“…comes with a lifetime guarantee”

This is a question I’ve had for years, but have never had the courage to discuss. It revolves around the idea of a lifetime guarantee. Years ago I discovered they aren’t talking about my lifetime. They are talking about the lifetime of the product. On the surface this sounds great. What an incentive to buy that thing-a-ma-jig on the info-mercial!

I’ve always wondered though about the actual, legal parameters of such a thing. If I buy the dice-o-matic and it totally croaks next week, I would think that would be covered. However, since the thing is dead, we must have passed the lifetime of the gizmo, so I guess the guarantee is no longer any good. If next week it only sort of doesn’t work, it’s not dead, so I suppose the guaratee is still in effect. Am I getting this right? What if I’m super, extra careful, the cheap little gadget lasts 20 years. At that point, it begins to have trouble working. Since the manufacturer expected the little plastic doo-dad to only last a year, is that beyond the lifetime? I don’t know. Maybe I’m overthinking this thing. I know it doesn’t really matter, but somehow I care. Do I have issues?

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10 Comments

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10 responses to ““…comes with a lifetime guarantee”

  1. I’ve wondered about this too. I thought it was pretty ludicrous that the guarantee would be, “We guarantee this thing until it stops working.” Some guarantee.

  2. brian

    Wow – I never thought about that before. That’s a really good point.

    The government periodically reports economic activity – one such indicator is “durable goods orders” where a “durable” good is supposed to have a useful life in excess of three years. Durable goods include factory equipment, cars, airplanes, major appliances, etc. I remember hearing that the USAF has B-52 bomber aircraft in the fleet that are more than 50 years in service and still flying. I am not sure if twinkies are durable goods, but I suspect so. Peeps definitely are.

    I recall one experience with a blowdryer, where the stupid thing outlived our desire to keep it. Did you euthanize it?

  3. Um, yeah, well… It was cheaper than when I euthanized the microwave… Aren’t you glad I only have happy thoughts about you?

  4. brian

    I wonder if radioactive isotopes come with a halflifetime guarantee?

  5. brian

    I know that peeps do not, but they should

  6. Wow. I thoroughly enjoy this family. 🙂

  7. That said… how exactly does one determine (definitively) that their enjoyment of something is thorough?

  8. brian

    Thorough enjoyment?

    I would apply a common computer technique. When sorting a large set of data, you can optimize the process by taking advantage of the fact that as you sort, you produce a set of data that is sorted. The trick for sorting the next non-sorted element is not to compare it against every other element, but rather to efficiently find the minimal value greater that the one you’re attempting to sort. It’s simple, elegant, and much much faster.

    In this problem, you *could* check every part of your body to see if “enjoyment” had happened, but I would think that it would be much more efficient to simply sample that body part that was least involved in the enjoyment activity. In this case, perhaps a toenail. Did the toenail enjoy the experience? If so, then logic dictates that the balance of the body, all parts large and small, also enjoyed the experience and that the enjoyment was therefore “thorough”.

    The trick is, of course, identifying that “least involved part”. I would think that the nature of the candidate “thoroughly enjoyed” event might necessitate recalcuating; for example, stepping in something comforting, squishy and warm might make the toenail very happy indeed, but it is now very proximal to the experience – perhaps the nose must be consulted in this case.

    This is another reason why the eye may not tell the hand “I have no need of you”. At some point the hand may have to arbitrate “thorough”…

    My $0.02

  9. lol… Hey, I have a lifetime guarantee too…… that’s a little scary. well…. I would take a slightly more simplistic approach to the whole “thorough bit”. I would probably say, if you can’t think of a time or way that you don’t enjoy something, it’s thoroughly enjoyed. Unless you are just trying to sound important.

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