Erasers Too?

Tonyo Melendez writes:

What’s happening to America? Years ago, I bought my first brand new American car. It came with a three-year warranty and it took me three years to pay it off. Then the car began to have problems. I told a friend of mine about it and he said, “It’s planned obsolescence.”
“What do you mean planned obsolescence?”
“The manufacturers build the car in such a way that it starts to break down just about the time you have finished paying for it.”
“You’re kidding?!”
“No, that’s what they do to get you to buy another new car.”
“But, that’s dishonest. This is America; the land of the good guys.”
“Not only that. Other manufacturers, seeing how well the car makers were doing, began building obsolescence in their products too.”
“Isn’t that a crime?”
“Apparently not. I don’t see anybody going to jail for it.”
“In Latin America, when I was a child, if you bought a bed, for example, you expected it to last a lifetime.”
“It used to be so here. But as you can see, things are changing.”

Things have changed for sure – for the worst.

Take erasers, for example. The makers of pencils purposely give you a bad eraser with your pencil. Either it is too soft and it breaks off, or it is too hard, which is why it doesn’t erase well. What it does very well is – it smudges. This the erasers do very well. So, what do you do? You go buy a box of erasers that do erase well. You put an eraser around the eraser that comes with your pencil and, voila! You have an eraser that works very well. Which makes you wonder: if they can make a good eraser, how come they don’t put a good one on the pencil to begin with?

There’s the rub.
They do it to force you to buy a box of erasers. This way, the manufacturers add millions of dollars to their coffers. Pretty good, huh? Everybody’s happy. Especially the manufacturers, right? It’s the American Way.

Well, no. Millions upon millions of dollars selling erasers to the unsuspecting public is not good enough for them. Now, they build obsolescence in the eraser that goes around the bad eraser they give you with your pencil. They make the hole of the eraser too small, and/or the eraser too soft so that after a couple of days, the base of the eraser breaks. You try to live with this for a while, since you just got the new eraser to solve the problem of the bad eraser. Something in you tells you that you have to hang in there with the new eraser. I think it’s a matter of pride. You already feel bad that you bought a pencil with a bad eraser and thought you had made up for the mistake by getting the new eraser. Your ego gets in the way. You can’t possibly make two mistakes with one little eraser. You’re not that dumb.

Actually, you are dumber.

You now try to come up with ways to make the eraser work. You might even tape it around the original bad eraser in hopes that that will do the trick. But it won’t. The new eraser will rip more and more and fall and fall off the pencil, time and time again. Now you are spending your time finding the eraser. Every time it falls, it seems to roll under impossible places to get to – if you can find it all. It usually falls off in the middle of your writing something really wonderful. You were so excited about your writing that in your haste to get this wonderful idea down, you made a mistake and had to use the eraser. And off course, it fell off. This should be called Genius Obsolescence. If only they could use their genius to create something that works! But that’s not the American Way, is it? No, that’s the Japanese Way. Which is why Americans are buying Toyotas instead of Chevys.

I ask the students of America to stop buying pencils until the manufacturers have the decency to put a good eraser on their pencils. As we know they can.

What do you think? Shall we?

Let’s hit them where it hurts – their profits!

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