Friday, August 31, 2007


I was thinking the other day about how different generations are known for different things. For example the generation that grew up during the depression were known to be frugal. For good reason, they grew up in a hard time. It seems to be that today's generation is exactly the opposite. This is the disposable generation (no pun intended). It seems that everything that we buy is designed to be disposed of so we can get a new one. I don't think that the generation is totally to blame, marketing and manufacturing play a HUGE role in that. Either way, it's not good.

How many times have you had a computer printer break on you? Have you ever tried to get it fixed? Don't get me wrong, they'll fix it for you, but it will generally cost more to fix the printer than it would to buy a new one. Do you think they expect you to get it fixed? I don't think so, they want to sell you a new one.

I'll be fair, that isn't always the case. Cars, for example, although expensive to fix, are cheaper to fix than replace. Unfortunately with cars, in order to be "cool" you have to have the newest (or put the most money into fixing up an old one... which is cooler than the new cars). Marketing has made it popular to have the new design. Is the new design that much better than the old? Of course, who could possibly live without a DVD player in the back of every headrest? Even if the new design isn't that much better, it is still a status symbol to have the latest and greatest.

Don't think I say that just because I don't especially like cars. Bikes do the same thing. I still have an 8-speed cassette on my road bike. Last year my derailleur hit the skids so I had to replace it. I couldn't find a 9 speed, let alone an 8 speed. So now I have a 10 speed derailleur with an 8 speed cassette. So my bike doesn't shift the best, but I really feel that I have all the gears I need. Most of the time I have the gear I need on my fixie.

Back to the original topic, what was the generation before the depression like? What were they known for? My wife suggested survival. I don't think so. I'm guessing that they didn't know what they didn't have. I bet they could even look back and wonder how previous generations had survived without the convenience of trains and the cotton gin. I don't know. So if you are over 80 years old and remember what your grandparents were known for, please let me know. I wonder if they were known for their prosperity and not taking advantage of it? Or maybe they were also known for their frugality, but they may not have even known what it means to be frugal in the way we are frugal today.


Emily Allan Wood said...

Thats an interesting question...what were people "know for" back in the early 1900's?

From my view of history, which is biased, I would say that they weren't "known for" anything. There wasn't a popular national consensus or media trail, so they weren't know for having any title. I think generational titles are a new phenomena....back then...they probably just did what they did and didn't know a thing about popular culture or any of that rag.

Vertigo said...

The reason that printer companies don't like to fix printers is that they don't make their money from printers, they make it from ink (ironically called 'consumables'). Many entry level printers go for about $50 now, which is less than a set of replacement ink cartridges.

From the Globe and Mail...

"one vendor's standard black cartridge for some of its printers holds 7 ml of ink (there are about 29.6 ml in an ounce), and costs $29.99. That's $4.28 a ml. Or $4,280 a litre. Looking at it another way, it would cost a Honda Civic owner more than $170,000 to fill their gas tank with ink."


TV Free said...

I find it interesting that Mugwump usually wants whatever is new. When i ask him why, he says, "Because it's new." He thinks that somehow that makes it better than the old. It is interesting that people seem to think that way automatically.

Vertigo said...

Japan is brutal as a 'new is better' society.

My 8 year-old car (Subaru Legacy) was only $4800 because the mileage was so high...50,000 km!