Sunday, August 25, 2013

They don't make things like they used to."

My sister has had the same air conditioner in her sewing shop since the first Bush was in the White House. It wasn't much to look at, and she'd resorted to using duct tape around the edges of the fan for poor-boy insulation, but for years it kept her shop frosty.
It began making an odd sound a few weeks ago like a squirrel had tossed a hickory nut in the fan. Then when the days began to climb into the 90s here, the unit started blowing toasty air into her shop which made it as warm as a sauna.
She went to one of the big-box stores a bought a new unit and called me this morning to see if I could help her son-in-law do the switcheroo this evening.
When we removed the tape and started trying to wrestle it out of the window, we determined that it weighed just slightly less that a 1957 Buick Roadmaster.
There was no plastic in that old A/C and you could tell the parts were made to last.
Back in the day when we made things in our country, they were mostly built that way. Then it became popular to outsource, downsize, and right shore operations to reduce costs and to bring consumer better value for their money.
I know I'm over simplifying a complex situation, but the bottom line is that we don't make things any more.
One result is that we buy things with a planned obsolescence.....disposable things. We use it for a while and then toss it into the trash and buy another one.
I was thinking about this while I walked this evening. As I rounded the barn, I noticed my nephew had pushed my old bicycle out of the barn and leaned it against the truck that once belonged to Jilda's dad.
The bike and the truck both look rough, but with a little maintenance, both of these would be ready for service.
I know I'm sounding like an old timer, but I think it's true to say, "They don't make things like they used to."


  1. Amen to that, Rick....and right on down to sewing machines which used to have all metal parts but are now plastic which slowly wear away. Crazy world, indeed. By the time I am done typing this sentence another computer will probably have been invented which supersedes last weeks new one. xo Diana

  2. I have to agree Rick.. I am finding more and more that things are made so cheaply that they barely last. I wish things were not so disposable... there would be less in the landfills...

  3. Anonymous10:43 PM

    There's a long list of things (toaster ovens, microwaves, VCR's, etc.) that are now cheaper to replace than repair--it pisses me off!!

  4. "Ending is better than mending...the more stitches, the less riches." Aldous Huxley may have been on to something in his Brave New World.

  5. Now you're kind of making me feel bad that I junked my car when it ran out of gas.

  6. No they certainly don't!! These days it's all disposable and so the plastic and discarded stuff pollute more and more! Oh how depressing! :-(

    Hope your sister's A/C is now working ok?

    Take care

  7. I agree. When you bought a coat it could last until today.
    When you bought shoes they lasted for a very long time and people gave jobs to shoe makers Today shoes are mass produced and not comfortable and break and you don't find many shoe makers.
    When you bought a toaster or even a blender it lasted.
    Today you bring them home and after a few uses they burn or break. So I say heck with it. Cheaper to do by hand or use the old ways to chop. My Motherinlaw used one of those half moon choppers and they worked so well and then the old mortar and pestle and the blade thingy that looked like one of the old clothes scrubber tray. They work and keep on working and keep you healthy cause you use a little muscle to boot.Thats why I say keep it local so pride and jobs begin to exist again and kids won't say there are no jobs and waste life behind drugs as an escape and think vampires,horror movies and zombies are a great thing to look

  8. There won't be many disagreeing with this post! Is this a top goal of the manufacturer today? Make it so it will last X number of years, or months, no more?

    I wonder what would happen if whole categories of imports ceased being able to be shipped. What would U.S. do? How long would it take to retool here to begin a production line?

    But then there is the dilemma of not being willing to pay for American goods when we have that choice. And do we still support Mom & Pop stores even if we pay a little more?

  9. You're absolutely right. Appliances are made to break instead of lasting a lifetime. Furthermore, our computers are obsolete before we can get them out of the box. Before long, they're worthless.


  10. Perfectly timed computer is on life support and I've issued a DNR (do not resuscitate) order..yep, more plastic to the landfill. In surgery we have everything disposable. I remember when we had linen, reused gloves, needles, and I'm old!

  11. I totally agree with you.
    Clothes, for example. Their quality is poor now. Clothes used to last decades, now they may end up looking different after a few months.


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