Round Pegs In Round Holes

For a nearly sixty year old lady with a budget of injuries I am still kicking pretty severe ass (sometime soon I will tell you about yesterday’s bravura half hour kettlebell workout), but I become intellectually conscious of my age when I find myself commiserating with a contemporary about how nothing is made to last any more. Hell, nothing is even made to WORK any more.

I have upstairs the corpse of a KLH FM radio  KLHTwentyOne21RadioFrontpresented to my father on his retirement in 1968 from the United States Army Band. It died last year. You do the math. I hate to even think of how many stereo-player type outfits I have owned since my marriage in 1989.

Actually the thing that set off this contemplation was a discussion of washing machines  with a longtime client. I believe I have said something elsewhere about the top of the line LG electronics piece of shit that is the most expensive washer I ever owned. If you are a massage therapist and wash four or five sets of sheets a day you develop a washing machine fetish. This was my third since moving in here in 1995 (again, do the math, I can age a washer three times as fast as a normal person) and it has been nothing but a trial since I bought it late in 2010. It cultivates a festering stench that crept upon my clothes before I knew what was happening (the massage sheets, washed in the “extra hot with steam” cycle, escaped unscathed). Bleach, orange oil, something called “Smelly Washer”, nothing really gets it out, I have had front loaders before but never had to deal with jock odor from them. The engineering of the soap and bleach reservoirs is so ill thought out that I have ruined three pairs of trousers with Clorox while loading the thing. Oh, and they leak, so the housing of the appliance is already bubbled and streaked with rust.

But you know, the biggest disappointment in my recent life has been the peg board.

When I was a sprout my father bought a piece of peg-board and anchored it to the studs in the kitchen wall. You could buy peg-hooks of various configurations — straight, curved, small, large — and situate them on the board with a ductile little top hook, then fixate them with a bottom peg that was just flared enough to “pop” through the holes in the board but not pop out again unless you exerted some force. It worked a treat. For a hundred years, or however long it took me to get out of that place anyway.

Fast forward to a couple years ago. The Cute Engineer and I go to Home Depot, have some board cut, and buy a couple of kits of assorted pegs. He mounts the board on the kitchen wall, loving his cordless tool kit as he does. I go to work situating pegs. I find that they do not anchor properly in the board; either the flare part of the peg is actually too large to fit in the holes, or the hook has no real bottom peg at all and is meant to be anchored by a little plastic thingie that pops through the adjacent holes. Rotsa ruck. Every second or third time you take a pot or pan down from this thing, the plastic harness flies out and the hook, most times, falls to the floor. If you have a painful, injured hip as I have had since 2012, this is a particular nuisance.

Apparently the rule in the 21st century is that you make stuff that people will buy on the claim that it works. You don’t bother to actually make sure that it DOES work. And if it doesn’t, there’s no obvious way to do anything about it. We can’t even get round pegs that fit in round holes any more.

We are in the End Times. Get off my lawn.


4 thoughts on “Round Pegs In Round Holes

  1. The washing machine in my apartment lasted exactly 3 years before conking out. Somehow the landlady wanted to blame this on me until she realised she was sounding like an idiot. I only do about 4 loads a week.

    • I can do that in a day sometimes. I also note that the gizmo where you take out accumulated lint and clear the line if it won’t drain is so situated that there is no room to place anything to catch the water that glurts out. All over the floor. Unless you buy the optional “pedestal” $$$$$$.

  2. Let me explain capitalism to you.

    It is said that capitalism encourages innovation. I’m still trying to figure this one out. If I design a super hot machine, with all the features that technology allows, then I will have nothing to add next year, and thus nothing to sell you. I will be out of business. All I really must do is have just that one nice feature that my competitor doesn’t have yet (even though you will likely never use it) and I’ve just sold you the best machine on the market. Next year, you will want to buy again because I will have one more feature, that my competitor will not have.

    Please, tell me, why would I want to sell you something that lasts 30 years? If I did that, I’d be out of business after just a few years. Once you have it, you don’t need to buy any more. I must make it so it will last 2-3 years, which you believe is about right, and it’s still about 6-8 months longer than my competitor.

    I can’t believe the phone market. Nearly all of my employees were born after 1990. They all have a phone, and never one that is more than 6 month old. Because you know, they just released a phone with a higher resolution display. It has 10 more pixels vertically. Here is what a recent conversation with one of my employee sounded like:

    — Jeez, I need a new phone. Can’t wait for my contract to end to get a new one.
    — Did you break your phone?
    — No no, but it’s sooo slooow!
    — How long have you had it?
    — Four months.
    — Huh? Are there any newer apps that won’t work on it anymore?
    — No no, I have the same apps since November and they all work fine. But they’re slow.
    — Slower than when you bought the phone? How much faster are the new phones?
    — Look, look at this. Check this. See that? It takes nearly five seconds to open this app. My brother has the newer model. He has the same app. I timed it, and it took just under four second to open. You get it? It’s reeaaally slow. Jeez, by the time I get the notification that a new video was posted, there are already four comments on it.
    — Why can’t you buy it now?
    — My contract says I can only change my phone every six months. I have to wait or I will have to pay for it. At the end of my six months, I will have it for free.
    — For free? Really? How much do you pay for your plan?
    — Not that much, because I didn’t take long distance option and I only need 2 GB of data per month. I really only pay $85 a month, that’s a bargain.
    — Oh and you got that phone for free, right?

    Yes I exaggerated a bit. But really, just very slightly. At least, it sounded about like that to me.

  3. We used to make fun of planned obsolescence when I was a tiny little Flexible Flyer, but now we have things that are obsolete before they go into service because they don’t f**king work to being with. I give up!!!!

    And I still have a “dumb phone” that only sends text messages and takes calls. When I remember to keep it charged up.

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