I went for a drive with some friends this weekend. One of my friends kindly offered to drive us around to the places we wanted to visit. All in all, it was a very fun girls trip out in the summer.
As we were driving home, my driver friend commented that she was going to buy a new car soon.
How come? I asked.
Her reply: It’s time. This car is already ten years old.
I was surprised because I hadn’t realized that ten years had already passed since she bought the car–new. Her car, a Honda Fit, was still in good condition. She had never mentioned anything wrong with it. I didn’t find anything else wrong with it–aside from its age. It’s also made by a company that makes good cars.
I sat in the backseat just grappling with my surprise.
A couple weeks ago, a student had mentioned the same thing. Her husband was going to buy a new car because their old car was already past the ten-year mark. His car is an Audi.
Even now, I’m still not understanding this whole I need to buy a car because it’s more than ten years old thing. I can only shake my head.
Do people not keep things as long as they can?
I’ve always been a big fan of buying things once. It’s better for the environment and it’s good for your wallet, too. I look around at our place and most of the things in here are old. Some of them we bought second hand, others we bought when we first got married–ten years ago. Some of them have been given to us by well-meaning family and friends.
Back in the US, my parents still have their 1996 Toyota Camry. It still runs. Our 2001 Toyota 4Runner (bought used in 2002) is still going strong. I attribute this to my dad who made sure the cars were running properly and meticulously maintained them. My husband’s old Nissan Xtrail–despite him not taking care of it (What’s an oil change?)–made it fourteen years before it got wrecked in an accident.
Part of us keeping the things as long as we can is because in Japan, it’s a pain in the ass to throw things out. You have to pay extra to throw out certain things like electronic goods and large items like sofas. Garbage doesn’t just get dumped into a landfill.
Sometimes, it’s more expensive to throw out something than buying something new. If your old TV isn’t doing it for you anymore, you have pay ¥4,000 to dispose of it properly–as in they break it down piece by piece at a disassembly plant.
When my husband and I first got married, we had used his old refrigerator (that was so small) from his single days. We quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be good for our new life as a couple. It was also about fifteen years old. We had to pay ¥3,000 to get rid of it. They have to really clean it up, and I guess a refrigerator is a specialized item that has to be broken down with skill. I can accept that–all to help the environment.
This weekend, too, was Amazon Prime Day, which I don’t understand. So what? I never got into the whole thing because I have no need to buy anything else. I don’t need someone else, like an online store, telling me to buy something that I never wanted in the first place. I guess if you need something then that’s when the timing is right. I just don’t see the need to buy something for shopping’s sake.
Whatever I have in this house, I try to make it last as long as I can. We still have our couch that is still okay. Our bed will hopefully last until we are really really old. These are Ikea-like furniture bought at a local store. Our TV is still old. I don’t know what 4K vision is like or what the newest technology is for TVs now. We still have our 37-inch screen that we bought 9 years ago. It still works so I have no need to upgrade it.
I guess I am just not up with the times.