Major manufacturers of cars, phones and many other devices are known to release new models of their products every year because they’re hoping customers will see the older models as obsolete and spend more money. Just think of how many times your friends or children go through new I-phones. This is called consumerism, and many products in stores are designed to malfunction over time so that you’re forced to spend more and more money down the road. This is a scary idea to wrap your head around, but it’s true. Car makers make more money by making cars that are NOT built to last, and the sad truth is that this concept can be directly related to our construction tools and the philosophy many of us have about them.
For direct contrast and comparison think of the old pioneers and settlers of America who lived 200 years ago. Did you know hours and hours of work went into the blacksmithing of a single shovel and never would you see one of these pioneers abusing a shovel because he knew he could just buy another one for $10 at the store!
Children today are so used to the idea that its no big deal if something breaks because it can be replaced so easily. In fact, they EXPECT things to break and not last long! I worry about this because today’s consumerism culture is putting a heavy strain on certain resources and also all the malfunctioned junk we replace ends up filling our landfills, which causes further problems for the third world countries that have to deal with our garbage.
Now I don’t want to make this some liberal speech about saving the planet, I just want to make a good comparison between abusing tools and today’s consumerism philosophy because I believe when you buy a tool it should stick in the family. I was raised using all the tools my grandfather used and it just disgusts me to see young men today going through 4 models of the same tool when I’m still using one that’s over 100 years old. I think if the planet could talk it would agree with me when I say today’s consumerism culture is SO WASTEFUL!
So what is my advice? I suggest that when you go to buy tools for yourself or for your children that you spend the extra money to get the best quality tool because then it’ll last forever with a warranty and you’ll end up saving more money down the road when you consider never having to replace it twenty times, and also you can feel good knowing that you’re combating this disgusting philosophy in our society that says “being wasteful is okay.”
I often think about what archaeologists must think about ancient Rome when they’re digging up ridiculous technology we consider obsolete. I think about this because it makes me laugh when I wonder about archaeologists thousands of years from now who dig up all of Canada and America’s garbage and say “Oh my gosh, these cultures were so stupid!” Frankly, I would have to agree with them.
So don’t be one of those blind consumers, and take good care of your tools! Thank you!