Why “New and Improved” Products are Usually Worse

productsBy: Brad Manock

            When I find something I like, I foolishly expect it to remain the same forever. Change is sometimes a good thing in terms of websites or programs once I get used to it. But physical products, such as food, are almost always crappier. In this article I will go through a couple examples and discuss the general frustration that occurs when we realize the term “new and improved” really means “we are using cheaper ingredients and fuck you if you don’t like it.”


Why Is This Shitty Now?

            There is an ice cream shop on the side of a busy road where I live in Stevens Point, WI. This ice cream shop is a favorite among locals, but they are infamous for changing shit every year. One year, I ordered a hot fudge sunday, it was amazing, it had hot fudge and big brownie chunks that had obviously just come out of the oven. It was the most perfect hot fudge sunday I could have imagined. The following year I ordered a hot fudge sunday from the same ice cream shop expecting the same result as the previous year. This hot fudge sunday was pretty shitty, it was just chocolate syrup and what appeared to be coco puffs. There was no fresh brownies, just a bunch of chocolate pellets that looked like it came out of a large plastic bag. If the change had been less dramatic, I might have not even noticed it. But such a dramatic and sudden turn from “perfect” to “half-assed” was quite noticeable.



            This general concept should be relatable to anybody in recent years. As budgets get tighter, companies cut corners. However it is bullshit when they hide behind the “new and improved” cliché. Really they should say “we downgraded our product but we are hoping you don’t notice if we act positively enough about the whole thing.” In recent years, new products are getting fancier and more advanced but old products are just becoming shitty because the people who make the products are getting hit by inflation. So now they have to pick their poison: raise the prices, or make the product shittier.


            It is a bit scary to think about what the future might hold since all of the things that I love which exist now are not guaranteed to stick around. Things break way too quickly already. Anything made in the 1995-2005 range is almost certainly broken. Anything newer might still be going strong, anything older was made well enough that it is durable enough to last a long time. Sometimes when my PS3 isn’t working I will dust off the old SNES and play that because those old game systems are practically indestructible.


Why Does This Break So Easily?

            Now occasionally a company will release a product with the actual intention of it being of high quality. In the case of cars or pieces of technology, usually the more features it has, the more opportunities for something to go wrong. I had a new fancy phone when one day, the touch screen quit working. This phone didn’t have many buttons and almost all of it’s functionality is in the touch screen. So now I have a phone that I can’t send or receive calls or texts. So the phone is useless. I ended up getting a phone that has actual buttons since then there is less that can go wrong with it.


            I am sure a lot of people has had this frustration with cars as well, I know I have. I used to have a 2000 Grand am GT with a security system that would have been state-of-the-art at the time. However this security system would lock me out as well, this made me late for work several times. Any time the engine didn’t turn over on the first try, for some reason the car assumed that I was trying to steal my own car and make it impossible to try again for ten minutes. So when the engine didn’t turnover I would just set my stopwatch and try again in ten minutes because the technology was being stupid.


            Cars are an appliance to me, I don’t know much about cars and I don’t care until it quits getting me from point ‘A’ to point ‘B.’ Whenever I talk about cars to other people they will sometimes talk about how little they know about cars by saying something like “I only know how to change the oil and the oil filter and maintain the fluids.” And then I will naturally one up their vehicular ignorance by saying “I know how to put gas in the tank and drive the car.”


            Hopefully we will eventually get to the point that being high-quality and durable becomes the standard. However since companies only make money when you buy shit, this will probably take a while to figure out how that is going to happen. Until then, we as consumers will continue our cycle of trial and error trying to figure out what is truly the best things to buy.


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