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Planned Obselescence....A Good Thing?



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 14th 07, 06:30 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking,misc.consumers.frugal-living,sci.electronics.repair,alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house
Too_Many_Tools
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Posts: 193
Default Planned Obselescence....A Good Thing?

In my opinon...no.

I intentionally try to have older appliances, vehicles, machines to
lower repair costs and keep overall ownership cost to a minimum.

Your thoughts?

TMT

Irreparable damageBy Bryce Baschuk
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
January 9, 2007
Bill Jones, after 42 years, is finally closing the Procter Appliance
Service shop in Silver Spring.
"You can't make a good salary to survive on the way you could years
ago," said the 61-year-old owner of the oven, refrigerator and
washer-dryer repair shop. "Everything has changed in the appliance
business."
Mr. Jones recently sold his home in Laurel and is in the process of
moving to Bluffton, S.C., with his wife, Jeannette.
Mr. Jones is one of the many Washington-area repairmen who have
struggled to stay afloat as residents replace, not repair, old
appliances.
"It's a dying trade," said Scott Brown, Webmaster of
www.fixitnow.com and self-proclaimed "Samurai Appliance Repairman."
The reason for this is twofold, Mr. Brown said: The cost of
appliances is coming down because of cheap overseas labor and improved
manufacturing techniques, and repairmen are literally dying off.
The average age of appliance technicians is 42, and there are few
young repairmen to take their place, said Mr. Brown, 47. He has been
repairing appliances in New Hampshire for the past 13 years.
In the next seven years, the number of veteran appliance repairmen
will decrease nationwide as current workers retire or transfer to other
occupations, the Department of Labor said in its 2007 Occupational
Outlook Handbook.
The federal agency said many prospective repairmen prefer work that
is less strenuous and want more comfortable working conditions.
Local repairmen said it is simply a question of economics.
"Nowadays appliances are cheap, so people are just getting new
ones," said Paul Singh, a manager at the Appliance Service Depot, a
repair shop in Northwest. "As a result, business has slowed down a
lot."
"The average repair cost for a household appliance is $50 to $350,"
said Shahid Rana, a service technician at Rana Refrigeration, a repair
shop in Capitol Heights. "If the repair is going to cost more than
that, we usually tell the customer to go out and buy a new one."
It's not uncommon for today's repairmen to condemn an appliance
instead of fixing it for the sake of their customers' wallets.
If they decide to repair an appliance that is likely to break down
again, repairmen are criticized by their customers and often lose
business because of a damaged reputation.
Mr. Jones said he based his repair decisions on the 50 percent
rule: "If the cost of service costs more than 50 percent of the price
of a new machine, I'll tell my customers to get a new one."
"A lot of customers want me to be honest with them, so I'll tell
them my opinion and leave the decision making up to them," he said.
In recent years, consumers have tended to buy new appliances when
existing warranties expire rather than repair old appliances, the
Department of Labor said.
Mr. Brown acknowledged this trend. "Lower-end appliances which you
can buy for $200 to $300 are basically throwaway appliances," he said.
"They are so inexpensive that you shouldn't pay to get them repaired."
"The quality of the materials that are being made aren't lasting,"
Mr. Jones said. "Nowadays you're seeing more plastic and more circuit
boards, and they aren't holding up."
Many home appliances sold in the United States are made in Taiwan,
Singapore, China and Mexico.
"Nothing is made [in the United States] anymore," Mr. Jones said.
"But then again, American parts are only better to a point, a lot of
U.S. companies are all about the dollar."
Fortunately for the next generation of repairmen, some of today's
high-end appliances make service repairs the most cost-effective
option.
The Department of Labor concurred. "Over the next decade, as more
consumers purchase higher-priced appliances designed to have much
longer lives, they will be more likely to use repair services than to
purchase new appliances," said the 2007 Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Modern, energy-efficient refrigerators can cost as much as $5,000
to $10,000, and with such a hefty price tag, throwing one away is not
an option.
In some cases, repairmen can help consumers reduce the amount of
aggravation that a broken appliance will cause.
Consider the time and effort it takes to shop for a new appliance,
wait for its delivery, remove the old one and get the new one
installed.
In addition, certain appliances such as ovens and washing machines
can be a bigger hassle to replace because they are connected to gas and
water lines.
"It takes your time, it takes your effort, and if you don't install
the new appliance, you'll have to hire a service technician to install
it anyways," Mr. Brown said.
Some consumers bond with their appliances like old pets, and for
loyalty or sentimental reasons, refuse to let them go.
Mr. Rana said some of his clients have appliances that are more
than 30 years old. It makes sense, he said. "A lot of old refrigerators
are worth fixing because they give people good service. They just don't
make things like they used to."

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  #2  
Old January 14th 07, 06:46 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking,misc.consumers.frugal-living,sci.electronics.repair,alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house
Rick Brandt
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Posts: 9
Default Planned Obselescence....A Good Thing?

Too_Many_Tools wrote:
In my opinon...no.

I intentionally try to have older appliances, vehicles, machines to
lower repair costs and keep overall ownership cost to a minimum.

Your thoughts?

TMT

Irreparable damageBy Bryce Baschuk
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
January 9, 2007
Bill Jones, after 42 years, is finally closing the Procter Appliance
Service shop in Silver Spring.
"You can't make a good salary to survive on the way you could years
ago," said the 61-year-old owner of the oven, refrigerator and
washer-dryer repair shop. "Everything has changed in the appliance
business."


This raises an apparent contradiction. Most people believe that appliances were
built much better in the past than they are now and yet in the past a whole
industry survived on doing appliance repairs. Perhaps they only seemed to be
built better in the past because we kept them longer and the only reason we kept
them longer is because we repaired them instead of replacing them. The flipside
of that same coin is that perhaps today's appliances only seem to be inferior
because we replace them more often and the only reason we replace them more
often is because we don't repair them.




  #3  
Old January 14th 07, 07:06 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking,misc.consumers.frugal-living,sci.electronics.repair,alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house
F. George McDuffee
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 18
Default Planned Obselescence....A Good Thing?

On 14 Jan 2007 09:30:59 -0800, "Too_Many_Tools"
wrote:
snip
I intentionally try to have older appliances, vehicles, machines to
lower repair costs and keep overall ownership cost to a minimum.

Your thoughts?

snip
While I like this approach, it is getting harder all the time.

Maintainability and lowest initial cost are not generally
compatible design objectives for products with significant
volume.

Products are increasingly non-reparable in that the components
are permanently attached/sealed, and replacement items, other
than the most basic standard hardware such as screws, are not
readily available. Most people are unwilling or unable to have
an appliance such as a stove or refrigerator down for repair for
an extended period waiting on parts.

The increasing complexity of many new products also presents
problems, particularly those with "computer" control.



Unka' George [George McDuffee]
................................
On Theory: Delight at having understood
a very abstract and obscure system
leads most people to believe
in the truth of what it demonstrates.

G. C. Lichtenberg (1742-99),
German physicist, philosopher.
Aphorisms "Notebook J," aph. 77
(written 1765-99; tr. by R. J. Hollingdale, 1990).
  #4  
Old January 14th 07, 07:11 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking,misc.consumers.frugal-living,sci.electronics.repair,alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house
Ecnerwal
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2
Default Planned Obselescence....A Good Thing?

In article ,
"Rick Brandt" wrote:

This raises an apparent contradiction.


Perhaps you've not been adequately involved with your appliances to see
that there is not a contradiction, even "apparently".

The old ones were, for the most part, designed to be repairable. "This
part always breaks eventually, we'll isolate it and make it easy to
replace".

The new ones are, for the most part, designed NOT to be repairable,
and/or parts prices/availability are manipulated to render them
effectively non-economic to repair. "This part will (by design) break
about 1 year after the warranty runs out - let's put in in a monolithic
module containing all the most expensive parts of the machine." The
appliance industry would much rather sell you a new one than have you
fix the old one, and they have taken steps to ensure that only the
maddest of mad hatters will stubbornly stick to repair; and when they
do, the industry will still profit mightily due to inflated pricing. But
not making the parts at all will knock even the mad hatters into line
soon enough, so long as they keep all the parts adequately non-standard
that it's not economic for anyone to second-source them.

The same logic is driving the production of hybrid cars that are less
fuel efficient than some non-hybrid cars. When the battery pack dies in
8-10 years, the car will be junk (non-economic to repair), clearing the
way for more new car sales.

--
Cats, coffee, chocolate...vices to live by
  #5  
Old January 14th 07, 07:12 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking,misc.consumers.frugal-living,sci.electronics.repair,alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house
Pete C.
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 11
Default Planned Obselescence....A Good Thing?

Rick Brandt wrote:

Too_Many_Tools wrote:
In my opinon...no.

I intentionally try to have older appliances, vehicles, machines to
lower repair costs and keep overall ownership cost to a minimum.

Your thoughts?

TMT

Irreparable damageBy Bryce Baschuk
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
January 9, 2007
Bill Jones, after 42 years, is finally closing the Procter Appliance
Service shop in Silver Spring.
"You can't make a good salary to survive on the way you could years
ago," said the 61-year-old owner of the oven, refrigerator and
washer-dryer repair shop. "Everything has changed in the appliance
business."


This raises an apparent contradiction. Most people believe that appliances were
built much better in the past than they are now and yet in the past a whole
industry survived on doing appliance repairs. Perhaps they only seemed to be
built better in the past because we kept them longer and the only reason we kept
them longer is because we repaired them instead of replacing them. The flipside
of that same coin is that perhaps today's appliances only seem to be inferior
because we replace them more often and the only reason we replace them more
often is because we don't repair them.


Yes.
  #6  
Old January 14th 07, 07:16 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking,misc.consumers.frugal-living,sci.electronics.repair,alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house
William Noble
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1
Default Planned Obselescence....A Good Thing?

nonrepairable is not the same as planned obsolescense. A new product may be
impossible to repair because it uses custom electronics and special assembly
techniques but that doesn't mean it's planned to quit working in 3 years.
If you buy a new good quality stove, you could expect decades of service
from it - I am still using a stove dated 1947, I'm sure others have older
ones, but the only improvements in stoves since the introduction of natural
gas are the electric igniters (reduces gas usage and heat load in teh
summer) and improved insulation. I am still using an Amana microwave bought
in 1972 - again, newer products have no advantages (and personally I prefer
an analog timer). But, I buy a new computer occasionally as technology
changes, and I just replaced a perfectly good 17" high end monitor with a
flat panel LCD monitor because it's larger and uses less desk space - that's
an upgrade, not really obsolescense (by the way, anyone need a really nice
monitor?). Planned obsolescense might be something designed to actually
wear out and be dead in an amount of time - like the printer ink cartriges
that, even if full, cannot be used more than XXX days after you open them.

my two cents

bill (www.wbnoble.com)

"Too_Many_Tools" wrote in message
ups.com...
In my opinon...no.

I intentionally try to have older appliances, vehicles, machines to
lower repair costs and keep overall ownership cost to a minimum.

Your thoughts?

snip________________




--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com

  #7  
Old January 14th 07, 07:19 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking,misc.consumers.frugal-living,sci.electronics.repair,alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house
Rick Brandt
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9
Default Planned Obselescence....A Good Thing?

Ecnerwal wrote:
In article ,
"Rick Brandt" wrote:

This raises an apparent contradiction.


Perhaps you've not been adequately involved with your appliances to
see that there is not a contradiction, even "apparently".

The old ones were, for the most part, designed to be repairable. "This
part always breaks eventually, we'll isolate it and make it easy to
replace".

The new ones are, for the most part, designed NOT to be repairable,
and/or parts prices/availability are manipulated to render them
effectively non-economic to repair. [snip]


What you say speaks to the issue of why did we repair in the past and why don't
we repair now, but it says nothing about the comparable reliability. If
appliances in the past were "built to be repaired" that can be interpretted to
mean that failures were expected. If failures were expected and people could
make a living performing those repairs then that suggests that the appliances
were not that reliable.


  #8  
Old January 14th 07, 07:19 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking,misc.consumers.frugal-living,sci.electronics.repair,alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house
Michael Black
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Posts: 204
Default Planned Obselescence....A Good Thing?

"Rick Brandt" ) writes:

This raises an apparent contradiction. Most people believe that appliances were
built much better in the past than they are now and yet in the past a whole
industry survived on doing appliance repairs. Perhaps they only seemed to be
built better in the past because we kept them longer and the only reason we kept
them longer is because we repaired them instead of replacing them. The flipside
of that same coin is that perhaps today's appliances only seem to be inferior
because we replace them more often and the only reason we replace them more
often is because we don't repair them.

But what you had was a relative handful of items, that people took great
care in deciding about before purchasing, and cost quite a bit, and of
course when they needed repair the parts were generally generic, because
the items were generic.

No, the whole household is loaded with things. INstead of buying a few
things that you expected to last pretty much forever, and you'd want
to get the most out of, you buy something cheap because it might
be nice to have that sandwich maker or that $15 rotary tool. The things
have become cheap in part because demand has lowered costs (design costs
and profit can be spread over far more units), but also by cutting out
the expensive stuff.

So a tv set forty years ago was handwired (I have no clue whether that
was a good or bad thing, but it was costly) on a heavy metal chassis, and
was a significant purchase for most households. But when something
broke, the cost of repair was low compare to the cost of replacement, to
that tv set would be taken to the local repair shop. But, pretty much
all the parts in that tv set were generic, so that repair shop did not
have to be in some relationship with the manufacturer, and the parts could
be had at the local electronics store (and since those stores were selling
to all kinds of people, the same general parts to repair that tv set were
also used by they hobbyist and even the professional, the stores could
survive with a relatively small stock that was bought by many), so the
repair shop often didn't need to keep a lot of stock, especially not
a lot of specialized stock.

But in order to increase the market, manufacturers had to lower prices
so those who couldn't afford before could now. So they shifted to printed
circuit boards, and when ICs came along they started using them, which
allowed for higher integration (ie fewer overall parts). The smaller
parts meant no heavy chassis, which would have gone anyway because
that cost money, not just to buy the metal but you had to ship it
to the store near the consumer.

The price goes down. But the cost of repair stays the same, or goes
up, because tracking down the problem is labor intensive. Manufacturers
often switch to replacing boards, which keeps labor costs down but
means you aren't paying for a fifty cent part but the whole board.

So if you paid a thousand dollars for that color tv set in 1966 (just
a figure I pulled out of the air), the repair cost was a small percentage
of the cost of buying a new one. Plus, it was easier to pay out a little
here and a little there than to come up with another thousand to buy a new
tv set.

But if you paid a hundred dollars for that tv set today, you'd be
paying a good percentage of that cost in having a repairman try to
find the problem. That tips things in favor of buying new. Plus,
in order to get that tv set price so low, the parts aren't generic,
and the repairman has to deal with the manufacturer to get the replacement
parts. That ends up being problematic, or requires some sort of
contract with the manufactuer (and added cost). The tv sets are
no longer as generic as they were forty years ago, so the repairman
finds it harder to figure out what is wrong, often requiring service
material from the manufacturer, again an extra cost.

The cheaper something is to manufacture, the less sturdy it will be
mechanically, since that is one way to cut cost. Hence things are
less likely to last as long, even if people were willing to spend
the money to repair them rather than buy new.

And I want to add something about "planned obsolescence" because it
is often misused. If people are choosing to buy cheap, it's hardly
that the manufacturers are making things so they will break. The
consumer often wants that cheaper tv set or VCR.

And there is the issue of just plain obsolescence. Forty years
ago, there'd hardly be any electronic items around the house. A
tv set or two, some radios, maybe a stereo. But look around now,
and everything is electronic. It's either been invented in the past forty
years (not even that long in many cases), or at the very least could not
have been a consumer item until recently. Once you have consumers buying
the latest thing, things are bound to go obsolete. Buy early, and things
still have to develop, which means the things really may become obsolete
in a few years. It's not the manufacturer doing this to "screw the
consumer", it's a combination of new developments and consumer demand.

If my computer from 1979 had been intended to last forever, it would
have been way out of range in terms of price. Because they'd have to
anticipate how much things would change, and build in enough so upgrading
would be doable. So you'd spend money on potential, rather than spending
money later on a new computer that would beat out what they could
imagine in 1979. And in recent years, it is the consumer who is deciding
to buy a new computer every few years (whether a deliberate decision or
they simply let the manufacturer lead, must vary from person to person.)

Michael

  #9  
Old January 14th 07, 07:30 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking,misc.consumers.frugal-living,sci.electronics.repair,alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house
terry
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Posts: 23
Default Planned Obselescence....A Good Thing?


Ecnerwal wrote: In part ..................

The new ones are, for the most part, designed NOT to be repairable,
and/or parts prices/availability are manipulated to render them
effectively non-economic to repair. "This part will (by design) break
about 1 year after the warranty runs out - let's put in in a monolithic
module containing all the most expensive parts of the machine."

..
Maybe that's stating it rather strongly?

Although recent discussion/discovery that IPods will exhaust their
batteries in approximately one to two years do clearly raise the
question? "Designed to fail?".

But it's the same reason that I continue to accept and use old
appliances that I can repair myself.
For example I refuse to buy a stove that incorporates a digital
timer/clock; they are virtually unrepairable! Eventually can see
myself, however, ending up with one of those and deliberately
disconnecting the digital timer clock or modifying the stove to use one
my older (saved) clock/timers or just dong away with the timer
altogether.

  #10  
Old January 14th 07, 07:44 PM posted to rec.crafts.metalworking,misc.consumers.frugal-living,sci.electronics.repair,alt.home.repair,misc.consumers.house
M Berger
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Posts: 14
Default Planned Obselescence....A Good Thing?

Things are built differently now for reasons other than
cost. At one time you changed a thermostat in your car
twice a year (if you lived in the midwestern U.S.) and
had the carbon cleaned out at 50,000 miles. You got a
tune-up and spark plugs every 15,000 miles.

The spark plugs on new vehicles are rated for $ 50,000
and up. A computer takes care of the tune-up for you,
and the regular maintenance involves basically adding or
changing fluids.

On your old clothes dryer you were supposed to oil the
drum bearings and motor every so often. That's no longer
considered necessary.

Amazingly, these "cheaply built" appliances and vehicles
are awfully reliable considering how little maintenance
and attention they get. Most refrigerators actually still
cool when they're scrapped. It's the inside door trim,
or door gasket, or a clogged vent that causes people to throw
them away.

Too_Many_Tools wrote:
In my opinon...no.

I intentionally try to have older appliances, vehicles, machines to
lower repair costs and keep overall ownership cost to a minimum.

Your thoughts?

 




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