When having some tv troubles the other day, I recalled a decision my parents made years ago. Namely, they kept the same tv for 18 years.
That’s right. It was actually two years older than I was. But it was good quality (I don’t recall the brand) and served faithfully. It probably helped that we didn’t watch much tv, though we did watch movies pretty often.
When I was about 13, it started going through an awkward phase where the screen would just die. Sometimes all one had to do was turn it off and back on. Sometimes it needed a few minutes’ patience. Sometimes it wasn’t going to work that day.
I still remember watching Hitchcock’s Notorious in 10 minute segments with 1-5 minute breaks. That was torture.
But my parents pointed out that it worked much more often than it didn’t. So we kept the old thing. In fact, we kept it for another 3 years. The only reason we got a newer one was because my grandfather died and the extended family decided that we might as well take his tv before ours switched off forever.
I never had thought of it in the wear-it-out way before, but my parents did a great job with that. I like to think that they instilled some of the same values in us. The tv wasn’t a need, the old one worked pretty well, so why spend more money on it?
Another purchase decision I’m coming to respect is Mr. Micah’s choice to buy an oversized coffee cup from the university where he teaches. Such things are normally frivolous and overpriced. However, he uses his in the morning to microwave his instant oatmeal. He think adds some milk and peanut butter for breakfast. And at night (sometimes during the day) he’ll drink tea in it. Sometimes it gets other uses.
He’s been doing this at least since we got married. So if we account for 3 months of use, at 2 times per day, that’s well over 180 uses. It cost about $10. That’s down to $.5 per use. However, he’s been using it for 2 years. We’ll say he’s used it at least half the time for over 730 uses. Less than $.2 per use. If he keeps it another 2, the price becomes almost negligible.