Did you just glance at your printer? Your kid's sweatshirt that shrunk faster than Ron Jeremy diving into the Arctic Ocean? The blow dryer that you stare dumbly at as your thumb moves the little switch up, down, up, down, and nothing happens?
Here's an article that matches my mood about such things. How we've all been seduced with the 'of course you can all have everything' mentality when it comes to consumer goods. i was hoping it would flinch a little and discuss our ridiculous 'want' versus 'need' confusion, but apparently that horse has disappeared in a cloud of dust.
Remember when you could pay more, and get more? Remember Braun applicances? Household stuff - blenders, blow dryers, food processors, etc - they had a 3 year warranty. I worked at Consumers Distributing for most of a decade (I know, I know. The stories I could tell...), and I got to see first hand the true test of You Get What You Pay For. You buy cheap crap, you get cheap crap. Invest a little up front, your grandkids will be fighting over who gets it.
But things have changed. I don't go looking for the cheapest TV or computer. I want the best, for a fair price. But the band has become not just narrow, but opaque. Several brands made by one manufacturer masquerading as 'different'. Goods that explode one day before the warranty expires, or more often, one day after.
My current teeth gnashing feud is going on with Cogeco. I have a modem. It is a piece of crap. I should rename if Piece of Crap with that trademark circle thingee after it. It should never be referred to as anything other than Piece of Crap. It is my second piece of crap.
Here's how it (doesn't) work: My internet keeps pooping out. It takes the phone with it, because it's all connected by Wall Magic, or whatever makes the things in my house operate. We keep resetting the modem. And resetting and resetting. I call for tech support, because even my wee fuzzy brain knows that paying 200 bucks a month should mean I don't have to keep resetting the modem. They send out a tech. I am not home, so Superchild #1 gets up. Tech informs him that the signal is fine, it's the garbage modems that don't work. Tells him to just keep resetting it. Superchild #1, believing this to be a fair and reasonable answer for 200 bucks a month (that obviously aren't his), let's him go. Opens the trap and lets the tech go. Superchild #1 now has two places to poop from.
I call back. Some squirrelly phone rep informs me there is no possible way their modems could be inferior. Just no way. He doesn't know what the tech was talking about. Let me tell you something: I will take a guy in a tool belt who knows his way around a pair of wire snips over a doofus sitting at a desk sipping a Snapple while he tells me I'm an idiot.
I demand another tech, which is like a demanding a recount even though you know you won and shouldn't have to prove it. Tech #2 shows up, and laments that the modems are crap. In a court of law, I would call this a smoking gun. I could convince a jury of my internet-deprived peers that Cogeco is shilling shoddy modems. I know I could. Tech #2 replaces Modem #1 anyway, but with the same piece of crap. They must have gotten a hell of a deal on them, because it's all they have. If you have Cogeco, look down. We have the same modem. I bet they bought all of them that were ever produced. I bet there was a huge garage sale in China, and Cogeco got up early and went over in their station wagon and said "we'll give you a hundred bucks for all of 'em. Take it or leave it." And I believe China yelled 'deal!' as they started loading 3 million crappy modems into the Woody.
Tech #2 had been gone a day. Modem crapped out. Having no energy to fight this fight again, I sighed. Then I discovered yesterday that my phone had been out for over a day. I didn't notice; I don't like phones. But people started calling on my cell phone, wondering if I'd finally made good on my oft-made promise to sell the house and leave no forwarding address. I called Cogeco to fix the phone. Snappleman got it going, all the while telling me it wasn't their fault. Sure it isn't. That's why when you flicked something on your motherboard behind the big curtain, it started working again. "Are you calling me on your cellphone?" asked Snappleman. No, my not-working home phone, genius. I told him to look up sarcasm. I made an offhand comment about the crappy modems. "Oh, no, our modems are fine," he assured me. "No, they are not. But I'm too tired to have that talk with you. Drink your Snapple," I told him.
Here's the thing: I keep threatening to go back to Bell or Sympatico, but they all suck. And they all know they suck. And I have this piece of crap modem parked on my computer that I know is crap, and they know is crap, and they know I know is crap. We accept lousy stuff because we are tired. I am too defeated to chase that bear up the mountain every damned day. I am reduced to living for moments when people agree that stuff is lousy. I will willingly and enthusiastically buy good quality merchandise when someone can prove to me it is truly better. I despise shopping; I prefer to buy things *once*. I hate waiting for Snapple-drinking deniers to schedule in techs who show up sometime between 8 and 6. The techs don't deserve the abuse that gets heaped on them, and companies have an obligation to provide decent, reliable products and service when they're charging top buck.
I've actually started to like these modems. It's the only time my sons emerge from their rooms. I don't call them to dinner anymore. I just disconnect the modem. In tandem, I hear two chairs wheel back, and large feet come thundering down the stairs. Cogeco has brought my family closer together, by removing reliable internet access from us.