October 3, 2014 | In: Opinion
Everything Is Disposable These Days
When I settled in Canada permanently back in November 2005, I stayed for a couple of weeks with a friend. A friend whom, without his help, I would have probably had a very hard time settling (and most likely I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I had), but he made everything easier. Thank you Jeff!
My friend gave me a room in his apartment which was very clean and very nice. Next to the closet, there was a pair of boots – they seemed very old but they were immaculate. For some reason, I used to stare at these boots every night before falling to sleep. Then, one day, when it was snowing, my friend picked those boots and wore them. So I asked him, “Did you buy those boots?” He then told me the story…
These boots belonged to his grand father. His grand father fought with the Allies in World War II while wearing these boots. He then wore them until he died. When he died, he passed them over to his son. His son used them a bit and then gave them, in his turn, to his son (my friend). Back then I felt that the story was impressive: wearing your grandfather’s boots, the same pair that was used in a war that changed the course of the world.
Fast forward to this morning, when I threw my shoes that I wore for less than 6 months because they started disintegrating. And then, all of a sudden, I remembered my friend’s boots, and his story seemed even more impressive. A pair of boots that lasted over 70 years. But then again, this is how everything was in that day and age. Things were made to last a lifetime or even more. Not anymore…
Shoe makersShoe companies no longer want to build shoes that last for a century, they want you to buy shoes that last for a few months so that you can through them and buy another pair in the same year. Car makers no longer build those strong cars that can sustain shocks, corrosion, rugged driving and terrain condition… Car makers are intentionally building good looking but plastic cars that will fall apart in a few years. Back in the 90s, only Japanese cars were considered made out of Pepsi cans – nowadays even German cars are built from the same plastic. Air conditioners break 3-4 years after first use – compare that to the American Air Conditioners that were built back in 1960s and still work until now.
I can give you countless examples proving my theory: phones, fridges, washers, microwaves, computers, TVs, etc…
It seems that someone, somewhere discovered that his business will do much better if he makes the same customer buy the same thing over and over again over the course of his life. Obviously, everyone else followed. And now we live in an era of disposability, where everything created by man is disposable. But that’s not as tragic as the fact that we, as humans, have grown to treat each other as disposable and replaceable.
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