Thursday, September 18, 2014
Planned Obsolesence! A short rant
Sometimes I think it's a curse that I was born in the 1950's when there was optomisim about a better future for all, good manners were in style, people took pride in their work, products were made to last, customer service meant realizing that without satisfied customers businesses couldn't survive, neighbors looked out for one another, the majority of children respected and listened to their parents (at least most of the time), teachers taught rather than babysitting or referring, and I could go on and on. You get the gist. I've been annoyed about a lot of things lately and tonight's "chat" with Amazon is just one more thing I wish I hadn't bothered with. 2011 when the new Kindle Fire came out, my husband bought me one for Christmas. I'd been resisting the e-reader trend because I love books - real ones made with paper that you can carry anywhere and can leaf through to again find that passage that really hit home. But my husband thought the Kindle would be nice for me and would cut down on the number of books I carry into the house. We got the charger too and a nice case but things didn't go as we'd expected. Mostly, I don't like reading on the screen and books kept coming into the house. I read some things on the Kindle, of course, but found using it for e-mail was a joke. Mostly I've used it to entertain myself with solitare and such while watching TV. I can't just sit there and stare at the screen so I'm always doing something - crochet, crazy quilt, or Kindle games. But my Kindle stopped charging, just gave me a low battery message. Tonight I finally got around to contacting Amazon because I wanted to get a replacement battery. I saw them listed but wanted to be certain to get the right one. And I couldn't figure out how the Kindle opened to check the battery. So I had a long typed chat with an Amazon rep. I learned that the replacement batteries are from 3rd party sellers and not recommended by Amazon since they could damage the device. Further, I was told that Amazon doesn't replace the batteries but offers customers in my position an opportunity to purchase another device, "even an upgrade" I was told, at a discount with the agreement that the old device is returned to them in 30 days. So, I asked, any device you sell me will have a limited life span? Yes, but you get a full one year warrenty. I was given some options. The ones closest to what I presently have were refurbished models (but I thought the batteries can't be replaced?) at around $100 or more. Now think of it, let's approximate that at the cheapest level that's about $10/month for only one guarenteed year to read and play games on an electronic device. Is it really worth it? I'm not so certain it is. I can play games on my PC or laptop and even read on them if I so desire. I went back and looked up the original price of my Kindle Fire - $199 plus shipping. At not quite 3 years it appears to have cost me a little over $6/month. Maybe all thing considered that's cheap entertainment?