Friday, July 03, 2009

New Junk


Those new-fangled gizmos are meant to fool us, but do they really? We are constantly confronted with the “New and Improved” products that replace the products we once used and before we know it we can no longer find the old version that we really liked better.

I remember the first time I realized this trend of obsolesces. My brother and I were kids and we would go down to the variety store and get potato guns. These are guns that you stick the end into a potato and it extracts a cylindrical potato plug. Next, you pull the trigger and the potato plug flies through the air, not at a dangerous velocity. It was a toy and boys of that age thought it was pretty cool.

Somehow we lost out potato guns every winter, just like losing the previous year’s water pistols. It was just one of those things that got lost at the end of the season and we always looked forward to buying new ones. Oddly, one summer the metal version of the potato gun didn’t appear in any of the variety stores. They were replaced by a plastic version, which we welcomed because they were lighter and more colorful.

A problem with the plastic version quickly came to the surface. The problem was that they were easy to break. Stick it the potato at the wrong angle and the barrel would snap off.

Since that day I notice that more and more original formulas have been lost at every turn in life. When was the last time you had eye glasses that were actually made of glass?

We used to have a toaster oven that could turn out toast in two minutes. We replaced it with a toaster that had to be programmed and it takes close to ten minutes to toast an Eglish muffin.

Another recent disappointment was with cell phones. Fortunately I’m safe for now but who know for how long. My wife and I got matching cell phones several years ago. They were LG phones and what I liked about them is the display has an easy to read clock. I charge mine up every time I get in the truck, and the battery still holds a good charge. My wife lets her phones discharge totally before recharging, so her LG phone was totally dead within two years and of course the battery is now obsolete. She had to get a new phone but her new one had only a small viewing window, like a prison cell window. I had to put on my bifocals just to read the time on her phone. She wore that phone out and she now has a new one, and I’m not even sure her new one has a clock display.

Folks, I’m afraid things aren’t getting any better. Treasure what you have because the replacement isn't going to be better.

10 Comments:

Anonymous auntie said...

some replacement things are better, surely they are (can't think of any at this hour of the morning on no coffee though) I'll be back.

Hey, how about that cake video?

6:00 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

"New" and "Improved" usually just mean "Trendy" and "More Expensive" and more cheaply made. My daughter switches cell phones as often as she changes her socks. Whereas, I have had the same phone for almost three years now. Only two people have my number and I have made less than a dozen calls in three years. If cell phones get any smaller I will stop using them altogether. As much as I love technology, I often yearn for the days when things were made by hand by craftsmen and not machines. Not that I want to live in a pre-techno world, but I admired the durability and simplicity of hand made goods.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

As for glass glasses, I'm afraid I'm rather glad to have polycarbonate lenses. They're lighter and shatterproof, and with 20/750 vision, lighter is a GREAT weight off. The switch from hard contacts to newer, soft contacts was also a good thing IMHO.

Your phone problem isn't going to get better, sorry. I have an LG Trax and love its external clock (or image) display. A full inch window for just one clock! And the internal display is pretty big as well. Most people don't like the flat keypad though... I appreciate the bigger keys and ability slide over them. (But I have long, slender fingers.)

My "newer isn't better" complaint is with all the combination drugs. I don't really want a drug that cures my headache, cough, measles, and liver failure but then may also cause heart attack, gallstones, blindness, cancer, or strep throat. If I have a headache, give me a headache fixer. Make the drug fit the symptom, not symptoms.

Oh, and I have a hard time finding metal/glass kitchen appliances: they're all plastic parts that wear out!

7:58 AM  
Blogger Tango said...

The only thing I REALLY miss is that old coffee grinder made of wood and metal with that little drawer that caught the ground coffee.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Uncle Walt said...

Of course there's the question of ... how can something be new AND improved?

If it's "new", it didn't exist before. If it's "improved", it existed but has added features.

10:54 AM  
Blogger a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

dear bee keeper,

the toaster thing? makes me extra surly in the morning. like an irish woman needs to be extra surly.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if you go to radio shack or some of the bigger verizon stores they carry cell phones made for you older folks with big displays and buttons so you can see them.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Tango said...

This is true. My clock takes up my whole screen. My fonts are huge so that I don't have to switch to different reading glasses.

6:06 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Folks, I forgot to reply to all your comments. I'm not feeling well. Too much working in the heat.

8:22 PM  
Blogger a mouthy irish woman? ridiculous! said...

who cares about the replies. you better take care of yourself beekeeper. you have more chocolate to feed to your wife :)

9:39 AM  

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