My father-in-law used to have a ranch in rural east Texas, a place he accurately referred to as “the land of broke shit.” The roads leading to the ranch were lined with trash and nearly every home we passed was surrounded by a garden of broken lawn mowers, motorcycle frames, rusted farm equipment, disused playsets and no-wheel cars on cinder blocks. It was as if owner used something until it broke down and then simply got off and walked away, leaving a metal hulk to rust in the knee high grass. Now it seems that the WalMartization of America has made, not just East Texas, but our entire country a land of broke shit.
Last week I bought one hundred and fifty pounds of grass fed beef from a rancher in Eastern Washington and wouldn’t you know it my six year old chest freezer decided that this was the time to take a crap. We go to Home Depot, but all they have is the same piece of junk I already had so off we went to Sears. Sears had two options: the same piece of junk with a Kenmore instead of a GE sticker and a $250 stand-up freezer. I didn’t want the same ole same ole so I inquired about the stand-up. They wanted $70 to have it delivered; seventy bucks to deliver a two hundred and fifty dollar unit, no thank you I’ll take the POS chest freezer and borrow Jane’s Jeep Cherokee to get it home.
So here I am with POS 2.0 in my garage and next to it sits a worthless piece of scrap metal. The old freezer didn’t completely fall apart, what happened was some tiny plastic part had finally had enough and gave out thereby rendering the entire unit worthless. What irks me is the waste.
As Americans demand cheaper and cheaper products manufactures’ respond by examining each individual part of their product and systematically replacing relatively expensive durable parts with inexpensive failure prone parts. Eventually the unit becomes so cheap that it’s more economical to purchase a new unit than it is to have it repaired. This would be no problem if the product were made out of say corn, but they are not, they are made of and packed in non-renewable resources. My old freezer is a complete waste of finite resources. Whether it’s pots and pans, televisions or freezers we have become a throw away society.
Throwing everything away just isn’t a sustainable model. Perhaps we should task prison inmates with the job of repairing all the broken down freezers, water heaters, dishwashers, ranges, washers and dryers. You should just be able to make a call, have someone pick it up, have it transported to some lock-up where it would be fixed and put back out for sale. Seems like a win, win, win.