My Norelco shaver finally died this week. The motor still works, but something snapped inside the mechanism that drives the rotary heads, so one of the heads spins freely while the other two just sit there, not doing anything. So I had to go to Target yesterday and replace that, as well. Damn electronic doodads!
But that shaver's longevity impresses me. I got it before my sophomore year of college, back in summer of 1990, and it last all the way up to last week. That's almost sixteen years. Sure, I had to change the blades a couple of times, but it certainly can't be argued that I didn't get my money's worth out of that shaver.
Now, in terms of "continuous service", the shaver wasn't actually sixteen years old, since I grew a beard for the second half of my college career and since I've had a beard for two years now. But for the first year, and then the eleven years between college and my working at The Store, I used that shaver at least four times a week, and I still use it now to trim the beardline once or twice a week. So that shaver got used quite a lot.
I'm always amazed at the frequency with which folks replace perfectly functional items in their households. I just replaced a sixteen-year-old shaver; my toaster oven is the same age as the shaver and is still going strong; my drip coffee maker is twelve years old and still works perfectly; I still listen to music on a shelf stereo system or a Sony Discman, both of which I bought in 1995; the lamp that sat in my bedroom through high school and then went to college with me now sits beside The Daughter's bed; The Wife prepares waffles on a decades-old waffle iron that she actually acquired from her mother.
I wonder why it is that in all the articles about how to save money and stretch budgets and all that kind of thing, I rarely read this simple piece of advice: "When you buy a gadget, use it until it dies."