Planned Obsolescence

It started with a ball point,

A little plastic pen.

Forget replacement cartridge.

Buy new, begin again.

 

Before too long, repairing

Became something of a myth.

Discard the old, spend afresh.

Commerce’s great self gift.

 

Advancements in technology

Had ideas about forever

But panic is a fearsome foe.

Reduce their spending? Never!

 

‘We’ll have to get a grip on this

Before the market fails.

Put a halt on progress, chaps, or

We’ll be going off the rails.’

 

‘How about some plotting then?

Some bugs to keep them keen?

Repairs cost more than buying new?

Nudge, wink. Know what I mean?’

 

‘You’re joking, man, they’re not that daft.

Unless of course we’re wary.

This could save our arses, guys.

Penury is scary.’

 

‘How about we use components

That fail in maybe five years?

That would keep them buying.’

‘Sure, we’ve found the answer. Cheers!’

 

‘Now profit margin’s down a bit.

Some work is needing done

On putting up the ante, folks.

This could be such fun!’

 

‘Keep in reserve the best of stuff

And filter through the trash,

Give them a taste of what’s to come.

Same stuff, we’ll just rehash.’

 

‘We’re owed some homage for our work,

Humility, some obeisance.

We’ll get our kicks, lads, never fear

By planning obsolescence.’

 

It never ends. Manipulation.

Market forces, it seems,

Determine days from when a pen was filled

For inscribing future dreams.

 

 

26 thoughts on “Planned Obsolescence”

      1. I know. That’s the bugger of it. I’ve had quotes in the past for repairs to washing machines where even the repair man has said I would be better buying new. New! The feckin’ things haven’t even lost their good look yet and they’re going to the bin. It’s such a waste of materials and resources. And it’s a plot! And they don’t give a damn that the world is full of bits of scrap. You know I found an old-fashioned hand wringer in my cellar a couple of years ago. A gorgeous piece of work. Took me back to my childhood. I might return to it yet. The wringer, not my childhood. Although….;) x

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    1. Well, that was a ploy with cars too, started way back when. And they’re still at it. Makes me sick. Buying forever because nothing lasts. Deliberately. Bet you we wouldn’t have half the amount of trash circulating worldwide if they’d stop their shenanigans.x

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      1. What if you just wear what you want washed into the local pool 🙂 Drag all the kids down with their clothes on to be washed. Knowing your luck they would start charging you for that too 🙂 I suppose it might look odd wearing a cocktail dress into the pool though eh 🙂 Oh well, back to hosing them down in the back yard again 🙂

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      2. Oh, touch wood, there’s nothing wrong with my washing machine at the moment. That just came to mind when I was answering the comment. How many times I’ve had to replace it. But I had been talking about economics with someone and it reminded me of the fact that, when I was in my teens, I heard the phrase ‘planned obsolescence’ for the first time. I kind of poo-pooed it at the time. But, as life goes on, it seems that everything has a shorter life span than it could be capable of having. And all to keep profits up. I just wonder what would be possible if manufacturers made things last as long as they were capable of doing. Would the world fall apart? Might they put their minds to greater things? Could we all stop buying the same things over and over again? It’s like light bulbs. Energy saving versus your run of the mill. Why the hell would I want the run of the mill if I can buy something that lasts? I hate shopping! Except for paper and books. And pens. Oh, god, I’m responsible!:) x

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      3. I have to say that I would prefer to pay more for something that would last, so they would still be getting their money. And in the process it would stop the astronomical amount of things being thrown away and creating those massive waste dumps, and would reduce our imprint on the planet by a humungus amount as well. Hold your hand up momus, I’m voting you in for the next election. No more pens, all done by computer voting. The change has begun, a revolution by technology 🙂 Well the technology is here, what are they afraid of, that we may then get to vote on all decisions and reduce their ability to be ‘paid off’ under the table. Because if the decision making comes back to us, which is what Democracy is, there is no point of the commercial interests in ‘chatting up’ or ‘paying off’ a politician for their needs. God, the mass exodus from parliament would be like a breath of fresh air 🙂

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      4. I am so with you on that. Well, not the going into politics part for me. That would be hell on earth as it stands. But, I’m doing a lot of research and reading just now on the upcoming Scottish election for Independence. And some of the stuff is really incredible. I’m getting history lessons and world politic lessons by the day. Politicians are terrified of devolved power. Terrified. The nearer to the people decision making becomes the more they panic. I’ve thought for a long while that small is better in terms of accuracy of interest and decision-making. We still have to concern ourselves with global issues, for sure. But we really need to get our own back yard in order first. And they will not do that for us. That’s up to us.
        I see even the area in and around Venice have voted – albeit informally, at the moment – for independence from Italy. People want some autonomy and just don’t feel they are getting it in the massive governmental structures that presently exist.
        It’s as if everything has been and continues to be wrapped up and kept away from those who are the owners, the real employers, – Us! Time to manage the ‘household’ in a more hands on manner.
        Maybe if there is a separation of interest, as you say, from commerce and politics we might see real change that benefits the country and those in it. Making a mark on the world one vote at a time.
        Sorry, going off on one there. 😉
        Thanks, Mark, for your insights and comments. Hope you had a great weekend. Lots of ice cream. Well, you don’t drink. 🙂 x

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      5. Well said momus, and exactly how we all feel I be thinking. Maybe we should vote on it. Take a referendum to the people.
        As for the more humdrum of life, I’m eating too much. I’m either pregnant (ooh, think of the money in that 🙂 ), or I’m stressing!. And I know I’m not stressing so…now I’m worried. Maybe I just need to get off my backside (out from this computer), and wander the beaches a little more (and stop dropping into the beach side cafe’s for a coffee and something I really shouldn’t eat 🙂 ).
        Have a good nights sleep momus while I be a good boy and climb onto my mums roof and repair the gutter that got damaged in the storm we had the other night. It was wonderful, lightning, pouring rain and so refreshing after this long dry spell we’ve had.
        Oh, and if you change your mind…I’ll vote for you, with the technology I can do it from over here!

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      6. Well, rather you than me on the pregnancy front. I’ve done my share. Some would say more than. 😉
        I envy you living next to the beach. How glorious that sounds. Beach and mountains would be my ideal. I don’t think I would even mind the weather so much because they’re both gorgeous under any conditions. But I’m glad you’ve had a bit of respite on what was obviously getting too hot to handle.
        Speaking of which! Stop munching all the cakes and pastries. You want to be hot enough to handle! Only kidding. Wire in. A bit of gastronomic delight is always a pleasure.
        As far as the politics go and the populace I think you’re spot on in that we’re all getting heartily sick and fed up of what passes for government. You don’t even want to know what the current shower of eejits In Westminster are at. The rich and dumb with sound bites that are nearly as asinine as themselves. If I could get my hands on them right now I’d maybe have to serve time. Really pathetic bunch of self-serving wankers. Sorry but it’s true. Somebody’s gonna blow that place up soon. Oh that’s right that was tried before and look what happened to him. Fire crackers every year to remind us to keep our place in the scheme of things.
        Ah, go help your mum. It’s love and good works that make the world go round. Ignore my rantings. I’m heading for bed. Almost witching hour. Too many pumpkins in life without turning into one. 😉 x

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      7. You sure you weren’t a politician in a previous life. Got a very good handle on it. But now on the opposite side…must be your Karma coming through 🙂 Thank you my friend, always good to hear a voice in the darkness for our fears. Sleep well, may spirit come and give you the answers to life in your dreams. (put a recorder or journal beside your bed…I can fell the lottery numbers coming in your dreams 🙂 ) Night x

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      8. I think I might have been a witch in a previous life. If I believed in it. 😉 I Like magic and nature.
        No, I’ll be an Egyptian princess with an entourage of followers fanning me and keeping my bath topped up with milk!
        No,scratch that. I always wanted to be a cowboy/girl! Used to dress up as one for Hallowe’en. Even had a song to go with the outfit. 🙂
        Betcha I was a servant in the workhouse in dreary darkest Londinium and that’s why I feel sorry for kids.
        Here I could go on all night like this. Might do a post on it instead. 🙂
        Off to bed now. May the spirit be with us all.’Night. x

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    1. VW was always such a good make. What a pity yours was taken from you after all that time and service.
      I’m even thinking of some of the appliances my mum had when we were kids. They seemed to last forever. Or certainly for much longer. There is no way technology has regressed. So, it is an obsolescence in built to ensure continued purchase. Even shoes and other clothing items are no longer as serviceable as they once were. Everything is becoming very throw away and start again. I hate it. And try, where I can, to not participate in the sham.x

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    1. It has extended to everything it would seem. Even those things that would be relatively easy to repair. I’ve caught my own kids going to throw something out because it has a hole in it, like a pair of jeans or a jumper. Nearly went through them. A needle and thread and it was sorted. We very much are a throw away society and it is sad to think that so much is lost to the growing heaps for the want of a bit of effort. Although, I don’t know how to repair washing machines. 😉 x

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