It doesn't pay to be invincible.
The very invincibility of the doughty refrigerator that has run non-stop for 63 years in a British village is a cautionary tale.While the third generation of the Ashley family may look upon their fridgersaurus as a lovable relic of the first industrial revolution-prompted ice age, the demise of the legendary company that created it reiterates the necessity of planned obsolescence.English Electric had the interest of its consumers at heart when it launched the refrigerator, as other working versions of the model still find mention in second-hand sales sites for tidy sums. But evidently, it did not foresee the longterm implications of this sturdiness.If gadgets never go kaput, sales figures eventually will.India has had firsthand experience of the indomitable character of English Electric products with the Canberra, which served the Indian Air Force for an incredible 50 years before reluctantly retiring from service in 2007.The feisty aircraft not only played stellar roles in the India-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971, it sustained a Stinger missile hit while on a reconnaissance mission near the LoC during the Kargil conflict of 1999, and still returned safely to base.In the spirit of that soundly whirring refrigerator in Shropshire, airworthy specimens of the Canberra are still engaged in research sorties and ceremonial fly-pasts.But had English Electric planned the timely obsolescence of its products, it too may have been whirring and flying instead of becoming a footnote in the history of the companies that bought over and succeeded it, from GEC to Alstom.The wise strategy is to strike a balance between being branded flimsy and being praised as durable as opposed to being deemed indestructible and then seeing profits wither away!
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