Leeching the Consumer

Today I was told that some of my computer hardware was no longer supported by the manufacturer. No big surprise, right? Planned obsolescence has become such a normal part of our consumer culture that we don’t even bother to be outraged. My question is, what would happen if the vendors had to be honest? What if they had to put a warning label on their packaging that said, “You only think that you’re buying this product. Really, you’re basically renting it, because technically in three or four years, tops, it’s going to become nothing but an expensive door stop and will need to be replaced. Just so you know.”

When you think about it, producers of products need us in order to survive, and therefore have to find new and creative ways each year to figuratively suck our blood like the leeches that they are. Planned obsolescence is just one insidious method.

A very popular approach is to form corporate attachments to you. Companies just love to make you feel like they care. “Sure, we pumped 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but we are part of this community! We want to see it prosper! We’re doing everything we can to make your life better!” “Yes, we’re clear cutting all the forests in your state, but we’re doing it in an environmentally responsible manner!” Here’s a news flash, people. Corporations do not care about you. You want proof? Stop consuming their product and see how long they stick around, trying to make your life better.

They also love to tickle your political funny bone. Gun manufacturers fight for your right to bear arms. They run the political gauntlet every single day to uphold your freedom. God Bless America!

Come on, people, they’re not doing that for you. The fact is, gun ownership in this country is on the decline. Kids don’t go hunting anymore. They’re too busy being glued to their computer screens. And this sales decline is the corporate equivalent of starvation. They fight for your right to have assault rifles because you’ll have to BUY them! They fight for your right to purchase a gun without a background check so that more people will be able to buy them. They don’t care about your rights. This is corporate greed wrapped in the American flag, pure and simple.

And why are sexy models used in advertisements? So that you’ll pale by comparison. With any luck, this will create a desire in you to want to be just like these models. And the only way to be that sexy or popular or cool or trendy or successful (unless you are good with Photoshop), is to buy their product. Buy this cream and all your problems will melt away! Are we really this stupid?

Maybe we are, because another trick is convincing us that their product is necessary. We absolutely, positively, have to, have to, HAVE TO own the latest I-Phone in order to survive in this world. That’s funny. People have managed to make do without it for thousands and thousands of years.

Or how about this? If my drug doesn’t solve your problem, let’s create a problem for you that it WILL solve. Who ever heard of “restless leg syndrome” prior to 1995? Yes, I know it is a legitimate diagnosis, but if we didn’t know about it, we wouldn’t be demanding the medication for it.

Look down at your body. Check every crack and crevice, people, because there are leeches attached to you. And when you drop dead from the anemia, they are counting on the fact that there will be someone else to take your place. Perhaps that’s the ultimate form of planned obsolescence.


9 thoughts on “Leeching the Consumer

  1. Carole Lewis

    Oh yes and the ink cartridges that last only moments and the same size coffee cans that used to hold 39 oz and now hold 22 to 33 oz. and the price keeps going up. On and on the list goes and grows… EEK!

  2. Planned obsolescence is only the popular notion of what happens, but the term does not capture the real s.issue. Cracking down on the marketing industry will help, but the hardware issue is complex, This is rant post not a problem solving post. Sorry,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s