Why does planned obsolesence exist?

AwesomeTucker
AwesomeTucker

Sup Veeky Forums. So I'm a HVAC technician. One thing I've observed in my work is how frequently manufacturers make unit that are designed to fail after a certain time

For example, there are parts that are fused so if one breaks you have to change out the whole system, or a part has a set amount of oil and once that oil runs out the part breaks down (and they don't make a fucking port to refill the oil)

So my question is, how can this even exist under capitalism? Isn't that what competition is for? To maximize efficiency? Since the firms are competing to make the best product and so always have pressure to improve?

Why then, is there no one that makes air conditioning or heating unit that is maximized to last. Because if they did, these units could last almost ten times longer than others and they'd beat out the competition. That what's capitalism is supposed to fucking do.

I can't help but think of all the time, money, and material that is being wasted by building these units that fail after 5 years when they could potentially last 30

Dreamworx
Dreamworx

@AwesomeTucker
these units that fail after 5 years when they could potentially last 30

Why sell one unit that lasts 30 years when you can sell 6 units instead?

Stark_Naked
Stark_Naked

@Dreamworx
I know, but if a company made a unit that lasted 30 years, everyone would buy that, and they'd sell zero units

Raving_Cute
Raving_Cute

@Stark_Naked

If all other things are equal, you can manufacture a unit that lasts five years (or until the 'extended warranty' is up) for far cheaper and with less oversight than you can guarantee a thirty year unit.

Nude_Bikergirl
Nude_Bikergirl

@Stark_Naked
They referring to the company that makes units last for 5 years

Crazy_Nice
Crazy_Nice

@AwesomeTucker
shit breaks because it's cheaply made

sorry to fuck up your rant or stand-up riff or whatever but shit isn't planned. Designing something to fail requires far more expensive engineering the shops in China that made 90% of WalMart shit was not engineered that way and if it was it would have to cost more.
economics disproves foilhat retardation

Lord_Tryzalot
Lord_Tryzalot

I'm a contractor too.

The big problem here is consumer knowledge. People don't have the time to learn anything about their AC unit or stove or pest control system etc...

So even if a company comes out and creates such a unit their marketing pitch will just be white noise.

Also Americans don't think long term. A 5 year solution is just fine.

w8t4u
w8t4u

@Raving_Cute
Let's say that the 30 year unit cost 1.5x the price for the five year one. I can garuntee you everyone will still opt for a 30 year unit. The problem is that no one makes a unit that lasts 30 years
@Lord_Tryzalot
That is a factor, but I mean, we usually give customers choices, for shit like the size water heaters they need. If you (the contractor) give them a choice between a 5 and a 30 year unit, would they really opt for a 5 year?

likme
likme

@w8t4u
Many Americans are under the impression that they will one day come into great wealth. If they can save a little money now and spend more later, they will often do that.

Techpill
Techpill

@w8t4u
@likme

Even outside of America, many cut now to have more money for food/other expenses.

European friend was facepalming at a friend having not gotten an oil change for tens of thousands of miles.

I did not know a car could last without oil change for so long.

Flameblow
Flameblow

@Crazy_Nice
Designing something to fail requires far more expensive engineering the shops in China that made 90% of WalMart shit was not engineered that way

Engineering is made in the west you faggot.

TurtleCat
TurtleCat

Same things with vehicles after the early 90s, they were predesigned to not to last after a certain amount of time, its all about getting the buyer to come back and get the newer vehicle.

LuckyDusty
LuckyDusty

@Crazy_Nice
This, all of this.

You can still get really well engineered stuff nowadays, but the consumer doesn't want that. People are used to switching out their ~$500 phones every two years or so, why bother convincing them that a super well-engineered HVAC system is superior to some cheap Chinese shit that costs less?

Corporations aren't gonna fight this trend because it helps them a lot - it's better for optics if you're constantly selling products rather than selling one product to a customer for life. CEOs are short-sighted fucks who are perfectly happy selling cheap crap if it nets benefits in the short term.

A good example: Back in the good old days of DOS gaming, PC cases were huge metal slabs that could withstand fucking war. Nowadays, most cases are thin metal, if not outright plastic. Why? Because the former were designed to last (as silly as that sounds in retrospect) and the latter are designed to be disposable. The design/tech has certainly gotten better, but still.

StonedTime
StonedTime

@Crazy_Nice
Engineering to fail is a bit disingenuous maybe, but it's no secret that many goods could be made to last significantly longer for a tiny cost

BinaryMan
BinaryMan

@LuckyDusty

That's why you build your own computer and you line the casing with kevlar and rifle plating to keep the heat in and the bullets out.

AwesomeTucker
AwesomeTucker

@BinaryMan
ISIS WILL NEVER SHOOT MY PORN UNDER MY WATCH

GoogleCat
GoogleCat

@AwesomeTucker
You'd have to have a market of consumers that actually value longevity in products. It's that simple. People are fucking stupid and complacent, and they would rather pay $300 for a thing that lasts 3 years, than $550 for a thing that lasts 6 years. It's just exactly that simple. You would have to educate the market, and change the throw-away culture.

viagrandad
viagrandad

@Stark_Naked
We had an agreement. Goyim
Phoebus cartel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

haveahappyday
haveahappyday

@Techpill
Tesla. Plus it's free

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

are there any producers that make quality shit? any movements or organisations that promote quality products?

Evilember
Evilember

@Crazy_Nice
this. your laptop could last a lot longer than it does, and it doesn't last that much because YOU mistreat it.
electronic devices are complex pieces of engineering, and the consumer wants some cheap shit. well, you can't expect to have the best components. also, of course designers make mistakes, too. and companies don't want to open up their proprietary components so that people can fix their stuff for cheap or even fix them themselves, for obvious reasons.

AwesomeTucker
AwesomeTucker

@LuckyDusty
Most of the reason that HVAC systems are engineered for 5 year cycles is due to Federal energy efficiency standards. If the equipment fails and can be replaced with new subsidized equipment that can cost less to operate, then of course you are going to use it that way.

Garbage Can Lid
Garbage Can Lid

@Crazy_Nice
It's a bit of both. There ARE firms and plants out there that produce quality, 100% engineered for maximum reliability products EVERYWHERE, and in every single industry.

Then there are businesses that invest less money in making quality units, but passes those savings in R&D and quality control onto the consumer with the hopes of their significantly more affordable price point being the single deciding factor for the consumer. The result will be a shittier product that is engineered for ease of mass production (fused parts, more available/cheaper material etc), rather than longevity.

People who bitch and moan about deliberately programmed obsolescence are probably too fucking broke. My iPod from 2007 still works great, and my car, A/C, and computer have literally never had any sort of catastrophic failure event, nor required much more than basic maintenance.

Lord_Tryzalot
Lord_Tryzalot

@Garbage Can Lid
I won't name drop products, because literally everyone on Veeky Forums will either disregard it and call me a shill, or assume I'm just talking out my ass.

I will say one thing: although American or European products are no indicator of quality, very few quality consumer-goods and appliances (vehicles, tools, electronics etc) will be coming from countries other than European ones, America, and maybe Japan (cars/electronics).

Sir_Gallonhead
Sir_Gallonhead

@AwesomeTucker
Be me
Adopt "broken" air compressor
small parts replacement.
looking for plastic rectangular conic slice for direction of cooling airflow
...
...
Schematics!
...
...
phone call
...
"it's part of the main pump"
me: No I just need the 3 cent plastic part, i'll pay $2 for it, just want this thing running.
"it's part of the pump component" ($400)

the joos at it again

TechHater
TechHater

@AwesomeTucker
OP, you're basically describing the prisoner's dilemma.

takes2long
takes2long

@TechHater
How so?

Deadlyinx
Deadlyinx

@TechHater

lmfao you are literally 'that guy' who probably posts 'doggy dog world'

Snarelure
Snarelure

@takes2long
Everyone makes money if everyone makes 5-year equipment.
If only one company makes 30-year equipment, their profits will skyrocket while those of everyone else will plummet.
But then other companies will start making 30-year equipment and the competition will be the same as it was before, but with more expensive equipment and less demand (since nobody's shit is breaking anymore).

Tit for tat demands that everyone keep making 5-year equipment.

takes2long
takes2long

Planned obsolescence is a logical step in an oligopoly or monopoly, or in a market where there is more collusion than competition. Planned obsolescence makes these industries several times more profitable so long as the aforementioned conditions exist.

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