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.