Spare Parts and Consumer Choice
How many of you people reading this are holding in their lofts or in their under stair cupboards, garden sheds, outdoor lockers; several crates-worth of accessories, fitments, plugs, sockets, adaptors, connectors, cards, chips, cables, and so on; all of which fit for the most part a single piece of hardware only; and none of which you feel you can part with ‘just in case’? Just in case that particular piece of hardware to which just a particular one of your assorted junk fits, suddenly requires, as IT and its devices so often do suddenly require, a new fitting or soforth etc, etc?
Hence each of us holds stores of what is for 99.9% of the time sheer junk; and we hold it for the sake of that 0.1% of the time items amongst this junk might suddenly leap to life and become useful.
The reason why there is this massive waste and overproduction and overconsumption, this throwing away of scarce resources and why there is this general running through earth’s treasures like a Californian wildfire; is simple – we as a race are happy to put up with it. Manufacturers, in electricals, IT, and such, are generally well-known global brand names, and they desire to diversify all these peripherals so as to a) tie in their customers, those consumers who have bought such a Branded device item, so that these consumers are thus constrained, compelled to buy the same Branded peripherals for that device item, and which often arise as being necessary purchases during such an item of goods’ lifetime; and b) this specialisation and diversification, being all to no greater-good utilitarian purpose, does allow Brands to ramp up prices for their peripherals, since only a single particular Brand makes them and since only that particular Branded item fits your same Branded device.
You might shout out, if you are a boss at such a Brand’s company; that indeed there are manufacturers, and sometimes, maybe often, manufacturers who are infringing the Intellectual Property Rights of the big Brands: maybe in China, maybe down the road in backstreet Harlem or Queens, and then you may go on to say that there are alternatives provided by the copiers and imitator factories, illicit or otherwise. As a boss at a big Brand you might decry this copying; yet will you not let have the crumbs even the dogs who scavenge those which fall to the ground from your table. And were you not to charge so very outrageous prices for bits and pieces you make and sell to fit your products; then perhaps you might be able to compete, and more fairly with such ‘scavengers’?
In the main it is overwhelmingly advantageous to any Branded manufacturer for it to particularise and to design, and then to register as a protected design, each its own particular peripherals, unfit for anyone else’s stuff. In the main it is utterly disadvantageous to the consumer customer for her or him to sustain the price costs and quantities of pecuniary attrition which these kinds of Brand owner policies and strategies give rise to. It is a seller’s marketplace; and the buyer consumers are taken for a ride and exploited.
God forbid that say Sony should sell something which fits, say, Apple! The world would self-destruct and Doomsday would be here! No, the attitude is belligerence; Sony towards Apple and Apple towards Sony; and never the twain shall accord. And this is because each Brand says to the others and to itself in the marketplace ‘I…I…I…I.., no-one but I – I want the BIGGEST piece of cake! ALL the cake!
The iniquity goes deeper. One is more often than not compelled even for two or more discrete product items, coming from the same Brand, say for two or three adaptors, which connect to different devices, to buy them separately because buying one adaptor only to use intermittently on all three devices of the Brand that you possess is not possible. This is not possible because each discrete device type even though all devices being from the same Brand will often require its own specialised adaptor: regardless; and even when the amperes watts polarities are identical. This is vicious. Yet we put up with it
We put up with it because we are powerless in these matters. We have in common accord thrown our lots in irrevocably with IT and electronics, telecoms and smart devices, and we cannot now function without having these devices functioning. We have no idea how they work; we could never hope ourselves to build or to replicate from scratch – I am not talking about bolt on of parts – any of their intricate and high-spec technologies – these Branded companies have us in the palms of their hands.
To be continued...
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