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Why everything you buy is worse now

From clothes to tech, why is everything so poorly made?

Kimberly Mas is a senior producer at Vox video focused on science explainers.

Maybe you’ve noticed: In the past 10 years everything we buy, from clothes to technology, has gotten just a little bit worse. Sweaters are more likely to tear. Phones are more likely to break. Smart toasters and TVs burn out and die after only a few years. It might seem like consumer products just aren’t built to last anymore. What’s going on?

Unfortunately (and fortunately!), part of the problem is us. For decades, we’ve been conditioned to buy, buy, buy, and today it’s normal for many consumers to shop for new clothes at least once a month. In order to keep up, many companies have to prioritize making things in the fastest and least expensive way possible. To do that they cut corners with materials and labor. In turn, quality suffers, which leaves consumers with a lot of crappy things.

The story with technology is a little different. And the biggest difference is that while no one in fashion is saying you’re not allowed to sew a new button on a shirt, many tech companies have actually made it impossible to repair products.

The good news is consumers have a surprising amount of control over this situation. Watch the video to learn more.

You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube.

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