Posts Tagged ‘age’


The Long Haul

   Posted by: Michael Bernier   in Today's Reality, Yesterday's Memories

Have you ever bought or been given something years ago, and one day suddenly realize you’ve owned it longer than your children have been alive? I don’t mean an engagement ring or old photographs; those are too obvious. I’m talking about some other item that, say, you picked up while shopping one day, and probably used it at least from time to time over the years since without realizing its age.

I came to one of those realizations late last week, when I mailed off a Cross® pen to be repaired. The cap was broken, and under their lifetime warranty all I had to do was send it to them with a shipping and handling charge of $10, and they’d either fix it or replace it. That’s a great deal, considering the cost of a new one like it is over $50.

As I left the post office after mailing my package off to Rhode Island (where Cross is headquartered), I added up the costs –$10 for them to service it, plus the postage to mail it. Not bad, I thought, for a pen that I had paid only…wait…when did I buy that thing? It had to be the mid-1980’s. That makes it about 25 years old! My daughter is 19, so I’ve owned and used that same pen longer than she’s been alive.

What a concept: having something that actually lasts for years and years, rather than being disposable like most of the world has become. When it runs out of ink, you don’t have to throw it away — just pop in a new refill and keep on writing! There’s no telling how many times I’ve used that pen, how many words I’ve written or how many documents I’ve signed with it. Miles and miles of writing, to be sure.

I started looking around the house and found a number of things that I’ve owned and used for many years. I might not have the fanciest, the prettiest, or the most modern printer for my computer, but it’s still doing its job long after several of its younger and prettier “replacements” have bitten the dust. I have several mechanical watches that would be considered “vintage” but still run smoothly many years after their cheaper quartz cousins have broken and been thrown away. Even my cell phone isn’t the most current model, but it’s survived more punishment than some newer ones I’ve had. These items all have one thing in common: each one was built to last, unlike newer products that seem designed to break down as soon as their warranties expire.

Will we ever get back to those days where the quality of the things we buy starts getting better again, or will we continue on the downhill slide and watch as the quality gets even worse than it is today?

I don’t know for sure, but I’m definitely going to hang on to that pen for as long as I can!