Say no to planned obsolescence

Say no to planned obsolescence

  • Arnaud Malfoy
  • Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016

overdose obsolescence

Have you ever felt like you have been cheated on a product that you bought and that suddenly breaks after just one year, right after the warranty expiration. It’s like the manufacturers time their product to fail right when they release the new improved product with a tiny improvement here and there with a massive marketing campaign to force you to buy the brand new and shiny product.

Even newspapers and the medias in general joined the movement and massively create the momentum around the launch of a new product and most of the time, it feels like you are reading the manufacturer press release (critical thinking is gone, they need the advertisers to keep printing their newspaper or broadcast their TV channel).

And this is a relatively recent thing, it all started in the 1930’s with the light bulbs. The main manufacturers created a cartel and decided to reduce drastically the quality of their light bulbs in order to force you to change them a lot more often (you can still find the older light bulbs still emitting light after more than a century, proof that we can build extremely durable good if we want to). The phenomenon progressively expanded to most of the products that we currently use nowadays.

This is especially true in fashion where the collections are changing all the time and the price seemingly low encourage you to think that you are getting a bargain for a trendy item while you are getting a very cheap item that will disintegrate after getting washed twice (and on top of it, these items are usually made by children in sweatshops in Bengladesh). It’s like our consumption society is getting into overdrive and will eventually kill itself (and us), because we create so much unnecessary waste that our oceans and lands are full of it and the pollution is getting out of control.

It all sounds bleak and gloomy but it’s also a fantastic wake up call. We can free ourselves from this constant need to consume and focus on what is great in life, experiences, travels, friends, loved ones… I am certainly not saying that we should stop consuming completely but we should certainly fight this phenomenon by consuming in a smarter way.

For example, do you really need to change your phone every 18 or 24 months? The manufacturers are making it difficult to replace the battery or upgrade the software but it’s actually possible to keep your phone for 4 to 5 years (look at website like for replacing the battery or check out Lineage OS that is an open source version of Android which will give you the latest version of Android with all the security updates for your phone even if the manufacturer stopped upgrading the phone).

You should also try to use second hand items if you can, it’s a great way to find cheaper items in perfect working order. And don’t through away items that seems broken, usually a quick look on the internet will give you tips on how to fix your toaster, your computer or your printer (and you learn a lot while doing it).

Furthermore, look for quality when you buy, focus on the little details (stitch work for clothes, reliability/power consumption/replaceable pieces for electronics…) and don’t think for a minute that brands mean quality, that has not been true for a long time, they understood that they could reduce the price of their items in order to increase their margin (when you see made in Italy, France, US or Switzerland, it usually means that it has only been assembled there but all the pieces have been manufactured in Asia). I always try to look for craftsmen (good way to support their work) or for second hand high quality items.

Post initially published on Steemit