Now mister the day my number comes in I ain’t ever gonna ride in no used car again. Bruce Springsteen, “Used Cars”
The MacBook Pro on which I’m composing this post was bought from the Apple online store two and a half years ago, a refurbished model. After our coffeemaker died, rather than buy a new one we sent the old one back to be remanufactured for $75, shipping included.
And, of course, our “new” car is now eight years old.
If one thing has happened to us and people we know in the recent, long recession, it’s this: we no longer fetishize new things. In the 1980s, when Springsteen wrote the lyrics excerpted above, and earlier, the purchase of a new anything, but especially a new car, was a symbol of affluence, of making it. The hunger for the new led to planned obsolescence and a throwaway society.
It’s a bit of return to older values, I think, that more business will be associated with repair, refurbishment and other services intended to keep our things working longer, as opposed to stamping out millions of shiny new thingies that won’t last.
If that’s an outcome of the recent crisis, that’s OK with me.
Midlife crisis, 21st century style