Nov 12, 2010

Is this run noticeable?

Planned obsolescence is the practice of designing products to break down at a predictable rate in order to force consumers to replace them. Like pantyhose. Odds are slim that you'll ever wear a pair of pantyhose more than three times without getting a run in them. You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning, hitting the lottery or running across a one-legged accordian player doing a polka. The average pair of pantyhose costs about $6. You can pay more, and I have, but my empirical research shows no correlation between cost and durability. At $6 a pair I am dropping about $240 a year. My annual cost would skyrocket if I were the type of woman that frets over her appearance. I don't mind wearing a pair with a run in them if it's not terribly obvious. A hole in the toe though is unbearable. Nothing makes me madder than getting a hole in the toe on the first day you wear a new pair. Into the trash they go.

I refuse to believe that science is incapable of inventing a fabric that is both sheer and tough. This consistent product failure has to be intentional. The hosiery industry has no motivation to increase the useful life of their product. We just keep buying them. Why can't they follow the lightbulb's lead? Some of the bulbs they make these days last for years and consumers gladly pay more for them to reduce bulb changing. I'd pay a pretty penny for a pair of hose I could wear long enough to have to wash them one or two times.

I once suspected that blow dryers were also designed to fail. It always seemed they lasted at most a year or two before burning out. My opinion changed when I bought my latest blow dryer. It's been going strong for 10 years. Well not exactly strong. Currently the folding handle won't lock in position anymore, making the dryer droop unless you prop it as you are using it. But it's workable. The innovation in hair dryer technology that made this possible was the addition of a hatch over the air intake part of the dryer. I can clean it out regularly which keeps the dryer from overheating. I'm shooting for 20 years of usage of my current dryer. It's a trooper.

The most durable car I've ever seen was a work bucket Dodge my Dad drove back in the 80's. It was an old,  ugly, aqua green monstrosity with fins, chrome and a push button transmission. That thing was solid as a rock. What finally did her in was rusted door hinges. Hell, if my Dad had been willing to ride around Jeep-style I bet that thing would still be driveable. The worst car I've ever had was a Mercury Monarch my Dad bought for my sister and me. It was only 4 or 5 years old I think. But the body was literally rusting off the frame. Sis and I were mortified to have to drive it in front of our friends. But my Dad, bargain hunter that he is, couldn't see spending more to spare us the humility of driving the Rust Bucket. Stupid car only had AM radio too.  I suspect this was also planned obsolescence.  You can only listen to country and news talk radio for so long. 


  1. Grrr get me started about pantyhose. I never wear the full deal these days but in Winter I often wear the footlet ones with trousers/jeans. I take care of my nails but I still manage to snag the fabric on my fingers somehow.
    Bloody things.......

  2. I hate pantyhose - haven't worn a pair in many years. ai don't know how hold my hair dryer is, but it has been working for too long to remember.
    The worst car we ever had was an Opal. One day the front wheel just fell off while driving home. I own a Honda CRV now. i love it.

  3. I have bought my fair share living on the mainland along with clear nail polish to stop those nasty runs. So thankful to live on an island where the word 'pantyhose' is known as a bad word : )

  4. I know exactly what you mean about pantyhose--so freakin' annoying!! That's why I just buy the cheap-ass ones at Walgreen's now--they have about as much staying power than the expensive ones, anyway--as you pointed out. I refuse to pay more than 79 cents for a pair of nylons. (Just call me Miss Cheapskatepants. :) )

  5. Hate pantyhose - only wear them if i have to look respectable and in the city...
    our old fridges in the 70 - 80's lasted 20 years, ditto washing machines - this in the so called bad old days when we were so environmentally unaware - now 5 years if we are lucky - there is a lot of "talk" about the environment and being so called green - if it could be done once that fridges lasted it can still be done but the manufacturers have for ages - with government sanction been some of the world's worst polluters

  6. Planned obsolescence! You are so right. Back in the day things were made to last, today they are made to use for a while and then upgrade. Electronics is the best example. When they release a new type of PC, they are already working on the next generation. Upgrade upgrade upgrade! It's a crime...

    great post!

  7. Why I ever buy just one pair of pantyhose I will never know. Just recently I once again found myself getting gussied up when the inevitable happened and I ruined a new pair. I hate them.

    I just recently read about something called "slow fashion" and some green clothing companies offering free repairs and recycling.

  8. Foxy - They do drive a girl to cussing don't they?

    Mom - That's scary. Hopefully you weren't on the freeway.

    Golf - Yet another mark in Hawaii's favor. 1) Lush tropical paradise 2) No need for pantyhose.

    MHP - 79 cents???? That's impressive. Unfortunately I also rely on my pantyhose for tummy smoothing and the cheap brands offer no tummy tucking tightness.

    MC - We just keep filling up the landfills with our disposable items don't we?

    Pat - I keep holding off on buying a flat screen TV. My monster idiot box still works fine and I can't see replacing it until it dies.

    Alice - I'll have to look into that. I'd tell my daughter about it but the young women these days won't wear pantyhose. I feel naked without them.

  9. I always worked jobs where I had to wear fishnets(bar-tending days)or none at all(home improvement stores)
    I do remember someone telling me to keep them in the freezer..
    thanks for stopping by and saying howdy..