Thursday, 8 June 2006

The Cost of a Six Pack

That's the average price of a new PC, HiFi, Camera, Mobile Phone, in fact anything in the consumer electronics industry. Well - not quite, but you get the jist.
Having been in the electronics business for many years in service and repair I've watched the industry change dramatically. At one time manufactuers were producing products they could be proud of, built to last using quality components. Obviously the price reflected that, but at least you were able to go to a shop and look, listen, touch, and get advice and help with your purchase.

What has transpired over the years is an industry flogging products as cheaply as possible, overflowing with features that hardly anyone needs or wants just because they can, built to last a week longer than the guarantee. There's no profit margin in these products for the retailer (unless you're Dixons/Currys maybe or an internet box shifter) so they try and sell you insurance and extended warranties to make up margin. I was asked the other day if I wanted to buy an extended warranty for a kettle I bought - the kettle cost £15.00! - What's that all about then?? If it breaks, I chuck it away and buy another one don't I!

Where do we go for real advice now? The majority of independent retailers with experience and knowledge have closed because their business' are no longer viable.
Cheap is not alway good. 'Repairability,' a word I may have just made up, is no longer an issue. We just chuck it away and buy another. We've learned, and our kids have inherited the 'I just want a new one' mentality. The mobile phone industry push new phones onto us every year because the new one is so much better, sexy and will fit in your bikini bottoms without showing.... so they say.

What happens to all the unservicable, broken, and 'I'm fed up with it - I've had it a year' products. Landfill I guess.
I've not seen any evidence of the the last EU initiative on 'maunufacturing with recycling in mind' working yet have you? but that's a whole new grumpy groan subject, maybe for another time eh. Must go my mobile is ringing, vibrating, flashing, and telling me the battery is low because it's ringing, vibrating, flashing....... : )

Enjoy your day

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