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Three score and ten or more

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I have just been thinking (not necessarily a dangerous process, but. . . ) I just watched a television commercial, I think by Chrysler, which advertises a lifetime power train warranty on an automobile, and it made me think. I used to sell low heat, stainless steel cookware made by Reynolds Metals called Lifetime Stainless Steel Cookware. It was good stuff and quite expensive but it offered a lifetime guarantee. One of the examples given (and it was true, I checked it out) was someone whose house burned down and they found, in the wreckage a set of Lifetime Stainless, encrusted in ash with the bakelite handles turned into crispy critters. The set was returned to Reynolds and they polished it up, replaced the handles, and it was as "good as new". I was impressed.

Reynolds Metals, alias Reynolds Aluminum has been through ownership changes, alliances with other industries etc. I wonder if the lifetime guarantee still would even be remembered, let alone honored. Whose lifetime does a lifetime guarantee include? The original purchaser? The piece of equipment, the company ? (Remember the Ginsu Knife ads on TV with the lifetime guarantee. Does Ginsu Knife company even exist?) One of my friends used to kid me when I was schlepping cookware that the lifetime guarantee applied to the life of the implement. When when the pot or pan died, the guarantee was void.

On this basis, Coppertop batteries could be given a lifetime guarantee. When the battery dies, the guarantee expires. On the other hand, it might be for the life of the original owner. That seems more practical than the life of the company. Can you imagine going to a used car lot for a 2008 Chrysler (in 2115) and having the salesman chanting "It is still under warranty." Or it might be for the life of the company but how many companies were major companies twenty years ago that don't even exist today, or if they do exist they are like Kraft Foods (a minor division of a tobacco company). Of course we still try to trust the concept that the guarantee is for the life of the company, in which case, who would like to bet 20,000 dollars that Chrysler will still be around in twenty years, let alone for the full lifetime of one of our younger readers. I have family that invested in Geneva Steel, one of the great companies of America, only to see the company disappear completely in a very few years.

We live in a world where guaranties and warrantees are given freely, but are always open to questions and interpretations. What happens to the guaranteed pension plan when the company that offered it files Chapter Eleven Bankruptcy? Owning shares in a company has an implied guarantee that as long as the company exists, your ownership is valid. Tell that to the thousands of shareholders in Kmart who saw their ownership dissolve in Chapter Eleven. When the company became a part of Sears, how much of Sears do the old shareholder have?

We are so dependent on our trust of others but the word of others is so fragile. The only real guarantee or warranty that we can depend on is the one that we give to ourselves. Those of us who are people of faith also depend on the warranty or guarantee of a loving Father in Heaven or the Atoning Grace of Jesus Christ, but our world is filled with many who will accept the warranty from Chrysler, but who feel that those of use who accept spiritual warrantees are nuts or gullible.

Countries make promises, some of which are kept and some which are not. Governments do the same. Our friends do the same. Companies do the same. I wonder why I feel so absolutely trusting in the promises made in scripture. Certainly I have blog friends who think I am one of the most gullible.

In the words of a character in a play I directed many years ago, "It's a puzzlement."


At 6:05 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

You, like me, have absolute trust in the word of scripture because Jesus was God in human form and He did not lie. God is infallible and humans are not. Humans are often-times sneaky and underhanded, and even downright evil. God is not. Anyone in their right mind would agree with that, except for atheists of course, but I specified "in their right mind." :)

I left an answer to your comment on my post: "Hi Richard. Long time no see." Then I realized it's been a long time since I've stopped by here. My apologies. Now to go see what I've missed. :)

At 12:35 AM, Blogger Thotman said...

Speaking of social security... Richard, your "right on" look at what we count on seems to bring to mind all those things which come to naught...it is nice to know that some things endure... our memories if we are lucky... friendships, even our desires to find joy in the world around us...some things truly are as perenial as the grass (to quote desiderata) I do hope for now we can all go placidly amid the noise and warrantees...

At 5:24 PM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

All very true and insightful, my friend. I have been looking into buying a computer and DO NOT want a Dell, because they really are not quality computers nor are they easily upgradable as a classic PC was/is. I've pretty much decided to let my son put it together for me. A friend pointed out that it wouldn't be "warranteed" but why pay more for something that will expire before it can be used anyway? As you say, we rely too much on such things, and they, in turn, rely on planned obsolescence.

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Kathleen said...

Good post. It has been awhile. Hope you are fine and ready to publish another ditty. I love your style.

At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to leave you a brief note, I was online searching for low heat cookware. My grandmother who is 87yrs old, has a set of the cookware that was bought for her in the 50's I believe, I was told a story about their house burning down, and when they went thru the ashes, here was her cookware. At that time they spent over $200 for the cookware, and in the 50's that was very expensive. My Grandmother sent it back to the company. They replaced the handles and cleaned up the cookware that was completely black, and returned it to her at no cost. To say the least it is still being used to this day. Grandma is in failing health and I fear the time is near. Her lifetime guarantee is about to expire, and her cookware has moved onto a new generation. I just felt the need to comment about the story you told about the cookware, because that was probably my Grandma, and the incident occured in Leggett California.


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