrigerator is about 1/4 as well made as was its predecessor. It's a lot prettier, goldenrod having been retired from the kitchen appliance palette, but it's very plastic-y. I will certainly have to replace it during my lifetime.

Browse an old Sears catelogue and you'll learn more synonyms for "polyester" than you ever knew existed and you'll also be amazed at how much certain things once cost. In 1974, a 25" color TV ran around $750 (yes, they were still selling black and whites in 1974); a clock radio $50; $1,700 for a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer. In 2008 dollars, that TV would set you back $3,239.47. Or look at it this way: in 2008 I bought a 40" LCD HDTV for less than $750, and that new fridge cost me $1,200 back in May. Things cost a whole lot less these days.

Too bad what we're buying is crap.


LVCI said...

Disposable society- Hence why nearly all the repair shops are gone.

But more dumps then ever for these. But we don't care because the dumps are in China and elsewhere.

VIDEO: China is the world's dump for electronic waste with about 70% of the industry's material smuggled into the country

Elucidator said...

Plus, have you heard about that section of the Pacific that's full of our plastic bags, swirling around and around, making the ocean unpassable as they starve fish? Once we fill up Asia and the Pacific, I guess we'll start using the moon as a big dump for crappy DVD players.

tunsie said...

the older stereo systems were built 2 last because they had heat sinks in them.this disapates the heat from the eletronic components.new systems don't have these.they want you 2 burn out your system so u need 2 buy one every year or so.tunsie.tunsie