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25 July 2007

Is "Disposable" a Good Thing?

I'm finding that there are more and more products on the market that cost a significant amount of money, but appear to be disposable. Here are some products I expect to be disposable:

  • Diapers
  • Pencils & pens
  • Wet wipes
  • Pregnancy tests
  • You get the picture...

But here are two products we recently purchased that also appear to be disposable:

HP Photosmart Printer
I have owned at least one other inkjet printer in my lifetime and you would think that I would have learned my lesson the first time. But of course I trusted technology and assumed that they had figured out how to keep the ink from drying out and gunking up the print heads.

We've had the printer since the beginning of the year and for all practical purposes it has become a paper weight. We've printed a total of 5-10 pictures worthy of showing friends - the other 50 were so bad we threw them away. We've changed the ink out, cleaned the print heads two to three times before printing and they still come out as bad as ever. Very reminiscent of my last HP inkjet and comments my friends make about their photosmart printers...

But hey! At least I got one with a scanner! That's still working (I'll keep my fingers crossed).

INTEX Swimming Pool
My wife just had to have it. And I understand - the kids need something to do in the summer to keep them from being bored. After all, it's not like they don't have a thousand toys in the basement...

So last year we took it down, let it dry out and stored it for this year - only to find out that over the winter it developed at least 4 holes out of which all the newly introduced water wanted to escape...

So what do you do with that? Well we bought another one and also purchased the warranty so when this happens again we will get a new one for free! So if we keep this up, here's how it will work: Instead of paying full price for the product, we will pay full price for two pools. We basically pay half price each year and we get a new pool each year.

Get to the Point
Fine. My point is that it feels strange to spend over $100.00 and then figure out that the product is "disposable." But I'm starting to think that many products are designed with this in mind. For example, many consumer electronic devices (DVD players, cellphones, MP3 players, etc.) appear to be designed with the thought, "We just have to make it last for a year or two because they will want the latest thing available then anyway..."

So is that a good thing? Is this just the way its going to be? Maybe so...

Let me know what expensive "disposable" products you have purchased recently.