Caveat Emptor = Let the Buyer Beware

That is what the Romans already said and used as basis for judging legal fights over faulty products or services. The Seller can promise you fantastic things, but in the end if you bought the fairytale of the advertisement it is your own choice.

I may be an old man complaining but yes I am really surprised how much rubbish is offered in stores and on TV. Stuff I would not even want to have as a free present. Well sometimes you discover later that ven sturdy stuff has flaws built in that limit the lifetime of some tool. Like for instance a saw on a long stick with a hook at the end. On the photo you can see that the left one is broken off through the hole in it.

Gebroken zaag

Put there to be able to hang the saw on a nail in the wall (I think nobody does).  That hole could have been anywhere in the blade, so it was placed there on purpose to let it break under presure from hooking a half sawed branch.  Are we being fucked by Producers who are only interested to sell more products to silly passive Consumers? Are the Emptors staying passive forever?  I doubt it. Not in the transparent Connected Economy of 2013.

Another example: My mother nearly each day skinned patato’s with a little knife which had a wooden (patato colored) handle. About each week she lost a knife in the skins she threw in the rubbish bin and send me to buy a new one. Was this just a coincidence (wood = patato color) or was this done on purpose since these knifes sold very well?

My feeling is that the disregard for consumers was (is?) a structural attitude of industrial enterpreneurs. For example The Philips Electronics company in the Netherlands decades ago had special companies with other brand names for lesser quality consumer electronics stuff like gramophones and radio’s. If such a device broke down, within the guarantee time, consumers could send it to the factory for repair.  Standard practice was then (1) to send it back to the complaining customer without having even looked at the product. A high percentage of devices miraculously did work again after such round-trip, because vibrations may have awoken connections or radiotubes. If not or after a while it stopped again they (2) opened the device at the factory and replaced the most expensive component(s). Yes miraculously another high percentage worked aften that treatment and payment of the bill. If the small percentage of stubborn customers insisted on repair after these two first treatments they (3) at the factory opened and really used measurement equipment and trained staff to make real repairs. Lesson of this story: manufacturers did not want to see their products back after the sales and delivery was made. Most products where not made to be repaired but to be thrown away and replaced by a new product.

fresh consumer

That is going to change in the sustainable & sharing economy . And the Emptors will change into network empowered Prosumers who want quality stuff.  Now: let the Producer Beware too.


Jaap van Till connectivist

About broodjejaap

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One Response to Caveat Emptor = Let the Buyer Beware

  1. kwalitisme says:

    Reblogged this on kwalitisme and commented:
    Sorry Jaap, I don’t agree this time 😉 It will take decades, at least 4 to 5, before anything will change. Look at what’s happening right now: all kinds of gadgets (your smartphone or tablet for instance) are build in such a way that they almost cannot be repaired and have a lifespan of appr 2 years. Prosuming won’t change it: we will print via 3D printers all sort of things we don’t really need, and because it’s such a simple proces, replace them as soon as the bore us. The digitizing of our society will only lead to quantity, not quality. Producers (those who are the first to use new techniques like 3D printing) will produce more of things of which the lifespan will decrease rapid. The throw-away after use society is more close than you can imagine 😉

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