Saturday, January 27, 2007

Actually Works? - Too Square Daddio!

Seems I gave the secret away re my e-bay purchase. I didn’t even get the one I bid on but I am now the proud owner of a chrome-plated Dunlop tyre pressure gauge. It was made in England. It was made in the late 1960’s and it ACTUALLY WORKS. Not only does it work but it will probably work in 100 years time if it’s looked after.

It isn’t made of plastic, it didn’t come from China via the pound shop, it’s not digital, it doesn’t need batteries, it JUST FUCKING WORKS! It’s an analogue instrument doing an analogue job. It doesn’t have fiddly bits and glued-on battery terminals and dodgy electrical connections and bits of wire that get caught in a battery compartment held ‘closed’ with impossibly small screws with heads that can be mangled by a screwdriver made of plasticine. It didn’t come in a blister pack with staples more hard wearing than the thing itself and it doesn’t have an instruction leaflet in 14 languages none of which make sense to their respective readers. It does come in a metal container with a screw lid.

It comes from a time when things were relatively more expensive. People didn’t have so many things – but the things they did have ACTUALLY WORKED and you only needed to buy one every couple of generations, not every fucking couple of weeks. People got paid decentish wages for making them and they only had to be delivered a few dozen miles to the shop or garage – and there was one of those every few miles where you could find a mechanic WHO COULD ACTUALLY FIX CARS WITHOUT NEEDING A NEW COMPUTER CHIP IMPORTED FROM THE FAR EAST.

I paid about £7 for it as it was ‘collectable’ – They didn’t even bother to advertise it as ‘useable’. Perhaps useable just doesn’t sell – why have useable when you can have buzzword / digital? I could have paid £1.49 from Argos or somewhere (for a ‘digital’ one, see above) – and then another £1.49 a couple of uses later and then another a couple of times after that. That’s what we’re supposed to do now isn’t it? – To keep us shopping for cheap tat that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do – but, hey, it’s cheap.

What if you’re in the highlands somewhere in the snow and you need something you can actually rely on? Well, you’d be waiting for a computer chip controlled satellite guided tow truck with a starting button made with cheap plastic to not arrive wouldn’t you?

Am I a grumpy old man? – Too right I am! I want to buy things to do a job they can actually do. Why is this so hard to understand? Why isn’t there open revolt?

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