Rule #1, don't buy junk.

Buying stuff is necessary, but buying stuff that barely makes it through the trip home is crazy.

25 or more years ago, Susan wanted to make bread. "Cool!" I said, I can buy a tool - mixers, miter gauges, mattocks, they are all the same if you are a true tool fool like me.

So at the next opportunity (this in was pre credit card days) I bought an expensive (for us) mixing machine. On a consumer cost scale of 1-5 it was probably a 3 and that was expensive for a carpenter.

She smoked it on the first double batch.

Use it once...

This was the early '80s when there was still a blurry line between sturdy and cheap. That line was quickly fading as plastics and "engineering" made everything better - or at least cheaper. I think that's the corner we've worked ourselves into, everyone wants a deal, the low price always, and that's smart but it has created the throw away society.

We waste about the same amount of food as we did in the 60's and only twice as much as we did 100 years ago. But we waste 100 times the amount of "product"!

Containers and packaging made up the largest portion of MSW generated: 31 percent, or about 77 million tons. The second largest portion came from nondurable goods, which amounted to about 24 percent, or about 59 million tons.*

What is really sad is that in addition to the 24% of the waste stream comprised of "non-durable goods" another 18% is "Durable Goods"!

Lots of throwaway stuff gets recycled, but the price paid for junk never gets refunded.

I try to buy stuff that can be fixed...

I took that plastic mixer back and bought the largest kitchen aide consumer model available. We still have it. It did need repair one time, Susan's brother in law took it apart and replaced a gear and guess what, it was the only plastic part in the machine.

I'm not really sure there are many products that can be fixed any more, especially the household variety. Parts for the kitchen aide blender we bought 15 years ago are no longer available, the unit looks the same as it has for 50 years but the working parts are new and improved - all plastic in other words. But it's worth a look around if you use something often, it seems sweet to buy 3 cheap somethings for the price of one good thing until you turn around and all 3 are broken.

I buy old stuff...

This too is becoming more difficult as the stuff Gram bought 30 years ago gets tossed out with her doilies after she passes. When I was shopping for a good sturdy sewing machine for a Christmas present, I asked a repair guy's opinion and he told me the best machine I could buy - by far, was any model made before about 1965.

The other problem is many times useable old stuff gets bid up by dealers who resell it as "antique". This really hurts, I'd like to find a useable corn sheller for example but they go for so much as "primitives" I wind up twisting cobs by hand...

Buy one good thing...

Finally, I try to buy the best if I possibly can and forego the other 2 things. I'd rather buy a used Honda small engine anything than a new whatever with a brigs; a Lie-Nelson plane is a wonderful thing if you are a tool fool...


straker said...

How timely. Just today I just broke a garden shovel I got at Home Depot. I remember when I bought it, looking at the weld joints and thinking "this won't last". USELESS.