Tuesday, March 11, 2014

False Advertisements, Disclaimers, and Planned Obsolescence

Is everything made to be broken? Is there some greater plot afoot that we just don't see when we make budget-minded purchases? 
Yes...and yes.
In this (and really, every other) industry, you truly do "get what you pay for."
In all reality, you have probably heard your local bike mechanic say this to you at some point. I can tell you this is not a sales gimmick. Even when I worked for a soul-crushing big box guitar store (yeah, you know the one ;) I truly believed my own sales pitch to be true. 
"Pay for it once, play with it for a lifetime."
...we will get back to what "a lifetime" means in a later blog.  
But I digress...

If you remember, I discussed the awesomeness of metal fenders. Granted the discussion was purely about aesthetics, however I choose them not only because they look amazing but also because they are the best fender for the money. Why? Because unlike plastic fenders, they are made of all metal construction. They are built to withstand the rigors of everyday use. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen broken plastic fender mounts because the rider accidentally kicked them. Once installed, which can take a little more time and attention to detail, metal fenders function better and for a longer period of time. The argument that they are harder to install carries zero weight with me. Seriously, quality fenders are only as hard to install as the user is unable to follow directions. 
It does not stop at fenders. In fact, if it were just fenders, I would be doing fucking jumping jacks in the street screaming "Halle-fucking-lujah!" It doesn't stop there, no. It comes from somewhere and creeps up on us like, well...something that creeps up on you. The origin, I maintain, comes from outermost fringes of market, described by the title of a cheap Sci Fi thriller novel I am working on:  "It came from Planet Walmart." 
If it were to stop at the Walmart bike level, I could live with that. I mean, I understand that to sell a bike for $100 it is most likely a huge piece of shit. Consider this pile of crap* 

* Conversion table 1a: 1 "Pile of Crap" = "2 Pieces of Shit"

Not only is it useless for its intended application, it is false advertisement at its finest. 
Let me clarify. This is clearly a sign labeling this product "a sturdy" bicycle that can be used on "trails approved for bicycles." 

Hmmm.... Then what does this sticker mean?

(Google translate: This bicycle-shaped object should not be ridden by anyone, for any reason, at anytime. If you ride at night, it may burst into flames. Wear a helmet, you will need it.)

Having found this sticker on the same bike, I am left to ask, "Is this for real?!"
Seriously, is this a disclaimer stating the exact opposite of what your product literature says?
In Canada, they hang you for this type of shit. OK, maybe not hang you, but this type of rhetoric is illegal there. It is called "Sales Puffery
Oh, Canada, where the health care is free, and liars, are criminals.
Not to be confused with "'Merica," where you can bail out an auto maker only to find they are still producing the WORST FUCKING BIKE EVER CONCEIVED!!!

It even bears the "Official GM Product" sticker. I shit you not.

(A "side boob" view)

This bicycle is a bane to my existence.

Bearing the name "Denali" it is as big a tank as the SUV from which its name is stolen. It is a horrible failure of human innovation. Yet, the rhetoric would have you believe that 

"The GMC Denali 700C 21-Speed Road Bike is built around a lightweight aluminum road bike frame for racing or commuting."

First of all, the damn bike weighs 30 Lbs, not exactly light. Plus, racing on this beast would not only go against what the sticker says, but certainly get you killed. Commuting on it would get you made fun of.
Don't worry though, if Racing is more your speed they make a "pro" version as well.
Same sticker, but better wheels...

"...the high-profile alloy Vitesse racing rims look as good as they perform"

Well shit!! Let me get out my wallet.

Also, while you are robbing me blind, how about charging me extra to fuck up the handle bar installation.