With the prospect of some warmer weather, global warming or not, it was time to buy a couple of new fans. It came out of the box not as a whole but as a basic part with bits to be added, not quite DIY but some work to be done.
Why was this? It may be that because it was made in the
Far East to avoid EU or other tariffs
or quotas on whole products it was packaged as unfinished. But it was suggested that as the package for
a whole item would have been twice the size of one reduced to major parts then
you could get twice as many in the container.
Either or both of these would impact on price, perhaps significantly. It was the price that made me think however. Back in 1962 we bought a premium grade fan, one that had options in the controls. The cash price, repeat cash price, of that was a little more than the one we bought today.
Certainly, the 1962 fan was more strongly built and largely metal. But in terms of options and performance the 2013 one was much the same, only much quieter able to oscillate and using less electricity to power it. Also, we bought a couple of other things and again the price of those in cash equated to that of the long past.
The items bought in the past would not have been imported but from factories not far away and with local distribution systems to bring them to the retailer. The fans bought today have come thousands of miles and required complex distribution.
There is a general problem with trying to compare prices and performance with the past. When The Flying Shed is serviced annually, we have a courtesy car. This is a small, bottom of the range cheap machine in today’s terms. It costs thousands, however, as opposed to the hundreds of pounds of those long ago.
The thing is that the cheap cars of today in terms of comfort, performance, capability and extras are roughly equivalent to the very expensive limousines of forty to fifty years ago or those snazzy sports cars that cost a great deal and we could only envy.
It is not always “better” however. The environmental and ecological rules of today have meant that whilst washing machines are still relatively cheap and with many more options, in terms of actual time and efficiency you can find yourself with one that does not really do the wash in the time and how you might want it to be done.
The other problem today is that a great many of the bits of kit which we now are told are necessary are far more complicated and with functions and parts which may never be used and may not even be wanted. But to get a simple and cheap article for basic functions is now becoming almost an impossible dream.
There was an old song way back from the musical “Pal Joey” in 1940 called “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” which sums it up. It is probably out there on CD somewhere but maybe not on DVD or Blueray. It seems to be on MP3 but what on earth is that?
Thank goodness the Ella Fitzgerald version is on Youtube.