My Phillips razor is 15 years old and still perfectly working. When I bought it the only thing I asked for is that I wanted a machine that works and lasts, for this I paid some extra money which has been largely paid off by not having to buy a new razor.
Yet, is this a good business for Phillips? There is a big problem for those companies who design things that last and can be repaired: the problem is that they risk selling less than those companies who design products to break and can’t be repaired. This is kafkian but this is how it is.
This is the reason that explains why when I go to buy the new shaving heads for my razor they charge me 42€. Yes, 42€!!! It is obvious that three shaving heads don’t cost 42€ but instead Phillips is charging me for not changing my razor. It would only cost me twice as much to get a new razor so why should I stick to my old one which happens to be working perfectly?
On the top of that; in how many places in Barcelona you think you can renew shaving heads for Phillips razors? Only in 1 place especialised in Phillips repairing!!! On the other hand you can guess that Phillips is selling its products in 100s of retailers and shopping malls but they only sell the renewed shaving heads in one place. Wouldn’t I be better off just buying a new razor in the shop next to my place and save all this headache? That’s what the companies would like!
This is just one of the examples I run into my everyday life when trying to be sustainable. In this case Phillips, which is not better or worst than any other company producing electric appliances, has only copied the same system it uses to sell printers –sell them cheap and charge the ink very expensive- to razors. Indeed they would be stupid if they wouldn’t because they could not compete with the other companies that would continue to cheat in their prices and their products. It is a perfectly designed unsustainable system.
As far as the market rewards building obsolescence in products companies such as Phillips can continue to proclaim their love for green economy and whatever other greenwashing statements. The truth is that they are just another brick in the wall of insustainability.