Piece of c#@p!

As I told you last week, Leanne and I hosted our annual Labour Day block party on Sept. 1st.

Some neighbours brought over their barbeque and guitar, some brought a table, chairs, food to share, etc. Leanne and I bought the burgers, buns etc. with the Block Party grant money and, you know, cleaned the house a bit.

Good neighbours with beards
Good neighbours with beards

We found a couple of table cloths from somewhere that someone was going to throw away after an event, and wiped them down. I wanted to attach them to the table so they wouldn’t blow away. We used to have some plastic clips made for the purpose, but they have all broken.

“Why not use clothespegs?” I asked myself.

As you know, we have plenty of clothespegs for hanging up the washing on the line. We even have some still in a package that we have never used. They have been taking up shelf space for a few years.

“Why not use those?” I said to myself. “They are colourful and festive!”

I asked the kids that were around to put the clips on the table cloth. A few minutes later, I noticed a caffuffle. I think that is how you spell that. I went to see what was going on.

This is what I found.

If you have 10 new things, how many do you expect to break as soon as you try to use them?
If you have 20 new things, how many do you expect to break as soon as you try to use them?

When anyone tried to open the clothespegs, they broke in half. Not all of them, but a lot of them. At least the five I took a picture of. Maybe more.

This is

planned obsolescence

[mass noun] A policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require replacing, achieved by frequent changes in design, termination of the supply of spare parts, and the use of non-durable materials.

and it makes me so mad I would break something if I could find something to break that I could put back together again.

When this happens a song starts repeating in my head. I’m much too polite to sing it in mixed company, but I was humming it to myself. It is called “Piece of Crap” by Neil Young. It seems Neil has been all about sustainability for a long time. Thank you Neil!

How do you feel when something breaks that should have lasted longer? Do you secretly look forward to buying a new one? I feel that way sometimes and then I know that I have been brainwashed.



Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

2 thoughts on “Piece of c#@p!”

  1. I am often times amazed at how much effort must have gone in to make something so poorly. Even “Planned Obsolescence” assumes that the thing will work for a little while!

    Oh, and it’s kerfuffle.

    1. Thank you, Chris. My spelling is impoving every day.
      There is a lot of documentation of product testing to find just the right balance. You want the product to need replacing as soon as possible, without the person who bought it losing faith in the product.

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