Tuesday, April 11, 2017


They Used To Last 50 Years, piece by Ryan Finlay is a good, and informative read.

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 1950’s that still work perfectly fine. I’ve come across washers and dryers from the 1960’s and 1970’s 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.........

Adding a complaint of my own reflecting, again, how things ain't what they used to be: parcels and packages used to be shipped to the customer simply and efficiently in the USA, using USPS or UPS or, for large and more expensive items FedEx. I've recently discovered, from frustrating experience, that during the last several years a new shipping plan has taken root. This involves more than a single small package carrier. It works like this: the package initially ships with UPS or another, newer, outfit - Newgistics is one I've come across. Once the package arrives in, or close to the buyer's home state, shipping responsibility is transferred to USPS for actual delivery of the package.

This might have seemed like a good idea at the time. Dual-shipper system seems usually to be what happens when the buyer chooses the cheapest shipping method offered by the seller. From my own experience, twice recently, and from commentary online in a number of places, there's universal criticism : "this system sucks!"

Once the first carrier deposits your package at the mid-way destination it can sit there for several days. Tracking goes dead, does nothing but confuse rather than assist, indicates several estimated delivery dates which do not happen. I don't how this system can be seen as efficient for the buyer or cost-efficient for the seller. Small packages that would have been delivered within 3 or 4 days by USPS alone can take anything up to 2 weeks to arrive, and occasionally longer, using a dual-shipping plan. Packages can sit, day after day, after day waiting for attention, and often at a location only a short drive from the buyer's home!

I suspect there's method in their madness (there almost always is!) Once burned by experiencing this two-handed delivery system, when next ordering online a buyer is far more likely to pay a higher price for faster reliable delivery time.

In the case of shorter lives of appliances, and unreliable delivery times for packages - cui bono? Who eventually benefits? It's not ever going to be the customer, is it?


Wisewebwoman said...

It's never about the customer. I remember my parents' appliances being a lifetime investment and every 10 years the furniture being " re-covered". It was never about the latest appliance look.i have a friend who dumped a 6 month old dishwasher because it was too noisy.

We're a mad species.

Trashing our fragile home.

And OMG T, you won't believe the ancient ice pouring into all our bays from the Arctic this year. Worst ever.


R J Adams said...

When we moved to our house in Michigan it had a 1950's washer and drier. Both in good working order. The drier went wrong twice - both times I was able to easily source new parts (first time, new motor; second time, new electric element) and it was still going strong when we sold it with the house and moved to France. The washer did eventually die, but only because it was so big and heavy I couldn't move it to replace the worn part. Bought an ultra-modern LG washer to replace it. After one month it swallowed one of Mrs RJ's silk blouses and stopped working. I did eventually manage to retrieve the remains of the blouse from around the spindle under the agitator and the thing worked again (which is more than can be said for Mrs RJ's blouse!), but I reckon its new owners will be lucky if it does more than see out its two year guarantee.
As for parcel delivery, in France the postal service is second to none. Usually stuff arrives the day before it's due. Other delivery firms are not so good, and some are downright bad. Overall, they've got worse even in the short time we've been here, so I guess it's going the same way as America. But then, everything seems to these days.

R J Adams said...

Hadn't realised you'd been away! I've been busy with stuff in the house and garden so haven't had much time for bloggings. We're off to Blighty at the end of the month, so nothing from me for at least two weeks into May. One week on the Thames with friends from Australia, then up north to Chester area to visit relatives and find some decent shops (contrary to popular belief there are very few good stores in our part of France and we usually source stuff from the UK).
I hope you enjoyed your trip.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Yes, those old household appliances were sturdy and reliable - not always things of beauty - but who cared? Metals used were unadulterated and stronger, wood, where used was too - less, or no, plastic! Plastic has been a very mixed blessing.

When buying appliances now we tend to go for the simplest version available - not necessarily the cheapest, but the one with least bells and whistle (we don't use 'em anyway).

Crapification (term I picked up on a website I frequent)is developing at ever increasing rates. Creeping crapification is an even better term for it! It applies to just about everything one could name too.

Yes, and we've crapified our planet too.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Ditto as I've written to WWW, RJ.

Re shipping/mail - USPS here is excellent if left to its own devices, it's when retailers start trying to be clever and save more money by using some hybrid type of service involving two (or more) carriers and "hubs" where packages can languish for days on end. Customers usually get the shitty end of that stick. I suspect retailers do this to train us to pay extra for the "standard" or 3-day or whatever delivery services on offer at higher shipping rates, rather than choosing the "economy" rate.

Thanks, yes, we had an enjoyable trip northward (a little more on this in a post tomorrow). I hope your upcoming jaunt goes well - sounds exciting! :-)

LB said...

Welcome back, Twilight.:) Coincidentally, within the past few days I've had conversations with two different people about modern refrigerators dying after only a few months or years. Also mentioned how in the community where I grew up, some of the folks who still live there continue to use the same refrigerators, stoves and washing machines installed in the early 1960's.

Refrigerators, stoves, autos, televisions, radios, *phones* . . . things have changed, and not always for the better.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Thank you! :-) Fridges do seem to be the most common cause of crapification complaints. We bought ours in early 2005 when we moved into this house. It's still working fine, but a couple of years ago developed an occasional but fairly regular "dribble". Some small outlet has blocked, my husband decided, and has set about looking for the offending vent to clean it, several times, but has not found it - so we continue to mop up. We'll have to get a maintenance man to come sort it out soon I guess - but I'll not be at all surprised to hear - "it's not possible to repair it". Mopping will continue!

One of my pet peeves along these lines are faulty faucets found in hotel rooms, in the bathrooms - even in fairly newly built establishments. The plug mechanism seems to last a few months without breaking down, leaving it impossible to fill the sink. Happens at home too, but we've long ago bought rubber plugs for tub and sinks, and I've learned to carry a universal type stopper when travelling. I can see why hotels won't want to use the old fashioned plug on chain system, but surely it'd be possible to install much better quality faucet mechanisms in rooms, in use by thousands of different people annually? But - what was I thinking, that'd be out of the question - it'd cut into hotel profits!