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Durability and utility

As a small boy, I saw an advertisement in a shop saying “the cost is long forgotten”. The line attracted me. I was too young to understand its true meaning, and so I asked my father what it was. His reply satisfied me, when he said the quality of the product would be remembered long and its cost would be forgotten. In short, the line mentioned that quality is supreme to cost.

As I grew up, I realised that quality products often come with a premium price tag and a cheaper product may not have the desired quality. By quality, I mean durability as well.

In today’s times, durability is replaced with utility value, as the popularity of use-and-throw razors suggests. No product however big or small is bought with the durability factor in mind. Its immediate utility is what the customer looks at. How lives have changed from durability to only utility.

Similarly, if bargaining was a normal practice in the olden days, discounts and offers rule now. The salesperson of yesterday would take pains to promote the quality of a product being sold and would describe its durability first over the cost. The entire discussion between the buyer and the seller was like a Test match. In today’s scenario, the first description of the salesman is like a T20 match, with such speed that the buyer is left clueless. The specifications, specially the technical aspects, are spelt out in rapid-fire speed, and the buyer is left speechless, for it would sound all Greek to the person.

Emphasis is given to packing than the product. With competition at its peak, both the buyer and seller are left bemused and confused. One would advertise a 50-70% discount, others would say buy one, get two or more. How would any businessman sell his products for a loss?

Poor quality, big name and light weight are the new normal. As a senior man now, I am confused between durability and utility.

balasubramaniampavani@gmail.com

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 4:34:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/durability-and-utility/article33587696.ece

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