Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Mar 2017 23:42 UTC
In the News

Now refrigerators last 8-10 years, if you are fortunate. How in the world have our appliances regressed so much in the past few decades? I've bought and sold refrigerators and freezers from the 1950s that still work perfectly fine. I've come across washers and dryers from the 1960s and 1970s that were still working like the day they were made. Now, many appliances break and need servicing within 2-3 years and, overall, new appliances last 1/3 to 1/4 as long as appliances built decades ago. They break more frequently, and sooner, than ever before. They rust and deteriorate much quicker than in the past. Why is this happening, and what's really going on? I've been wrestling over these questions for years while selling thousands of appliances, and more recently, working with used appliance sellers and repair techs all across the country. The following is what I've discovered.

This is something we've all instinctively known, but Ryan Finlay goes into detail as to what, exactly, are the causes. The article's from 2015, but I stumbled on it today on Twitter, and I thought it was a great, informative read.

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RE[2]: Comment by joekiser
by karunko on Tue 21st Mar 2017 14:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by joekiser"
karunko
Member since:
2008-10-28

Maybe. But I was shocked that the article did not mention any of the biggest brand names of appliances in Europe. The once that have brand name loyalty for quality and lasting a long time. Maybe the US just needs to buy better stuff?

Nothing new I'm afraid. In 1979 Frank Zappa was already singing:

"All that we've got here is American made,
it's a little bit cheesy but it's nicely displayed.

We don't get excited when it crumbles and breaks,
we just get on the phone and call up some flakes.

They rush on over and wreak it some more,
and we are so dumb they're lining up at out door."


https://open.spotify.com/track/7yi2Vzc2Oa2Stgy9a8y51f

But, to stay on topic (and for the sake of playing the devil's advocate just a little): how can I stay in business if I sell you something and it's going to be good for 30 years or more? Okay, I could start expanding to new markets but once everyone has got one? What's next?


RT.

Edited 2017-03-21 14:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: Comment by joekiser
by Alfman on Tue 21st Mar 2017 15:02 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by joekiser"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

karunko,

But, to stay on topic (and for the sake of playing the devil's advocate just a little): how can I stay in business if I sell you something and it's going to be good for 30 years or more? Okay, I could start expanding to new markets but once everyone has got one? What's next?


+1
That right there is the issue. Making products that last is not profitable. It really sucks that manufacturers interests are so misaligned with consumer interests with regards to durability.

These kinds of topics make me question capitalism itself. To what end should we as society accept economic models that promote waste for the sake of profits? The incentives get very twisted in the energy industry. Everyone deserves to make a living, and so you don't want people to go unemployed just because products last too long or are too efficient, and yet that's exactly what happens under capitalism. The results is anti-incentives for progress. I wish we had a better model for encouraging progress while not disparaging those employees who still need to support their families.

Edited 2017-03-21 15:06 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by joekiser
by JLF65 on Tue 21st Mar 2017 15:49 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by joekiser"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Making a product that lasts IS a growth market... if the market itself is growing. Companies USED to make products that lasted back when the country was growing. As a country ages, that growth slows (and reverses in extreme cases), making it unprofitable to make products that last.

There are segments of the population that are still growing, but they're the poor segment who can't afford a quality product that lasts, so the growth doesn't help.

Reply Parent Score: 4