Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thirteen For A Dozen

Do we throw this away or keep it? I think I can fix it let me give it a look, that’s all right I’ll just buy another because it’ll cost more for you to fix it than for me to get a new one.

Does this sound familiar? It seems we are now living in a throwaway society, a society where nothing is actually made to last, things are now made to be thrown away after a short time, and replaced with a new version.

I remember a time when the soles and heels on my boots were actually replaced many times over, and now days I can’t even tell you where a good boot repair shop actually is, because I simply replace my boots.

I once a pair of boots that were older than my kids, I had spent so much money on new soles and heels over the years that I could have paid for a new pair a couple of times, but the point I am making is that the boots were not falling apart.

Furniture is easier to replace than to fix, simply due to the quality of the materials used today, furniture that was made thirty years ago is still holding strong and if you want to pay to have it reupholstered it will still be holding strong thirty years from now.

And speaking of strong you really have to be strong if you want to rearrange the furniture made it that era, the furniture today you are lucky if it doesn’t break when you sit down on it.

It seems that a lot of corners are cut to make items cheaper, although the prices don’t seem to come down the quality sure seems to.

Even with groceries, how many of you remember “A bakers dozen” say you go into the bakery and order a dozen donuts, your friendly neighborhood baker would throw thirteen in the box and charge you for twelve.

Go to the grocery store today and pick up a twenty-four pack of Coke and get home to realize there are only twenty in the new packages, but yet you got charged for twenty-four, the quantity is going down on a lot of items, but the price either remains the same or rises.

Computers and electronics make you think they have a part installed inside them that causes the product to self destruct within the week after the warranty runs out, if you buy an extended warranty then you are given the one with the extra long self destruct sequence.

Vehicle prices really get under my skin, the commercials praise the greatness of this car and brag about all the bells and whistles, then in the same breath say “Starting at like a gazillion dollars” like this is a good deal, seriously some of these prices are more than I have paid for a house in the past.

The sad thing is we keep running out and buying these vehicles, we finance them for about six years and then trade them in within four, the prices go up and we buy another.

What if we all made our vehicles last ten years like they should?

I know we wouldn’t be driving the latest and greatest vehicle every four years, but when it does come time to replace our ten year old vehicle the prices could likely be a bit more affordable.

A lot of things break and we have no control over that, but what about the things we can actually repair, is it really easier to throw it away and buy a new one?

37 comments:

  1. Remember pulling tubes out of you TV and testing them at the Hardware store to fix the old TVs...well not me, but my Dad.

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    1. Hey Joe, I do remember the tube TV's waiting for them to warm up and seeing the back of it removed to have tubes replaced,, you sure don't see those anymore.

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  2. If you shop carefully quality can still be found. Furniture: if it's made with particleboard and staples I pass right over it. I paid a fortune, but I have furniture made with hardwoods and steel inside. It'll outlast me.

    And cars: I just read this week that the average car on the road today is 11 years old. I think that's probably more to do with the economy than the fact that people take better care of what they have. But I always consult Consumers Report before I buy a car and it's steered me to some quality vehicles.

    But like you said, people demand "cheap" these days, and the only way to get cheap is to cut corners. "You get what you pay for" has never been more true.

    S

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    1. Yes Scott, I do the same thing as for the particleboard and staples, it is much easier to shell out a few more bucks for furniture made of real wood, the furniture we have now will outlast the Grand-baby if he will simply recover it when the time comes rather than replace it.

      Cindy's Dad has two vehicles that are over twenty years old each, and both still look new.

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  3. "Vehicle prices really get under my skin..."

    Me too, Jimmy! When you think about how much an average car sells for ($30,000), you used to be able to buy a HOUSE for that price - HA! And by the time you're finished paying for it, you have to buy a new one.

    When it comes to my clothes, I like how they feel on my body about the time they're ready to be replaced, so I just patch and sew them up until they literally fall off my body and am forced to buy new ones.

    I'm the kind of person who uses something until I can't use it anymore and then replace it. I don't usually buy new things (like, more modern computers, DVD players, or technical gadgets) until they eventually die.

    Hope you're having a super week, buddy!

    Hi to Cindy!

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    1. Hey Ron, I really have a hard time seeing myself pay that kind of money for a car as I have bought a house in that price range, but if I paid that for a house today I'd most likely be more comfortable in my car Ha Ha

      Cindy calls me a hoarder because of the things I save and repair, when I was still working I'd drag broken things home and fix them up, I really hate to see something useful thrown away.

      I have jeans that I still wear that really should be thrown out but man are they comfortable :)

      A Great Week to you Buddy!

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  4. We take care of everything around here and have been lucky to have things that have lasted. When our 60 inch TV was hit by lightning, I reverted back to an old console that still works fine. My kids keep telling me to replace it and I keep saying... but it still works! Everything has become too disposable, in my opinion.

    I'm not a fan of conspicuous consumption, either.

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    1. I have been accused of attempting to breathe life back into something that should be thrown away, Cindy calls me a hoarder at times I just say I am thrifty :)

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  5. I agree with you all the way. I must admit...we are going to get a new TV even thought the big 27" one from 1986 still works when it wants to. My 1938 GE monitor top 'fridge gave out a couple years ago but I am hanging on to it in case we find someone who can repair it. And we are sticking with our victrola as it still works perfectly and does my piano from the '60's.
    All true and for real.

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    1. Hey MC, I think you will win the award for getting your moneys worth out of everything you own :)

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  6. Its "funny" but we just got a new stove the other day. Nothing fancy. What struck me was the store wanted to sell us an extended warranty for an additional amount of money (of course) for one to three extra years. They sure don't guarantee things like they used to in the older days.

    My van is 13 years old and we are going to drive it until we can't drive it any more. Conversely, son's Cadillac is 19 years old and I think we've replaced everything once and maybe a couple things twice; in his case it would be less expensive to buy a newer vehicle :)

    betty

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    1. Hi Betty, It seems to me the extended warranties they sell on appliances and such is a waste of money, I have never bought one and have not been sorry.

      Yes it does sound like you would be money ahead to replace your sons car, when they start costing more than they are worth kind of makes that decision :)

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  7. I think it matters whether or not you're capable of fixing things, which I'm not.

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    1. Hey Stephen, Very true my Friend, there are many things that I am money ahead replacing that trying to fix, because I simply couldn't fix them if I tried.

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  8. Extended warranties... we used to fall for that one. Now we refuse even to take out insurance on appliances... after forking out for five years cover not once have we needed to call out an engineer. Anyway, it's easier to buy a new one!!!!!

    Gone are the days of true craftsmen, you know, those people who made furniture and boots to last. It's a sad world we live in.

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    1. Hi Valerie, The craftsmanship that went into products in the past is a lost art, it seems things are made today to make a profit rather than to last.

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  9. I remember always replacing the heel tips on my dress shoes for work. I bet you can't even find those anymore. In college, I had a business teacher who loved to talk about planned obsolescence in consumer goods. Maytag isn't going to make any profit if they sell a washer that lasts 20 years. Sad.

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    1. Hey Bijoux, As for Maytag you would like to think they could make a profit simply due to the dependability of their products, word of mouth finds new customers, but again if everyone owned a Maytag then the repairman would just be sitting around Ha Ha

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  10. The vehicles bother me as well.

    I remember when they didn't change vehicle styles every year, and if you kept your pick-up in decent condition, nobody could tell if it was 5 years old. Now a year old vehicle, that is still relatively new, is worth less in value, because it's the old style.

    That frustrates me.

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    1. I agree Ken, We finally broke down and bought a new car for my wife about a year and a half ago, it's a 2010 model and as you mentioned, no one wants it because it's the old style, so I guess we will keep it :)

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  11. As someone who JUST traded an older vehicle for a "new" used one, I agree. I expected the one we traded to last a little longer, but the guys at the repair shop were starting to treat me like family.

    I remember the shoe repair shops. Don't see them so much any more.

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    1. Hey Abby, When the repair guys treat you like family is a sign that a replacement car just may be due :)

      Like you I don't recall seeing a shoe repair shop for quite a while.

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  12. I rarely wear shoes these days (sneakers, mostly, and cheap ones at that) but I do have some good shoes. I have had the heels and/or soles replaced and, barring some sort of catastrophe, I don't expect to ever buy shoes again in my life!

    What boils my onions, like the 20-pack of Coke you talked about, are the jars that have a big bump on the bottom, jutting up, so that you seem to be buying the same size as what you previously bought, but it's actually a couple ounces less than it used to be. Peanut butter manufacturers are notorious for it. What used to be 18 oz. now comes in a jar of the same apparent size, but is 15 oz. or whatever. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

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    1. Hi Jim, I think it is deceptive when they reduce the quantities of products like this, the 20 pack container is really close to the size of the 24 pack, and like you mentioned adding a bump in the bottom of a Peanut butter jar makes it look like the same size jar you are used to buying..sigh

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  13. Well...I have to differ with my take on all this (a little bit). I remember my inlaws saying that their cars had to be replaced every 4 - 5 years in the 70's and 80's because they just started breaking down a lot and they really, really started to rust badly. My inlaws are not rich by any means, and they always just had one car, so they are definitely not wasteful people.

    My husband and I, on the other hand, keep our cars for 10+ years; and I believe we are a lot safer in our cars than people were in their 70's models.

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    1. Lordy do I remember a late 70's model truck I had, if you looked up the word Rustbucket in the dictionary there would be a picture of my truck, I mainly got rid of it because Cindy thought one of the kids would fall through the floorboard Ha Ha

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  14. My Dad rarely threw anything away, he always found a use for what other would call junk. I on the other hand, well, let's not talk about that.

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    1. Hey Rachael, You aren't saying that you would be throwing away things that your Dad would not call junk :)

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    2. Afraid so...hanging head in shame.

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    3. That's what I thought you were saying :)

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  15. I drive my cars until it no longer pays to repair them. And yes, that means ten or more years. I am usually a fixer, simply because I can be. I just took an entire base section of kitchen cabinets to my Dad's where he rebuilt the entire box, and then we re-installed them. Cost nothing but a set of new drawer slides and they match the rest of the kitchen perfectly.

    The other side of the coin though is that I rarely save things unless I know there's a purpose for them to be used within six months.

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    1. Yes Juli I remember reading that you were working on your kitchen cabinets, doesn't it feel good to refinish something like this and stand back looking at it knowing it is going to last because of the work you did.

      My problem in holding onto something is it most likely goes way beyond the six month limit you have :)

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  16. It's like this: Back in "my day" my sofa didn't last, but the bricks that held it up off the floor did. Now? You wouldn't see bricks holding up a couch in any home fit to live in. But we made do. In fact, I can't remember WHY I eventually replaced that couch....maybe the bricks broke.

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  17. psssst: I mentioned you on my blog tonight with a link.

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    1. I remember having a set of shelves made out of Cinder Blocks and Lumber, I have also used items such as bricks for couch legs :)

      I'll make a stop by and give your blog a visit right now.

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  18. I'm old enough to remember getting my shoes soled and heeled.

    Also, I'm with you about furniture. My parents (both now in their 80s) have had the same sofa since they wed 61 years ago - it must have been upholstered at least 6 times and still looks great.

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    1. Hi Bryan, The thing with getting the older furniture reupholstered is that it is well worth the money, the quality is so much better so the price to keep it in the long run is cheaper than replacing it.

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