Things aren’t built like they once were. I’m not speaking as an elderly person but I still think that there’s been a diminution in quality for many products that we buy today. Specifically, I’m thinking of kids toys, hardware for all the things you need around the house, clothing and appliances.
I think it’s true to say that some things have become relatively more expensive over the years, and housing is the big one in this category. Anyone who lives in a large city in a first- or even second-world country probably knows this from bitter experience at trying to pay rents or enter the property market as a homebuyer themselves. I live in Sydney, Australia, which has just been found to be one of the most expensive cities in the world and many of the people I know agreed wholeheartedly when they read this.
Cost of housing eats up a huge proportion of most people’s wages and it’s scary to think how high the prices might go and how on earth the first home buyers of 10 or 20 years time will ever be able to buy anything as wages haven’t gone up by the same percentage. But once you’ve got the house it’s a lot cheaper to fill it all up nowadays, I think.
On the other hand, plenty of things are cheap — far cheaper relatively then they once were and are far more affordable. TVs, household appliances, gadgets, watches, clothing and plenty of other things just seem to damn cheap. It makes me wonder how there’s any market in selling second-hand things as new stuff is just so cheap. I’d love to know if a site like eBay has been affected and that the value of second-hand items has gone down over the years as the prices of new stuff has gone down also. I’m sometimes amazed at the prices people want for second-hand stuff on eBay. Haven’t they checked out the price of the new thing?
The one thing that bothers me about all this is that I think quality has gone down for many things. As someone with small children I spend a lot of time dealing with toys and I’m constantly surprised at how quickly they break or stop working. One of the first things my children have learnt about life is that stuff breaks easily. And not working anymore and they don’t really understand why and it’s hard to explain it. A new train engine that cost a lot and is metal and looked study stopped the same day it was out of the packet.
As we renovated our house, my husband and I were surprised how cheap some things were at the huge megamart hardware stores that are everywhere, but once we got things home they’d break or fall apart or not fit together properly or bend or just not be strong enough for the job.
We’ve gone through a number of things like microwave, kettle, toaster, rice cooker and vacuum cleaner in recent years. They’re cheap to buy except that they don’t work for very long and the companies don’t want to know about fixing them and if you ring for spare parts you don’t get much help either.
The cost of stuff has come down, but at what cost to the quality?