When we talk about consumerism, the subject of obsolescence comes up eventually. As a consumer who tries to get as much value from my purchases as possible, I thought this was interesting to investigate. I was thinking about writing something on planned obsolescence after watching a documentary called "Prêt à jeter" from the Arte TV channel.
Only I discovered there was more than one kind of obsolescence. Any technique is good enough to make us shun our current possessions and buy something new. If you are also interested in well-thought purchases and living a more simple life, this could be something to know about.
There are three types of "obsolescence" in this context: planned obsolescence, perceived obsolescence and technological obsolescence. All three have for objective to decrease the lifetime of an object and increase the turnover rate of objects in the household. Below is a short explanation of each type of obsolescence and how I try to fight it to make my objects last longer.
What I have decided to do as a gamer is to switch to home consoles back during the PlayStation 2 period. This one was bound to die from technological obsolescence as well, but at least it lasted 5 years instead of just one for a gamer PC.
Today, a vivid example of this is how batteries die so quickly, in iPods or cell phones for example. My first iPod, the mini, had its battery die after just over one year. No matter how long I'd charge it, after 15 minutes it was empty. That is planned obsolescence, to make me buy a newer iPod. What I did instead was to buy a dock and plug my iPod mini on it, and turn it into a morning alarm clock. Which I still use in 2012.
This one is the most easily avoided too, since the object can still be used without any problems. The idea is to be aware of it and be content with your current object as long as it works. I still use my iPhone 4 from last year and my MacBook from 2010 and I'm perfectly happy with these.