It will probably not come as a shock to many of you, but I’m pretty hard on things. I’m hard on things like cars, phones, appliances, vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers, and shoes. It’s not that I go out of my way to rough up these things; I’m just more accident-prone than most. When I make a purchase, I buy for quality, not style or trendiness. I also buy things that have a reputation for being “bomb-proof.” My darling husband gets a lot of mileage from my innate ability to destroy cars, phones, and vacuum cleaners. Often when I am still lamenting over one mishap or another, he will flex his muscles like The Incredible Hulk and yell, “Teenie SMASH!” in his poor imitation voice of The Incredible Hulk. Sigh, he’s really hard to like sometimes.
Take, for example, my phone. The last two or three phones I have had are military-grade, dust-proof, water-proof, bomb-proof heavy clunkers that weigh like ten pounds and are virtually indestructible. Eric and I are both fans of these Blackwell phones because they withstand our rugged lifestyle and non-delicate treatment. The Blackwells have decent cameras, but most importantly, they are tough. Although eventually, they succumb to our rough treatment, we get a longer life from them than all other phones we’ve had. I’ve been very impressed with these large, chunky, heavy-duty phones. They have worked well for us until they didn’t.
A few months ago, our military-grade phones became obsolete, and Verizon, our carrier, made them incompatible with their 5G service. I have yet to forgive Verizon for this trespass. I fought, making a change with all my might. I put up with abysmal service, not being able to send texts and make calls from home, and tried to update my SIM card. Finally, I admitted that my bomb-proof phone would no longer cut it and began phone shopping. I hate phone shopping. Phone shopping is right up there with car, shoe, and appliance shopping.
You see, dear reader, when I find something I like, I stick with it. This should come as a huge relief for one bib overall wearing wonder buns. If I find shoes I love, I will buy a pair in every color and wear them until they fall apart or become overwrought with stinky foot odor…don’t judge. Appliances are the same. I find an industrial brand, and that becomes my go-to. I’m not as loyal to cars, but if I like them, I drive them until the wheels fall off. I’m not impressed with bells and whistles. I’m impressed with an item’s simplicity, quality, and sturdiness. The more high-tech an item, the more things there are to go wrong.
I had three sets of high-end, high-efficiency, tricked-out washers and dryers. Each of these sets lasted maybe five years. Five years of life for a washer and dryer are just ridiculous. However, that is our society. Manufacturers make disposable products. This practice sickens me. Not only are these large ticket items not made to last, but they end up in our landfills once they cease to be useful. It’s disgusting. Finally, after set number three died, the repairman offered sound advice. He told me to go to a little shop just outside of Indiana and purchase a restored top-loading washer from them. The gentleman who owns the store goes to auctions and estate sales, buying older model washers and dryers. The appliances he buys for resale must be manufactured within specific years because those washing machines are made of all stainless steel and metal. There is nothing plastic on them, and one can still get replacement parts for machines that are easy to repair. Does my “new” washer have ten wash settings, a steam setting, and chirps, sings, or talks? The answer is no. My “new” washer has three settings. It does one job, it cleans my clothes. I’ve had this refurbished washing machine for several years, and I have not needed to call the repairman once. Matthew from A+ Appliance gave me the best advice ever.
The appliances in the past were made for the long haul. We had a chest freezer that belonged to my parents when they lived in the house where I grew up. That chest freezer was almost thirty years old when it finally stopped working. The saying, “they don’t make things the way they used to make them,” is sadly accurate. This is also true for our cell phones. People spend small fortunes on the latest model with bells and whistles. New phones do almost everything for a person; sometimes, they even think more than the person who owns them. However, these new phones are obsolete in a year, and people are clamoring for the latest poorly made disposable electronics.
The Bibbed Wonder and I have not jumped on the Apple bandwagon. I refuse to support Apple for many reasons I won’t bore you with, just know it’s my personal choice and one I adhere to vehemently. If you are an Apple owner, I mean you no disrespect or disservice. It’s simply my personal preference. Much to my bean’s chagrin, I don’t allow her to buy an Apple phone either. We have had many discussions/debates over the pros/cons of Apple products. I made my case and left it up to her to research and check my facts. Like any kid, it means more to her if she comes to an understanding on her own. Lo and behold, her mom is not full of sh**, and my claims are correct. She is annoyed that I’m not full of nonsense and make-believe, but she has stopped asking for an Apple.
When I began phone shopping earnestly, I could not find a comparable military-grade phone. Instead, I went for something with cool photo effects and a high rating for a camera, long battery life, and a lot of storage. My new phone arrived last Friday. When I unboxed it, my first reaction was, “wow, this looks delicate.” The Bibbed Wonder wagered this phone would not last me a month before I did something damaging. My first mistake was not purchasing an Otterbox and screen protectors for this model when I ordered the phone. The Bibbed Wonder transferred all my data from my old phone to my new phone on Saturday morning. I took my new phone grocery shopping Saturday afternoon. In less than five hours, I dropped my new phone in the Giant Eagle parking lot and smashed the back of it. Five hours, dear reader, is a record for me and my smashing abilities.
To say I was disgusted is an understatement. I am disgusted that companies manufacture such blatantly substandard products and charge top dollar for them. I was disgusted with myself for being so careless and annoyed with my new record low in maintaining a new, expensive product. Not even The Bibbed Wonder found humor in my record time in destroying personal property. Sigh. The phone still works; it is just a spiderweb of cracked glass in the back. Who puts glass on the back of an object carried around in pockets and purses? The Bibbed Wonder was furious with the manufacturing practice and stated that it was the company’s goal to create something inadequate, so people have to buy new more often. I mostly roll my eyes when he goes on a conspiratorial tangent, but I feel he’s not wrong this time.
I immediately got online and ordered an Otterbox and screen protectors. I tried to find a silver lining and said I was happy it wasn’t the screen that had cracked, but it was a half-hearted attempt at positivity. My Otterbox and screen protectors arrived yesterday, and I wasted no time putting them into place. At least now, I can’t see the spiderweb of broken glass. Sigh.
The practice of making substandard products reinforces that this is not something I will ever partake in with my products. No matter the savings, cost-effectiveness, or ability to pump out thousands of defective products more easily, I will not compromise on quality or customer service. I believe that the market is already glutted with garbage products. If one wants garbage, one can easily go to any dollar-related store on any corner and stock up. My goal has always been to provide quality products made with integrity, kindness, and a conscience. Our ingredients are cruelty-free, safe, clean, locally sourced when available, and from family-owned suppliers. We love our animals, but we don’t use them. The girl’s excess milk is the only by-product we use. Providing customer service with care and integrity will always be our top priority. Our soap family takes care of us; the least we can do is return the favor.
Stay safe, be smart, be an intelligent, informed consumer, don’t fall for the disposable product practices that are bad for your wallet and your world, and keep washing your hands.