Monday, February 13, 2012
WorldWidevieW: The Age of Disposable Technology
The buying rate of tech products along with the pace of technological changes are re-defining man's history again, in a rather alarming way especially for the tight-budgeted populace. No statistics would be required to note that in a few month's time, the high-end gadget you bought today may land in the latter end of the endless list of products deemed forgotten by the modern and civilized world.
A friend once told me that a gadget's eye-catching and gossip-generating power lasts for two years. So if you are a self-confessed tech geek who fears of being labelled a primitive man for failing to catch up with the trend, you would have to "upgrade" a gadget by paying a biannual visit to your local tech store (which literally means to buy another one).
However, the frugal public is not solely being pressured by the product's losing "face value," but by the fact that there's a time when you just need to dispose it off because the product has reached the end of its life despite strictly adhering to all care instructions. This time of product maturity normally occurs after the one year limited warranty offered as a proof of product quality by manufacturers to clients. But somehow, the so-called "quality" of today's consumer technology is not anymore true to its value compared to those in the past (at least as far as I can recall).
When I was younger, I remember my parents boasting about a desk fan which was given to them as a gift on their wedding in 1987. The ever loyal desk fan, which was a year older than me, had been our family's constant companion on very hot summer days until we move to another house in 2001. My uncle asked for it after helping us transfer our things to our new house and after convincing my father that it's not a good idea to bring along old things in a new house. From then on, I never heard of the faithful desk fan again. But those were 14 memorable years. The electric fans that graced our home are all history now.
In the year 2001, my mother bought me my first ever phone. It was the classic Nokia 3310, the ever-faithful mobile phone that stood all the test time could ever give for a gadget. It became the family phone until my youngest sister lost it on her way home in 2007.
But in 2010, I received the mobile phone my eyes pried on for several months as a Christmas gift. The mobile phone was then the best-seller of a prominent company. It was even labelled in a few reviews as "cellphone ng bayan" [public's mobile phone]. My colleagues at work even bought the same model as a year-end gift for themselves.
However, before the end of 2011, it started showing signs of breakage. I needed to shout during calls for the other end to hear what I say. I learned that my colleague's phone is even in a worse condition. She can't use it at all for calls because both the speaker and microphone failed. The only choice for both of us was to buy yet another mobile phone as a personal gift last Christmas. And now, I'm crossing my fingers in hope that I would enjoy the two-year grace period my friend was telling me about for a gadget.
I am certain that my story is only one among the many silent ones out there. Though modern life is now equated with the ownership of high-end devices, on top of the ever deteriorating quality of life in the country, typical consumers like me are one in hope that this realization is not the result of unethical capitalist practice but just a genuine question of care on the part of consumers.