It is no exaggeration to say that we live in a perpetual throw-away culture where hardly anything is kept long term and everything is manufactured cheaper and cheaper. What are the root causes of this major problem?
There are several reasons why society is producing much cheaper quality items in general. However, the main reason why there are so may junky products is simply because consumers are willing to buy them.
This may seem simplistic but companies are money-making machines looking for maximum profits. Currently, the most lucrative business model is to simply produce mediocre products counting on the fact that most shoppers are emotional buyers. Then, when the product breaks, those same gullible people will simply go back and buy the same or similar quality product to replace it.
One way to think of the problem is that we as consumers are simply not demanding better quality. Instead, most look for products that will just fix or help them short-term. If the majority of consumers demanded quality and durability, producers would make it.
Buy, Sell, Throw Away, Repeat..
Don’t think its just your problem that you end up throwing away so many of the Christmas gifts you got from last year. The average American tosses 4.4 pounds of trash every single day. That equals to 728,000 tons of garbage daily, how many useless broken cheap products do you think are part of that equation? I am sure many.
We are all in a cycle of buy-sell and buy again, it’s a never-ending problem. Our desires are fickle and we are not thinking of what will endure.
It may shock you to know that many of those products you return to stores are simply thrown away and not used (You can read the article here on NPR on this).
A Throw-Away Culture
Americans throw away 151 million phones per year, that statistic might hit closer to home for you as you read this. Of course, we all need to upgrade and maintain products that enhance and help our life but how do we minimize investing in cheaper products that require us to upgrade sooner.
This is one of the reasons for this website “WellRigged” starting. The goal is toto shift consumer mindsets toward considering the overall benefits of strong, long-lasting products.
5 Ways to Avoid Poor Quality Products:
1. Cheap products are Cheaply Made. Do Your Research!
The problem is not “made in China” products, rather the problem is not doing research to see what has good reviews and what products are actually durable and long-lasting.
Though this can take a lot of research, time, effort, in the end, you will save yourself plenty of hastle with constantly broken, cheap products.
If one would estimate the cost to buy and re-buy cheap products you have to replace, compared to a long-lasting product, often you will see significant savings. Being frugal can sometimes mean buying the best.
2. Buy Locally From Experts
This is an overlooked tip but there are many local experts in different fields that make very durable long-lasting products. The price would be higher but in the end, you would benefit.
A small example and an obvious one is the quality wood craftsmanship of Amish people in America. If you can find a local Amish store sometimes you can get great quality products hand-made carefully that will last.
Look for someone who works exclusively in a field and you will usually find someone who makes a quality product or knows and uses the quality product that works. An example of this is a plumber that has been in the business for 20 years, he understands for instance that a certain flange or item simply will wear out faster, therefore ask local experts for their recommendations.
3. Buy Life-Time Guaranteed Products
Of course, there are those who offer a “lifetime” warranty as a gimmick to sell, but many companies that offer this are actually quite serious and will definitely help replace the product if there is any failure ever! (Here’s a huge list of companies that offer Lifetime Warranties).
The cost again might be significantly higher to buy products of this echelon but the reward will outward the cons. Think of many products you buy if you could have a lifetime warranty on them, what a relief and security!
Don’t be scared to contact the Brand or reseller to ensure their guarantee is true and there are not major exceptions to the rule. Remember you are the customer and they are serving you.
4. Utilize Blogs and Experts
It can be daunting for anyone to do the significant amount of research and time taken to ensure you are buying products that will last. Utilize non-spammy blogs, with genuine hands-on reviews.
Blogs like this one and others do a lot of the work to sift out all the junk and leave you with solid shortlists of brands and products worth looking at
Online experts are another important field of opportunity that you need to utilize to ensure you are finding the top quality products in each different field or product category. It is a major lifestyle change but make it slowly. Tackle each area of your life such as: Electronics, then Tools, then Home Life (Kitchen items).
Also, share your findings with others. We can become experts simply by living with a product for 10 years and sharing our experience with durable and long-lasting products. Don’t overlook asking friends for solid product recommendations.
5. Start Somewhere
Life changes take time, bad habits take 28 days to break or longer if have done it for a long time. Take it slowly but make good choices as you progress. We hope this blog, Living Durable, might help you make your first major change into a product that will last, once you make the change that you are happy with, tell others. To break a bad habit of spending money on cheap products takes willpower but also telling others of your good intentions can help you solidify this new practice.
Pass on this ethic to your children. We are raising children in a throw-away culture with cheaply made products, use every example you can to show them how to navigate this and enjoy things that are well built and made to last.
Need somewhere to start? Read this post with a huge list of high-quality brands with lifetime warranties.