These days in our ‘throwaway’ society one doesn’t really think about longevity in products. Other than appliances like dishwashers or laundry equipment which are designed to last 10 years or so, typically your average appliance may last 5-6 years if you’re fortunate.
A month ago my Boom speaker stopped charging. It’s a Bluetooth-enabled speaker I’ve had since 2013 when I bought one because it did all the things I needed a BT speaker for and it was water-resistant so it could be used in the shower. Seeing as this is 2021, it managed to live for 8 years of use. Pretty good for nowadays, IMO. Unfortunately, the business that made it is no longer IN business, for whatever reason they went bankrupt, and their products are now made by another company. Not this particular speaker, however, since I can’t find any reference to it on the new company’s website. The only references to it I can find are reviews that were published in 2012, and someone is selling backstock on eBay, for a ridiculously low price compared to the $150 price point it was originally. Me being me, I bought two of them from the eBay seller, just in case the ‘newer’ ones aren’t as sturdy as my old workhorse. Can’t be too careful, right?
Naturally, this incident has caused me to think about all the other appliances and doodads I’ve had over the years that have managed to overcome their anticipated demise date.
- The Kitchen-Aid mixer that I inherited from my mother-in-law, that was probably made in the 1950s or 60s and is still going strong.
- The box fan that my parents bought in the 1970s and still works just fine.
- The Conair hair dryer I got for Christmas while I was still in high school that still runs fine, though more likely it still works because I use it so infrequently.
- The metal power strip that my parents bought for me when I went away to college in 1983 and has outlived and outlasted dozens of plastic ones we’ve had since.
- The wood and canvas director’s chairs that I inherited from my parents. Canvas seats last nearly forever if you don’t allow them to get wet, or if you do, you make sure that you don’t leave them wet so the canvas rots.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. The old adage “they don’t make things like they used to” is spot on anymore. Certainly one will find solely American-made products seem to outlast their contemporaries, for the most part. Yes, I know there are many American-made items that don’t last very long, but I challenge you, dear reader. Go to an antique store and find something that was made in the USA during the period of 1920 to say 1975. I’ll wager if you were to plug it in (or not if it wasn’t electrical) or use it, it would, by and large, outdistance its 21st-century replacement.