At 65 Life Expectancy is Very Dear


But I’m not writing about what one would rightly infer from the headline.

I operate a 5400′ metal building with 4 bays and three heating units.  There are two 5 ton units and one 7.5 ton unit and all three of them are in trouble after 8 years of operation.  One is kaput, one has been repaired several times and one is being extensively repaired now.  A representative of the landlord indicated that the units, when installed, had a life expectancy of 10 years.  So, time is up.

And then there is our dish washer.  It was new in January 2004, six years ago.  We had a $300 repair about two years ago, and it is shouting “get me out of here’ so Cathy is washing the dishes while we search for a replacement.  All the sales people say: “yeah, they have a five-year life expectancy”.  How do you tell a good one from a lousy one.  Maytag was a good name, but not in our house.  So I says to Cathy, the only thing that looks different is the price.  The high price units have a thud when you shut the door.  Hooray, so we are going to buy one for $750, plus installation of $150.  Five Year Life.

Finally, my chair.

Kaput Chair

This lasted roughly 10 years, which is not bad as recliners go.  But its 10 years. 

Cathy and I went to see Clint Eastwood’s newest movie, “Hereafter” with Matt Damon and a cute french lady and a young man from London.  Good movie.  But now you are subjected to 20 minutes of advertising if you get a seat early, and we did.  One ad was for General Motors Chevrolet.  They basically were saying that Chevy has been producing good cars for a long time and they showed a car from I’d say a range of 1956 to 1960.  All I remember of cars of that age is that they rusted through in four years.

It took the Japanese to teach us that lesson.

Today it is the Indians, with a car coming soon that will cost $7,000, the Nano or something like that.  And the Chinese are planning a plant in the US.  Meanwhile, the pants I purchased from LL Bean were made in China, so more of  US jobs go to a competitor.  The chinese.

This planet is a closed system.  And the asian labor force works for less than Americans.  So either Americans go to the jobs, in China and India, or we stop buying from Wall-Mart and LL Bean until they can find a good pair of pants made in America.  Remember when clothing came from Boston, then moved to South Carolina, and Mexico and now China, Indonesia and India.  The work will go to the low-cost producers.

I make coffee in America and employ American staff.  One man has a green card and is headed to citizenship of the US.  I employ Americans and only two of our staff make in the mid $30,000.  Everyone else is over $41,000 and four are over $60,000.  About equipment:  one roasting machine is 17 years and going strong, another 15.  So we can build good stuff that lasts a long time.   And Americans are well paid.

On Maytag, on Bassett, on Weinstein HVAC: you need a red-nosed reindeer to lead you to longevity.  And we are going to have to get realistic about salaries.  Let us not forget that our biggest investment, a home, is down big time.  And interest rates on the ones we have owned for more than a few years are now down in the four percent range.  One person I know dropped $600 a month, enough to buy food for half a month.  Soon these reductions must show up in salaries, and then we can compete with the Chinese.

And our pooches are doing fine thank you.

Ruby and Liam (now bigger than Ruby)

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