Built to Last a Lifetime

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David Hopkins

Built to Last a Lifetime

Why Saladmaster Believes in Quality

There’s a concept in product development known as “planned obsolescence.” Companies do this when they intentionally create a consumer good that breaks down over time, requiring the consumer to purchase the product again and again. For example, why sell a tire that lasts the life of the car, when you can sell several tires over the course of a few years? This concept is so pervasive. It has resulted in a staggering accumulation of waste and a culture of mass consumption to account for all the disposable items in our life. These products are made cheaply, break easily, and are easily replaced. If you’ve discovered that it's often cheaper to simply buy a new item instead of having it repaired, you’ve experienced planned obsolescence.

It’s difficult to calculate the total cost of planned obsolescence. But we do know, up to 50 million tons of electronic waste are generated every year. Some blame consumer demand. Some blame the clever schemes of industrial designers. But regardless, it requires all of us to raise our expectations with the products we buy.

Enduring goods

There is a different philosophy. Some consumers prefer to think long term and would rather buy products designed to last a lifetime. These products become trusted items that people use year after year—reliable and valuable. It’s possibly even something you might pass from generation to generation.

This attention to durability is gaining traction. In fact, this year, the European Union passed a resolution asking the EU’s civil service to limit planned obsolescence, forcing companies to facilitate repairs, extend first-part warranties, and label products with an estimated overall life-expectancy.  

Tara Button, founder of the “Buy Me Once” organization and author of A Life Less Throwaway, has advocated for similar measures.

Every time I read something about the environment,” Tara said, “I would get this guilty feeling that I wasn’t doing anything. I kept thinking, if people did buy things that were built to last it would have such a positive impact – both economically and environmentally.”

The Benefit of Quality

Durable goods may seem more expense, but when you consider the cost of planned obsolescence—buying the same thing over and over again—most people are saving money in the long run, if they focus on quality over the lowest price.

Also, companies that focus on durable, premium products usually will put more energy into customer service, warranties, and repair options because their business model will center around maintaining customer loyalty over attempting to shove as many products as possible out the door.

At Saladmaster, we’ve always prided ourselves on rejecting planned obsolescence. Our goal is to manufacture the highest quality cookware, meant to last a lifetime.

For example, we had a customer from North Carolina who purchased her Saladmaster cookware back in 1962, when her husband was in the military. A salesman rang her door, and the rest was history. She purchased her set for $1,500 at $11.62 a week. In her words, “that was a lot of money back then.” Even today, 56 years later, she continues to stand by Saladmaster. She especially loves her Electric Oil Core Skillet. Recently, this customer reached out to a Dealer, because she was having problems with her EOC heating properly. The Dealer was able to locate a replacement probe. Now, the EOC continues to work.

Companies that engage in planned obsolescence do not go to this effort. Saladmaster does.

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