There’s an old adage “what you get for free, you pay for twice”. And while this story doesn’t per-se make me angry, there is a pearl of frustration that I feel about the consumer society that I clearly cause.
About 15 years ago I purchased a display cabinet from IKEA. These modular units are great, allowing you to combine multiple modules into any number of shapes and sizes. At the time I purchased this unit I had a wall about 20 feet long which I decided to clad as one single display unit, and IKEA’s units were a perfect fit. Over the years I’ve moved house a few times and this unit has come with me.
About eight years ago I decided to replace my TV, and the most important criteria at the time was simply to find one that fit the space in the display unit as closely as possible. I was able to find a 44 inch rear projection unit that were a perfect fit, with no more than half an inch to spare at the sides and top, it looked great, so it was duly purchased and has performed wonderfully all this time.
Well a little while ago a little red light turned on below a label that said replace bulb. I no longer had the TV’s manual so popped onto the internet to look up the model number and identify the bulb. When I found the page, a notice popped up saying there was a class action settlement against this model of TV, and that if I called them they would possibly replace all the insides of my TV for free(which included the rather expensive bulb). I called the number and lo and behold my TV qualified. I local service center called me back and arranged a call to do their magic.
Well my TV was integrated into my display cabinet, so I decided to take the TV off the unit to give them clear access. Since they were basically giving me a new TV (except for the plastic surround), I felt duty bound to make their lives as easy as possible. But when I took the TV off the cabinet, I noticed that the wood of the cabinet was starting to crumble (fifteen years of great service and multiple disassemblies and assemlbies had taken their toll).
After some deliberation we decided that maybe after all these years of sterling service, maybe it was time to retire the IKEA units, in favor of something a little more interesting.
We found some incredible cabinets made from reclaimed Brazilian rainforest wood (actually it looks like it was reclaimed from a rainforest hut, but looks really cool).
Since we were now replacing the cabinet we thought maybe it was the right time to upgrade to a nice new LED flat screen TV, and we fell in love with a superb 55 inch model. These models are so thin, that it seemed a shame to mount them on a stand. They just look so much better mounted on the wall. So we had the TV wall mounted and the cables buried in the wall.
So then we had to redecorate the wall. We found some awesome wallpaper made from grass, and with the new cabinets this looks fantastic. But now we didn’t really want to see all the technical paraphanalia that’s associated with the TV, so we implemented a 50 feet HDMI cable routed around the room and placed all the tech on a rack on the other side of the room, hidden away in a corner. And I had to add more tech to ensure that the remote controls still worked.
We love the new tech setup, and we love the newly decorated room. We didn’t need to do it, but the free bulb for the TV forced us!
At the end of the day the free upgraded TV cost us ten thousand. It started with free and ended up being anything but.
We gave away the old reconditioned TV to friends, and I expect in 10 years when the bulb light comes on again, consumerism will consume them as well.
Non, je ne regrette rien