For those of us who have a little more than a bargain-hunting streak in us, seeking the best deal out of every cent spent has shed some light on a rather disturbing issue which should perhaps be more widely discussed. This is the practice of companies and businesses, particularly those which manufacture physical products or administer physical services, intentionally limiting the lifespan of the goods they sell and services they render. One of the best-documented examples of this practice is that of the light-bulb production industry. You can read about the Great Light Bulb Conspiracy and make up your own mind about the extent to which this is happening, but just looking around you reveals a disturbingly common practice reeking of so-called planned obsolescence.
Just think about anything – literally anything you’ve bought in recent years and its equivalent which you might have bought ten, twenty or more years ago. Simple doors look and feel much flimsier than those solid doors your grandfather had installed at his house; clothes aren’t quite as tough and durable as they used to be; and even the food you eat isn’t quite as wholesome and nutritious as it might have previously been. The industry which takes the cake however, with regards to planned obsolescence is indeed the consumer electronic goods industry. IT infrastructure at work is no longer repaired but rather replaced and just a few years ago you took your broken shoes to the cobbler for repairs, or you took your mobile phone to the local technician to get it back up and running if it broke. Nowadays you’d have a hard time finding an appropriate screwdriver to open up your Smartphone, which might even be subjected to a minor issue that could otherwise be fixed at a fraction of the cost.
Planned obsolescence is here to stay however, so the next best thing for you to do, if you still want to get full value for your money regardless, is to try and get as close as possible to the primary production line of said goods.
Undercutting the Retailer Mark-Up Costs on Stocking Costs
It will take some dedication and persistence, but you can eventually work your way to forming direct supplier-to-retailer channels with product manufacturers so that you can buy goods at much cheaper prices. Think selling stuff on Amazon or eBay; become a seller and order goods in bulk. This won’t only give you an opportunity to potentially make some good money on the side, but you also get direct access to a range of the latest products at retailer market value. Is there a better way than that to get your own back and salvage some of the value otherwise lost in the products’ intentionally limited lifespan?
Periodic Clearance Sales
Taking advantage of clearance sales is perhaps a better route to take since it doesn’t require you to suddenly become a retailer yourself, even if only as an online e-retailer. The festive season rush comes with crazy annual clearance sales like Black Friday which is a great way to stretch your pennies and in a sense gain more ground on the value otherwise lost through planned obsolescence. You should however pay special attention to those annual clearance sales which are in very close proximity with each other, such as Cyber Monday following Black Friday. Both discounts essentially bid to outdo each other and Cyber Monday doesn’t necessarily trump Black Friday, or vice-versa. You can get some really good deals during both discount bonanzas. If you’re particularly diligent in your participation of these crazy sales, you might even be able to take advantage of their extended days. The wee hours of the Saturday following Black Friday are particularly known to extend Black Friday if you browse through enough online retailers of some popular products you might want to buy, at a price that’s more in line with the value you think you should be getting for your money.