Last Wednesday I went to a Fry’s Electronics store. Why did I go to this store? My 4th pair of Bob Marley earbuds had broken, not due to abuse or mistreatment but because of an unsoldering of the cable to the driver. In layman terms, they did a bad job manufacturing the earbuds.
Now if you know me at all, you know I love listening to music and I do it frequently. Not a day goes by without my mom screaming at me trying to get my attention because I am listening to my earbuds. I also like my sound quality high, and the Bob Marley headphones do it well with a great bass response, noise isolation and a comfortable fit in my ear.
However, I am listening to my 5th pair of these earbuds. The first pair I accidentally washed and I lost them. The second pair I bought off Ebay and the left earbud did not work. The third pair I bought at Fry’s and stopped working in both earbuds spontaneously. The fourth pair did the same, however in shorter time. I am now listening to Miles Davis on my 5th pair of headphones.
There is a term for this which I learned called planned obsolescence which means that a product is purposefully made cheaply to ensure the consumer continues to buy it. In the case of Bob Marley headphones, this is true.
Bob Marley (whose music I do not like, I just like his headphones) has posthumously taken $150 from me. So why do companies still do this?
A point which was brought up by the Zeitgiest Movement, a utopian activist group, says that the more effective way of using resources would be to make the products better as to not waste anything.
Bob Marley’s House Of Marley headphones proudly push the fact that they use renewable wood in the headphones. However, if they had just made a pair of earbuds that lasted longer than a year, I wouldn’t have used up more wood than I intended.
If Bob Marley was alive, would he have wanted to make and sell these cheaply made headphones? I think not, as he would have rather just enjoyed music and not rip people off.
For the producer, this planned obsolescence plan seems to work great. But for me, the consumer, this is living hell. 2 headphones in a year, ok sure. 3 headphones in a year, ok maybe. 4 headphones in a year, ok a little overboard. But 5 headphones in a year? Welcome to America.