Thursday, July 24, 2008

What is the world coming to?

Warning - this post is likely to end up as a rant of mammoth proportions.

I make concerted efforts to be frugal and to recycle for a number of reasons.

Financially being on one income we as a family, can no longer afford to be as cavalier with our funds as we once (perhaps stupidly) were. I am now frankly, a tight a**e. And I like it. I don't know that Mr B always likes it. But I like it.

I no longer spend my time in super shopping centres aimlessly wandering and randomly purchasing. If I have to go there, I shop with a purpose. I consider my purchase carefully before I make it. Do I really need that? Could I buy handmade? Could I get this on freecycle or at an op shop? Can I swap or borrow?

Environmentally I am trying to minimise our footprint on this earth so that my children and their children will too enjoy the world as we have and will continue to do so.

As you have no doubt ascertained I also get a real kick out of finding the right recycled goods. At the minute I have the time and inclination to op shop, freecyle and survey hard rubbish! I find it to be a lot of fun.

In light of all of the above I am rather annoyed right now. Not one but 2 of our fairly new electronic goods have given up the ghost in the last 24 hours.

Firstly our printer. It is less than 2 years old. Perfectly good. Print scan copy. Just out of warranty, it is going to cost about $150 to fix and about $90 for new ink cartridges. A new one with better features costs $250 at the moment.

Secondly my Iriver mp3 player. A bit over 2 years old. Used to hold its battery charge for 8 hours. Now no more than 30 minutes. Not even half a walk/workout session or a full train ride home. The batteries cannot be fixed or replaced.

Probably obviously, I feel rather annoyed for a number of reasons.

Neither of these items were cheap to buy in the first place. Their lives should have been far longer given what I invested in them at the time that I purchased each of them. For heaven's sake, I still have my sony walkman which I purchased um...16 or 17 years ago! It still works! If only I could buy a stereo with a tape recorder in it today I would probably go back to using it.

Environmentally, the impact of throwing these items away is not good. Batteries, ink cartridges, plastic, electronic parts. I don't like it one bit.

I feel frustrated that there is no easy answer here.

I suppose neither of these items is an absolute necessity.

I do not have to replace either of them. I could go without the music when I exercise and catch public transport. I could copy out my recipes from the screen and print letters and patterns at my local library or newsagent.

But I like the music. It motivates me and enhances my enjoyment of exercise immeasurably. Rightly or wrongly I need the music to keep me motivated. It also keeps me sane on public transport.

The cost of driving to print things as often as I do would probably soon overtake the cost of the printer. Not to mention the environmental impact of jumping in the car that often.

I guess that they just don't make things like they used to. It is sad. And frustrating. What is going to become of us and our families if we do not change the way we think?


CurlyPops said...

I completely agree with you. I just made a service call for our Maytag front loader which is 2 years and 4 months old (warranty was 2 years). I bought an expensive brand in the hope it would last.....very frustrating!

Hoppo Bumpo said...

I'm sure this limited lifespan is quite deliberate. And manufacturers have effectively turned things like printers into consumables, by overpricing components and cartridges. Its horribly wasteful.

Go ahead and rant. I think we all need to!

Karin said...

It's definitely something that gets to me too. As much as I love my computer (+ all that goes with it), I can't stand how quickly technology either changes, or conks out. Sometimes, I feel very despairing about it so I feel your pain.

Lisa said...

I'm with you too.

Most of my mobile phones have happened to die just around the time my contract is up for renewal.....