Time to Upgrade?


Do you just have to have “it”? Your brand of choice has just unveiled the fastest, or smallest, or thinnest, or biggest version of their new smartphone. There’s now a 3-d version of the TV you want…or maybe it’s now 2 inches larger diagonally…or ¾ of an inch thinner than what is mounted on your wall right now.

Do you feel the need to upgrade?

Maybe you want a fridge that syncs up with your smartphone to tell you when you need milk, or you a dryer that will text you when the load of wash is done. Did you know that diapers have sensors in them now that can send a message to your smartphone to let you know when your child needs to be changed?

I’m not saying that you should deny yourself the things you need, but what I’m asking is do you need the things that you want? And what happens to your discarded products? Where do they end up? Can they be recycled? Or only parts of them? What happens to the rest? Do they end up in a landfill somewhere…or in a third world country somewhere and it becomes someone else’s problem?

There was an interesting documentary I saw some time ago about planned obsolescence and seems like now more than ever the plan is in full swing. Here’s the link if you are interested. http://archive.org/details/PlannedObsolescenceDocumentary

We have been conditioned to upgrade. There was a time when you bought a household appliance (including a TV) and you expected it to last…20, maybe 25 years. There was also a time when you tell if your child’s diaper needed to be changed by paying attention…do you really need an app for that

And there’s another part to this…how are you paying for everything? It’s so easy to upgrade by using credit isn’t it? It’s become the norm…new technology is considered a normal cost of living which can easily be purchased on credit with an interest rate of anywhere between 7% and 36%. So what is the true cost our needs? It doesn’t even need to be technology related…what about the clothes we wear, or the décor of our home? Do we feel the need to change and upgrade because of fashion trends?

Mary has asked that we think about all of these things….what is the cost to us personally, to the environment, even to our mental health? Just things to think about the next time we go shopping.

25 thoughts on “Time to Upgrade?

  1. A great thought. I think it is so true and we should all stop and think, just for a heart beat, and ask do I want this or do I need this? There is such a big different between the two and that can help guide you.

  2. Hello,
    I don’t have a thing for the latest tech gadgets per se, but I DO get conflicted when it comes to art supplies. I’d love to splurge and have fun playing with the latest trends, and collect various things like stencils, stamps, and more paint. But if anything, I normally use a coupon in order not to pay for the full price. And I don’t like spending more than half of my cash on hand–otherwise I’d feel guilty–and the rest is stashed away.

    BTW, your blog is distinct and has a good purpose; I think that the little description under the main site title “Just another WordPress.com site” is sort of understating it. I’m implying to perhaps shift it away from the default–but that’s your choice to make anyway.

  3. It’s true, we are conditioned to upgrade. Just watch the latest Sprint commercial. It was funny and cute but for most of us, we find excuses and silly reasons to justify our “need” to upgrade. It will never end as technology and market greed is constantly evolving. Thanks for this post:)

  4. What is the most alarming for me when it comes to this upgrading thing are the attitudes of children. I personally don’t buy new appliances as long as the old ones work, but while I worked at school, with 9-year olds, I was just terrified by their constant need to have new things. And I don’t think about pencil cases or backpacks, but of all those tablets, ipads and smartphones which they were bringing to school to spend all breaks looking in a monitor instead of interacting with one another.

  5. The upgrade compulsion has been carefully cultivated by various manufacturers and software developers as a marketing strategy. It works. We throw away billions of dollars of perfectly good consumer items, software, and electronics each year simply because another version has come out. It may not be what is wrong with our society but it is certainly a symptom. Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.

  6. A very nice article. We are currently upgrading our kitchen. I wanted to sell it on eBay. Not necessarily to make money, but so it did not end up in landfill. The end result was that someone paid money for it (more than we expected), we didn’t have to put it in a skip bin and it didn’t go into landfill. But renovating is a very wasteful thing…

    • That’s a great idea…when renovating if at all possible sell or pass along the old material. I think Habitat for Humanity has a resale store in some parts of the world.

      Thanks for sharing.

  7. This is a really great reminder. I have to admit that I get sucked into the “upgrade” culture on a lot of things but the practice of planned obsolescence really ticks me off. I try to remember the impact my actions have on the environment whenever I’m buying or throwing something away. But that’s not always enough to help me make some of those harder choices.

    • I know what you mean…I think the best thing to do is make your own plans for upgrading…do it at the point that makes sense to you as compared to the marketing…then find a new home for your old device so someone else can benefit from it for another few years.

  8. I feel the urge to downgrade. Downsize the amount of stuff we have so the things we keep matter. Also I find that refusing to buy into all this upgradable technology has shown me who my real friends are. Since they can’t smartphone me, they have to call or write. If that’s too much effort, then they aren’t a true friend.

  9. This has to be one of the (if not the) most pertinent issues we are facing to ensure the survival of our species and that of the planet. Not to mention the nurturing of our souls…

  10. I so agree. Sometime ago I wrote a similar post. The thing is, just don’t listen to all that garbage. It’s not too big of a problem for me because I love DIY. My home is filled with items I’ve re-purposed, re-claimed, or re-furbished. Oh, my goodness, just discovered a title for an upcoming post. 🙂 Oh, and thanks for the like at “theworminmyapple.com”. God bless

  11. Thank you for introducing me to your great thoughts by visiting my blog at xballerina. I completely agree, although I am guilty of the upgrade factor myself to some degree. I hate how everything is disposable these days. Really, why????? If we paid a little more for quality, but things actually lasted, we would save time and money. And one would think the financial crisis would have changed the debt issue somewhat, but it doesn’t seem to have as much as I expected. I’ll have to check out that documentary and will look forward to reading more here! Feel free to visit me again for positive, artistic, and nature related sights and thoughts. Cheers…

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