In part two we look at other convenience items that we use.
Image courtesy of Ragesoss / Wikipedia
Let’s take as an example the simple act of washing dishes. You can boil a kettle or run the hot water service, fill up the sink and squirt in some detergent – simple?
Or you can buy a dishwasher, have it installed, pay for the electricity and water to run it, and buy the specially formulated products to use in it.
In the early days of dishwashers you used to buy a simple powder detergent and maybe a rinse aid to stop streaking. Then they introduced a specially formulated liquid detergent, followed by a newer better one that comes in a tablet form, then a ‘power ball’ that releases cleanser and shiner and then micro-beads that soften the stains first.
Image courtesy of Piotrus / Wikipedia
The next breakthrough was a wrapper that dissolves so you don’t have to unwrap the detergent cubes. Now there’s one that boasts ten different ‘power actions’. One even boasts a new and improved formula that helps to dry the dishes quicker. Then of course there are dishwasher cleaners and dishwasher fresheners.
How much of this paraphernalia do we really need in order to wash a dish? And how much money are we willing to spend? It’s important for us to keep in mind that companies need to constantly find ways to boost their sales, but each time a product is improved or re-invented, the more money it takes out of our pockets.
Image courtesy of Daniel178 / Wikipedia
Let’s now use the example of the humble toothbrush. I keep wondering what new improvement they are going to make to this simple little device. While they have developed flexible handles, shaped bristles, tapered heads, rubber grips and so on, my father continues to use the original design, and at eighty-seven, still has a full set of good, healthy teeth.
Top Image courtesy of Jonas Bergsten. Bottom Image courtesy of Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikipedia
Although there are some convenience products that I use and recommend, I weigh up very carefully the cost of that convenience and the necessity of choosing it over a more basic product.
Is it more important to save the time and effort, or to save our money for more important pursuits?
A very thoughtful article - my dishwasher is my husband, using hot water and the kitchen sink, and the dishes so washed are either dried with a tea towel by me, or they are left to drain. That's as hi tech as it gets, and it works well for us!