Consumer demand for planned obsolescence

Yet some people do ride bicycles and yet manage to have high status. How do they do that? They do it by recognizing the anti-status position of the bike… Therefore, instead of having the newest, greatest, best bike, they have some old, beat-up, rusted-up contraption that doesn’t look as if it would travel a block, even if the whole distance was downhill.
~How to Detail a Classic Bike

Grist metioned an unusual observation: some consumers want their gadgets to die early. The sad thing is: it’s probably true. In fact, scratch that, I know it’s true.

And it’s not just gadgets. I’ve found myself looking longingly at some nifty set of plates somewhere, wishing I could justify buying new ones. But I bring myself back to reality by remembering that I was once in love with the plates I have now, and they’re going quite fine and I like them very much still. And I’d one day feel the same about the new plates as I did about my current plates.

Electronics I’m amazingly good at not wanting to replace. They’re expensive and often a hassle. I got a new phone three years ago only because I wanted to get away from AT&T. Too bad they recently bought T-Mobile. I’m still trying to decide if it’s worth it to jump ship to Verizon, but I comfort myself by remembering that at my rate of phone usage, I’m more of a perpetual annoyance than a customer.

Maybe I’m just a cheap bastard. Wishing death on a laptop to get a new one? Hell, no. Laptops are expensive. Not to mention the hours of time it takes to set a new one up all over again. I don’t even like setting up a new OS. (I used Windows 2000 until after Windows 7 came out. I liked that OS, dammit.)

When it comes to my phone, though, it’s merely contentment. I have no desire for a new phone, as I don’t desire a phone that does anything my current phone doesn’t. Hell, it’d be nice sometimes if my phone did less. I anticipate feeling the same way about my netbook for years to come. I only desire an upgrade for my desktop because it’s long, long, long overdue.

It would be nice if companies did do as Hymas suggests and make phones able to be upgraded easily. But really, that’s just a phone issue. My main gadget, my computer, is easily upgradeable. Hell, I can change out the case for a visible difference, if I want to. ASUS has a panel on the bottom of their EEE PC netbooks that makes upgrading the RAM quick and painless, should you so choose (I didn’t). So, yeah, upgrades are a phone issue.

One of the commenters mentioned hipsters, which reminded me of this guide for detailing a classic bike. I guess I lost my hipster cred when I upgraded to Windows 7.

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