Each summer holidays I spend at least part of the break de-cluttering my house. Being the bower bird that I am, there is always a lot to do and often it feels like not a lot to show afterwards. Progress is being made. New systems are being set up. Things long held onto are being thrown out or given away. It’s all good.
Of course, every few years you find yourself faced with having to replace some bigger items. Fridges, beds, furniture etc. For me this year I had to replace my washing machine and my car. (I’d already replaced the bed earlier this year). This all got me thinking about the new for old paradigm.
We assume that newer is better but is it always?
In the case of my car. Absolutely. I had my old car for 16 years and while it was cute it was pretty ordinary. I loved it of course and was very attached over 16 years. It had cute mags I’d put on to jazz it up but eventually even mags can’t cover it’s age. I literally drove it into the ground. I put another engine in it to try and keep it going but eventually you have to realise that it’s time to move on. Which I did yesterday.
My new car is shiny and fancy and one of those cars I never thought I would own. I look at it and I still cant’ believe it’s mine. Other than just being way fancier, it does so many more things than my old car. I can make phone calls using the steering wheel. It has fog lights (which I actually do need from time to time). It has parking sensors which I am REALLY hoping will stop me from scraping the side of it on my garage. Like I did with the old one. So, yes this car is definitely better than the old one.
My mother however still bemoans the loss of her old car. The new one, while newer and reliable etc doesn’t have a number of the features her old one did like seat height adjustment (a big deal for a shorty like her). So while I’ll nostalgicly miss my old car I wont actually wish I had it back unlike my mother. For her the Old was better than the new.
I’ve heard this before with things like washing machines, dishwashers, fridges. Parts are now made of plastic and wear out faster. Old reliable sewing machines or mix masters have never quite had a replacement live up to the old one.
My own is example is a small one. It’s a fan. I have a really old white pedastool fan which is pretty much made of plastic. It’s somewhat battered and not in any way trendy but it works. Mostly. I decided to replace it when I got it out this year and turned it on and it wouldn’t work. Drats. Actually it just wouldn’t work on the lowest setting. The higher one was fine but the bottom setting didn’t start and I couldn’t sleep with it on the high setting. It as a problem. So I went off to my favourite place (Bunnings) and bought a lovely small silver one that I could sit on my drawers. It worked and it took up hardly any room. I loved it.
Until I tried to sleep with it on. It was noisy. Why would you make a noisy fan? I had a few years ago bought a large industrial looking pedastool fan. It looked fantastic. It is the noisiest fan ever. You couldn’t sleep with it on. I couldn’t work with it on.
Happily I accidently discovered that my old fan would work on the low setting. Eventually. I could either start it on high and then turn it down or start it on low and it would get on it with it eventually. And quietly.
The new small fan now has a home in my office. The old fan is back in my bedroom as if it had never left.
What’s the point of this rivetting story? Newer is better….but not always.