Some older members of the population will remember the now long forgotten said to be “the good old days”, when things ‘were built to last’, and everything that broke could be mended, so keeping them running as long as possible, and we all knew a bloke who could do it for a few bob, eh? Oh yes, days long gone unfortunately, aren’t they?.
You see the world has changed about circle, and our lives have been taken over by the money grabbing shysters, hasn’t it? Our once close, family, community, sharing & caring societies that we fondly, if mistakenly, remember have turned into winner takes all, shit on the weakest, survival of the fittest, biggest house on the hill earns the crown. Yep, that is the price of progress and capitalism’s overwhelming success for you, isn’t it?
Well, most people haven’t got the big picture yet, nor even realize that they are being treated as suckers, do they? That is because they are being ripped-off by everybody, all and sundry indeed, with the biggest and most trusted businesses way out in the lead, eh?
Everything we consumers buy is now built to FAIL, all goods are designed to become out of date and redundant as soon as possible, all items are made almost impossibly difficult to repair [designed in a way to make repairs so costly it outweighs the cost of a brand new item] – are YOU getting the message now? The manufacturers are intent on what you buy becoming useless, so you have to buy AGAIN, and so join the throw-away society in a serious environmental issue, whatever your innermost desire to save the Planet?
Those who have been involved say in the electronics industries or in the supply of military equipment, will know that the essential guts of most equipments includes components that in addition to performance, have varying attributes such as predicted environmental survival capability, shelf life, and most significantly the operating life. The manufacturing process for an electronic chip itself will deliver different yields of attributes and the very best outcomes will be used in constructing space modules and similar applications, while the worse will be destined for cheap toys and the like. The same kind of thing applies to all the other bits that go onto a printed circuit board to populate it – resistors, transistors, diodes, capacitors, gates, potentiometers, inductors, oscillators, relays, batteries, fuses, ICs, active devices, et al. Hence industry has the power to determine how long their products last on average by selecting the quality of componentry used and how utilised. That is indeed exactly what they do when planning how to rip you off – do they ever tell you how long they have decided your new expensive gismo is going to last? NEVER, eh?
When modern legislation for example forces manufactures to provide an Energy Label for all white goods and home appliances to tell the consumer about the efficiency and energy consumption of the product [Refrigerators, Freezers, Fridge Freezers, Washing Machines (including water consumption data), Tumble Dryers, Dishwashers], – but certainly not the designed lifetimes, why eh? Where are the reliability figures that warn the game for it purchaser that the brand new expensive machine will shortly provide you with a costly surprise and sometimes a large repair bill ? That of course is unless you buy-in to a special insurance at high additional cost to extend the free repair beyond a single year, eh? [You will be offered this cover without a hint of red-faced embarrassment at being ripped off with something designed to fail]. As many as nearly a third of you can expect frustration and tears to go along with the dirty clothes in only three or so years, cant you?
Don’t think that it isn’t your own favoured respected manufacturer involved in the scam, will you? No, they are all at it, perhaps except Miele [AEG, Beko, Bosch, Hotpoint, Indesit, and Zanussi, to name some]. Unlike forty years ago, they now all weld seal the ‘design inadequate’ bearings and the drums to prevent repairers getting access to repair them when their common faults immerges – so you HAVE to buy a new machine, don’t you? The policy is to make stuff look good then sell it cheap without warning customers it has been built to quickly fail and be irreparable.
There are many other glaring examples of how manufactures take the Mickey, aren’t there? When you buy a printer for your PC you cannot believe how cheap it is, nor indeed how long it lasts – is that a reverse trend there then? No, the printer is simply a Trojan Horse isn’t it? The manufacturers make their killing from the ink, don’t they? Ink is cheap but not when they sell it in their bespoke cartridges – your financial outpourings on them will quickly overwhelm the giveaway cost of the printer. Moreover, if you try to use an ink refilled cartridge from somewhere else, the manufacturer will have downloaded a detector in their software and refuse to tell you the ink level (and probably other printer punishments to boot?).
Then let us mention the nowadays our ‘cannot do without’ mobile smartphones. They are precision crafted with in-built flaws to rip you off, eh? Take for example the iconic, expensive, up-market, Apple iPhone, the biggest selling phone in mobile history [well over 700 million] – from an honest respectable manufacturer, you’d think? Oh yes, designed though to last only about three years – then off you have to go back to the Apple store? Apple batteries (even if supplied without an inbuilt fault) wear out and don’t hold charge well, as we all know – so Apple make it puny and bury it inside so it can’t be easily replaced? Unbeknown to the average user, Apple for some reason even automatically enact software features that set out to drain your little battery in no time flat? When the battery goes balky the user tends to look for an upgrade, don’t they?
The working guts of the iPhone are ‘glued’ inside by Apple so they can’t be removed and replaced when they fail, can they? Users occasionally drop phones so Apple don’t use a toughened or shatterproof screen do they? Apple will rigorously harvest information from phones for their own beneficial use and not yours for certain.
Say your phone works fine with a replacement or spare PC connection & charging cable, then Apple download a new software update which somehow detects it is not an Apple bit of wire, so suddenly it has stopped working and off to the Apple store you have to go, don’t you?
Certainly Apple’s iPhone has become big-business purely through ‘image’ and coolness rather than its ‘ability’ to actually work as a phone or be reliable – and that shows one the gullibility of the general public in the absence of published factual information, doesn’t it?
You can be confident that the other mobile/cell phone manufacturers are at the same game, but may not be as good at it yet or perhaps even better – Samsung certainly has substantially worse reliability?
The procurers of equipment for use in military applications want to know about performance, reliability, and reparability, before they buy, so should all consumers so they know what they are getting into, surely?
[Consumer protection laws in the UK are much too lax, so we need to see a substantial extension to the ‘Energy Label’ type disclosure by manufacturers, and apply it also to many other products – the buyers then can demand change & might decide to pay more to get more when they know the trade-offs. eh?]