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Factoring in the Lifespan of Your Products

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I've been thinking about the average lifespan of common items all morning. What set me off, you ask? Thank you for asking. It was this endearing little story of a man and his vacuum cleaner.

Archie Cameron is 78 years old and the proud owner of what is believed to be the oldest known working vacuum cleaner. Archie acquired his 71-year old Goblin Triumph electric cleaner from his late mother. Despite having to replace the shoulder strap with one from a suitcase and other minor repairs, the Goblin has been faithfully sucking up dust in Archie's house without interuption since 1936.

Just to take you back, 1936 was the year Jesse Owens showed up Hitler at the Berlin Summer Olympics, the BBC tried out a new medium called television and the Bay Bridge opened in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's the year that John McCain, Mary Tyler Moore, Dennis Hopper and Bobby Darin (of Mac the Knife fame) were all born. It's also the year that Rudyard Kipling, King George V of Great Britain, Ivan Pavlov (yes, as in Pavlov's dogs) and John Heisman all died.

Clearly, a lot has happened since then.

Now let's take a look at some of the average lifespans of common products we all use today.

Desktop PC: two to five years
Car: 13 years, 145,000 miles (note: the average new car owner trades in around 4 years and 55,000 miles)
Bic pen: six months to a year
DVD Player: seven years (For the record, I don't believe that)
iPod: Officially built to last four years (Good luck!)
Cell phone: 14 months

Last updated: May 14, 2007




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