On my return from a free swim at our local leisure centre (ref recent blog http://bit.ly/1rFL6t0 ) I walked past a parked domestic appliances van. On the door it offered ‘peace of mind ‘ (for the price of a 2 or 5 year guarantee).
Companies have long known that people will pay for ‘peace of mind’ and they play on the opposite – anxiety about problems that might arise (but in reality may be very unlikely).
Only now are people waking up to the fact that paying for central heating breakdowns as/when they happen is usually cheaper than buying an annual care package. The exception to this might be our gas boiler which was installed over 20 years ago but has since been fitted with so many new parts – ‘for free’ under an annual care package – that it behaves like a young teenager (no jokes please about it going out at night and being slow to get started in the morning…)
I still remember when, 20 years ago, we went to buy a video player with our 3 year old daughter. The shop tried to persuade us to buy their now much-criticised ‘extended warranty’. Even now I can hear the salesman’s pitch “Imagine what would happen if your daughter posted a slice of buttered toast in the slot for videos …” It didn’t persuade us.
I’ve been thinking a lot about built-in obsolescence recently because we had our fourth Royston Repair Cafe last weekend. It was another great success in the fight against consumerism and encouragement to buy new rather than repair and re-use. To see what we got up to, go to www.facebook.com/RoystonRepairCafe.
Of course in reality we can never buy peace of mind; if it isn’t a domestic appliance breakdown, we’ll find other things to worry about. For me, peace of mind comes from feeling as though I’m in control – building mindfulness into my daily routines, ensuring I’m not instantly contactable for much of the day, and communicating as clearly and honestly as I can with those around me.