Monday, January 23, 2012

Caveat emptor

According to a comment he left recently on one of my posts, back in 1958 when Putz and I were both in high school Science Clubs and he was a tennis star, his dad bought a 1958 Chevrolet Impala. [Editor’s note. Never try to make sense out of any of Putz’s comments. --RWP]

It was probably after seeing this:

Unlike Putz’s dad, my dad waited and bought a 1959 Chevrolet Impala, better in every respect than a 1958 Chevrolet Impala. Or so a certain portion of the automobile industry, specifically the Chevrolet Division of General Motors, would have had you believe.

Take the taillights, for instance. Take especially the taillights:

It was an example of planned obsolescence, a strategy that has worked successfully in the automobile industry for decades. Proof: When 1960 automobiles came along, nobody wanted 1959 models any more.

Now the tactic has been picked up by several other industries as well. Think cell phones (2G, 3G, 4G, probably OMG), computer operating systems (Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 (2nd edition), Windows 2000 Millenium edition, XP, Vista, System/7, and presumably on into the future ad infinitum), and toothpaste (Now with whiteners!, Now with advanced whitening agents!, Now scientifically formulated for tartar control!, Now helps sensitive gums!, Now keeps your breath minty fresh!, Now new and improved!, Now better than ever!).

In fact, think about almost any industry or technology or product and you will find planned obsolescence constantly being shoved down our throats.

Ah, the power of advertising!

And we, apparently, are a nation of sheep who are easily led around by the nose, eagerly taking the bait hook, line, and sinker. [Editor’s note. Talk about your mixed metaphors. --RWP]

Which all goes to prove only one thing: You pays your money, and you takes your chances.


  1. I'm pleased to see that your father's Impala is still in such pristine condition. You can see where Gerry Anderson got the inspiration for Supercar from.

    But on the subject of planned obsolescence, you have to smile at the attempts of the razor manufacturers with the ever increasing number of blades.

  2. Shooting Parrots, in the interest of truth in blogging, I must confess that that is not my father's Impala. That is just a photo I found on the internet.

    Speaking of razors, I have tried quite a few and I have found that a simple little cheap (12 for five or six dollars), disposable Gillette razor with two blades can last me for days and even weeks. Schick, on the other hand, is useless after about two days. The multi-bladed marvels are just a waste of money.

    Carolina, your agreement with my conclusion is herewith noted and filed.

  3. Carolina, I apologize for not putting your name, Carolina, in bold print in the previous comment, where, Carolina, I called you just Carolina. A thousand pardons.

  4. Its' worse with computers because the new programs won't work with your old computer.