EDITOR'S DESK: They don't make 'em like they used to

Published: Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 11:52 AM.

These sure are nostalgic times, just based on some of this week's headlines.

A number of residents recalled simpler times over the weekend in Baker. (See "Baker Memories Day draws crowd to Baker Block to reminisce.")

North Okaloosa residents can attend workshops on Friday to learn more about their genealogy. (See "Workshops help family genealogists use resources.")

The News Bulletin's June 28-July 1 edition, which hits the streets Saturday, will feature the first part of our monthly history series leading up to Okaloosa County's centennial.

Yes, we all seem to appreciate knowing where we come from, and many of us have a special appreciation for days gone by; simpler times.

News editors aren't exempt.

Over the weekend, I looked at the alarm-clock-radio on my nightstand and started thinking:

The glowing orange numbers are distracting.

This device has a radio I never use.

The thing's plugged into the wall, hiking up the electricity bill, even when it's not in use!

When you use a ton of technology— a laptop computer, a camcorder, a smart phone, a tablet — for work, if you're like me, you unwind by unplugging. Finding simpler solutions. Connecting, in that way, with the past and with our ancestors.

I searched the web, determined to find an old-fashioned wind-up alarm clock. The kind with keys that you routinely wind up to set the time and alarm.

It's a more environmentally green solution, but it also reminded me of the gold-and-black Westclox Big Ben that once sat on my nightstand more than two decades ago.

I'd completely forgotten about that until now.

It's funny how time and technology advancements can create new lifestyles and replace memories of old ones.

But I'm a little too stubborn to fall for it.

Late Saturday, I was up all night searching for information about wind-up alarm clocks.

To my dismay, most of the websites — mostly with old-timers' comments — said they don't even make the Big Ben, a classic, like they used to.

"That thing was build like a tank," one commenter said.

It really was. 

The comment also reminded me of many products' declining quality, ironically, as technology progresses.

I thought of my mom's new printer-copier-scanner-fax machine — a beast she will never use, but for some reason, acquires these things — and how it's all plastic, and sounds like it could come apart when opening the scanner's lid.

Good brand, but poor quality.

I remember playing office as a child, with my grandparents' old adding machine.

That thing was built like a tank too! It was from the 1950s or 1960s, rough, tough, heavy and still printed fine, to my surprise.

Unfortunately, they don't make 'em like they used to. Even the Big Ben, countless reviewers' comments note, hasn't evolved so well.

Part of that, I'm sure, is because of planned obsolescence, two words I never forgot once I heard them in a high school economics class. It's many manufacturers' conspiracy to continue driving product by deliberately setting expiration dates on products.

They could make the products better; they just don't.

Honestly. 

I still plan to remove that monstrosity of an alarm clock-radio from the nightstand.

Perhaps I'll just let my smart phone rest on the window ledge opposite the bed.

Maybe I'll buy one of those battery operated twin-bell clocks that mimic the old-fashioned windups.

But it won't be the same. 

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Are you nostalgic for a certain product or way of life that has been lost with time? Drop comments below!

What's your view? Email News Bulletin Editor Thomas Boni, tboni@crestviewbulletin.com, or tweet @cnbeditor.

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