Designed Obsolescence should be obsolete. Think about it. We have cars that were built in the 1950’s that are still on the road (with proper care and maintenance); Houses built in the 1890’s that are solid and true today as they were when built; Furniture that dates to the 1700’s still fully functioning.

One might think, and I do think, that with this technological ability, with technology advancing as it has, we’d be able to buy a sofa that would last more than three years or a washer that would last more than two.

My wife and I bought a new Sectional Sofa from Sears three years ago. It’s shot, kaput! When I was in another furniture store last week asking about a sofa they had, the salesman listened to me rail about Sears and he asked, “Did you get the extended warranty?” – WHAT? Why the hell should I spend another $200-300 for an extended warranty on something that should last at least 5 years. The sales guy was less sympathetic towards me after my rant about extended warranties.

We bought a new washer and dryer two years ago, one of those front-loading things with the Eco this and turbo-spin that. Followed all the directions from Frigidaire and from where we bought it from, Leon’s. Wiped out the bottom after every wash, dried the gasket thing that keeps water from leaking out the front of it. Now two years later, the gasket is black and my wife is yelling about her towels getting ruined. Call the repair place, $450 minimum. A new washer is $900.

This leads me to designed obsolescence. For the price of these items that one has to pay, one would think you get something that would last longer than the manufacturer’s warranty. Why is that these things don’t. You could argue quality control, with outsourcing to places like China or India for production. That argument fails with me as the sofa was made in Ontario. Psst… Us Canadians can make crap too. One could also argue that we bought a cheap line that was meant to fail. I don’t consider what we paid for the two different items cheap. Middle of the line perhaps. No excuse. A product should last more than a couple of years.

To me, just as the products could be designed today could outlast their counterparts made 10, 20, 50 or 100 years ago, most products are being designed to fail after just a couple of years so that us consumers can get sucked into spending more money on crap designed to fail even sooner. No more I say. I am tired of getting soaked by these companies for crap products that companies don’t stand buy unless… I buy an extended warranty.

Friends of ours have a dishwasher and are going through this as well. It was bought at The Bay and they did get sucked into the extended warranty for their Maytag (English word for JUNK). Their dishwasher died 19 months after buying it, and when they thought they were getting a replacement, they were given a cheque PRORATED for the extended warranty. Extended warranty didn’t even pay half of the replacement cost for their new dishwasher. They wont deal with the Bay anymore, and I don’t blame them.

I have no solution to this problem other than making things out of concrete blocks and rant about the companies above. I haven’t sold my wife on the idea of a concrete block and 2×8 sofa yet, but it will be more comfortable than the piece of crap we bought from Sears Canada.

Disclaimer: By my naming Sears, The Bay and Leon’s as purveyors of crap, I am not excluding that other companies dont’ sell crap, just that I have not had the misfortune of buying crap from them.