Thursday, July 30, 2009

same ol ride time for something different

Same roads, same pace, same scene, same bike. So I thought I would climb up on my soap box for a few minutes and vent on something that I think needs to be said.

This is all about my day to day Monday to Friday life. I was recently in at one of our dealers and had a chance to see a few new products and also check out the prices of things. Being in the service industry you really don't get a concept of how much things unless you are scanning websites or checking out the stores monthly. To clear the air for some, I own a major appliance service that does the warranty work for about 20 manufacturers and about 40 dealers.

So one of the things I always hear from customers as I'm fixing the fridge or washer is that they don't make things like they used to. You know what, they are right. They don't they make things better. More buttons, more cycles, more bells and whistles. The biggest thing, they don't cost anywhere near as much as they used to.

My little visit to the store reminded me of this. I happen to be in the section of dryers and spotted what is considered by most in the industry as one of the best machines ever made. This machine has not changed in design since the early 1970. I can transfer almost every part from a machine of the 70's to a new one. Now here is the big problem. It is cheaper to buy that machine now than it was 20 years ago.

I tracked a few things down. 1970s average income started between $9000 to the high side of $17,500 near the end of the decade. A dryer in the 70's started at $219. That's started at. So this machine was out there. Now jump forward to now single individual is just under $36,000 and the average family is just over $70,000. So we make more money right with inflation, things have gone up in price right. Some complain that they have gone up to high to quickly. Well all but appliances.

That same dryer is now $274. What?? Yep, 30 years of inflation has added a grand total of $50 to the starting point of this dryer. Is it me or is something wrong with that. My Dad used to be just as busy back in the 70's, 80's etc fixing the same thing that I am now. Back then no one even considered just throwing out their dryer because it broke. Big reason, It was a month's worth of paychecks to replace it. Now, even the top of the line product is still extremely cheap and people just toss them. What the hell??

So here is the environmental side of me kicking in. If we want to save the world, start raising prices of all major appliances. We all use appliances daily. I don't think our society could survive if we had to go back going to the river with the wash board or having the old ice box fridge. No water dispenser in those.

When it is dramatically cheaper to throw something out than it is to fix even a simple repair. Example, the motor in that dryer plus service call is roughly $230. Why would people consider keeping it. I have products out there that I can't even consider fixing because of cost of repairs.

Now I will just highlight that I'm not yapping about this because my business is slow. Far from it, we are busier than ever. But what I'm looking at is long term environmental impact. I won't even start into how bad the Great Refrigerator roundup is. Don't do it. It's a pile of b.s.

Ok I better get off the of soap box, someone may kick me off plus I need to go to work. Comments? Thoughts??? I will get into this again in the near future when I have more time.

Gotta run


jsimmons said...

Yeah, it is pretty crazy. My wife broke the glass jar of our blender. the blades were starting to get a bit worn so I thought I would go out and replace those 2 parts because the rest of the blender was fine. Total to replace those parts was the same price as buying a new blender.

Andy said...

Dude, when i run out of printer ink, i buy a new printer cause it costs about a dollar more, to buy it with ink than a new ink cartridge. I think its a problem with many of our day to day items,

Anonymous said...

What about energy star appliances? Are they really more efficient? That's the selling point of the fridge roundup. Were the old ones energy hogs, or is that just propoganda?

Matt Spak said...

I'll do a write up on the great refrigerator round up this weekend. There will be lots so I need either vast amounts of coffee or vasts amounts of beer. Each one takes power to make enjoyable.

Golonghardman said...

If that shit was made on this continent they wouldn't be so cheap, we would fix them instead of buying new ones, that would be the best option. For now we don't care but wait another 50yrs when China is calling the shots like the U.S. is now. I prefer the U.S.

Matt Spak said...

Aww but that is the funny thing. Most of the products I'm talking about are being made in the states and Mexico. In union shops at that.