Planned obsolescence or build to fail items

How often do you buy items which supposed to last long but breaks fast? Most probably often, especially is it’s “only $9.99!buy now and save”. This happens because of built-in obsolescence.

Planned obsolescence used by manufacturers in almost every product: product break fast, service became out-of-date, product with short trendy lifespan etc.

Until 20th century manufacturing speed was slow & over production impossible. In second half of 20Th century companies experienced overproduction because of advanced technology. Customers were not habituated to buy so many new items. In order to increase demand applied massive advertising campaigns. Manufacturers invested resources in consumer behavior study to use it for more sales.

Nowadays majority of products designed with an artificially limited maximum use time. Here’s a few examples of obsolescence of desirability & obsolescence of function:

  1. Mobile phones. Advertised to buy every year (best example is IPhone release every year).
  2. Cheap & fast braking home appliances.
  3. Single purpose home appliances: do you really need waffle maker if used once per year?).
  4. Fast fashion. Trendy pieces good to wear only till end of the season. With 52 micro seasons it’s impossible do not buy new cheap trendy items.
  5. Cheap items from Aliexpress.
  6. Fashion jewelry. No point to buy worst quality items if you can buy silver or gold items which gonna appreciate in value.
  7. High heels. If it damage your feet why would you spend money on it? Own a few high quality & perfectly fitted pair. For everyday wear sport shoes best.
  8. Cosmetics. 10 lipsticks (each with expire date)? Why? Endless cosmetics purchases adding up in big sum.
  9. Designer bags which cost fortune. Handbags don’t last long, why to spend fortune on it?
  10. Purposely reduced light bulb lifespan (classic example from early 20th century).
  11. Software with yearly payment for upgrade.
  12. Printer cartridges with smart chip. Have to buy new cartridge without option to add ink into existing one.
  13. Stainless-steel items with plastic lids.
  14. Decorative purpose items.
  15. Worst quality roads construction to insure regular repair.
  16. Cost-cutting on building’s construction. Lower grade concrete, thinner walls…

National economy based on purchase power of it’s citizens. If citizens save more money than less money spend for purchases which leads to slow down in the economy. Planned obsolescence widely used to increase consumption and create consumerism addiction. People habituated to accumulate more items which needed. More items need more storage. More storage means bigger homes and rise of storage units. In order to have place to store useless items customers spend more money. Life from paycheck to paycheck is reality for billions of people, but they still buy more items which needed because everyone around does it. For less financially educated people consumerism means credit card and debt-ridden life.

Banks use all possible tactics to make you spend more money, more often. One of that strategy is to use credit card to collect points, miles and bonuses. Problem with consumerism backed by credit card that people spend money which they don’t own. Wasteful life is not normal but lived by almost everyone.

Grocery shopping is one of best over consumption example. Shopping trays bigger than it should be, rationality people think that did not take enough food and buy more than needed. After shopping how many items thrown away just because expire date? Even food expire date deliberately obsolescence.

Have you ever thought why in pharmacy you have to buy 10 pills if you need maximum 5? Customers habituated to over spend, consider this normal and rational.

Build to break strategy widely used but non of company will accept that using it.

Thanks for reading. Please follow and leave comments with ideas for next articles.

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