Designed to Fail: How Planned Obsolescence is Destroying the Planet
A Complete Waste of Money and Resources
Planned obsolescence is when a company designs a product to fail. Either they use cheap materials that are designed to break. Or they refuse to support their products after a couple years of time. Either method is designed to make sure you are constantly buying new products from the company.
Apple is the WORST
Apple is the king of planned obsolescence. Their products break at similar rates when compared to other products. But if you ask most people, they will say Apple has the best and highest quality products on the market.
The is due, in part, to their pricing strategy. Apple continues to raise prices with every new model, testing how much people are actually willing to spend for virtually the same product they already have in their pocket. The extraordinary price tag lends to the perception that Apple products are the best and highest quality (because they cost so much). “If I’m paying so much, it MUST be better, right?”
No!!! Apple is just REALLY GREEDY.
Apple offers some of the WORST product support. They refuse to service any of their product beyond 5 years. Even that $2500 iMac. After 5 years, it doesn’t matter what’s wrong with it, Apple will not support it. They want you to buy a new one.
This happened to me with my iMac. My daughter broke off the tip of my headphones wire into the audio port. When I try to fish it out, it got sunk inside the port even deeper. The problem was the iMac read this tip as a malfunctioning audio device and I couldn’t get sound anymore. So I took my iMac to the Apple store and, even though they had tools designed specifically for that problem, they refused to service my computer. It had only been five years and a few days.
There is absolutely NO reason to replace your phone or iMac every five years. Apple could make their products easily up-gradable and offer support for way more than five years. But they won’t. Most Apple product consumers replace their devices within two years! What an absolute waste!
Wasted Resources in Every Sector
Planned obsolescence extends far beyond electronics. You also see it in cars, frying pans, furniture, and just about everything else that you buy. The scam is to sell you on the features and offer you a good price. What they don’t disclose is the estimated lifespan of the product and how long they plan to offer product service before they refuse to service it anymore.
The result is Americans are buying the same types of products over and over again! How many phones have you gone through in the last decade? How many frying pans have you ruined? How often do you replace your car? How often does your stereo break? How often do your other handheld gadgets and electronics break?
This policy of planned obsolescence is a complete rip-off to the American consumer. It is also devastating to our environment. The same companies that use planned obsolescence also don’t offer good recycling programs when their products do break. They end up in landfills. The lithium-ion batteries leach chemicals into the ground and poison water supplies. The other components are made with equally toxic metals, like Cobalt. Plus the constant demand for new products forces countries like India and Thailand and China to become factory Nations. These factory nations usually don’t have safe working environments and don’t pay their workers a fair living wage. The result is workers who are underage and underpaid and suffering in squalor.
Boycott the Worst Offenders of Planned Obsolescence
The key to fighting this planned obsolescence is to boycott companies that are the worst offenders. It may require some research and a larger upfront price tag, but you should focus on buying the best frying pan, the phone that is up-gradable with a long warranty, furniture that is designed to last a lifetime, etc.
I spent $70 on an anodized aluminum frying pan a few years ago and it is virtually indestructible. It is always nonstick. It doesn’t scratch. I’ll never have to buy another frying pan.
I use that same sort of mentality for all the products that I buy. My goal is not consume as much to help the environment and this also saves me money.
Planned obsolescence will destroy your pocketbook and this world if you let it. We as consumers have to fight back by being more aware of what we are purchasing. Look beyond the features and the sexy price tag and think about a few years down the road whether this will be a product you can still use. If it’s not, don’t buy it!