The Disposable VCR
by Eric Giguere
October 3, 2003
Did you know that a VCR is now a disposable item? I didn't, at least
not until recently when our 13-year old VCR broke. When I called about
having it serviced, they recommended that I buy a new one instead,
because they'd charge me $25 (all prices are in Canadian dollars)
just to look at it and the cost of the
repair itself would likely be between $50 and $75. Besides, our
VCR had apparently lasted well beyond its expected lifetime.
When I get to the electronics store, I ask to see their Sony
VCRs my wife has a definite preference for Sony products.
Sony now only sells two VCR models in Canada: the
for $140 and the
for $170. Both are 4-head Hi-Fi VCRs with substantially the same
features. The salesperson explains the minor differences (colour and
size are the most visible differences) and then drops the bombshell:
"You can't repair these," he says.
"What do you mean?" I ask.
"You can't bring it in for servicing. If anything happens to
it in the first year, you ship it back to Sony and they ship
you a replacement."
"What happens after the first year?" I wonder.
"You throw it out and buy a new one," he says simply.
There you have it: the disposable VCR.
I can remember when VCRs especially 4-head Hi-Fi VCRs
cost $800, not $140. In fact, there are VCRs from less well-known brands
that are even cheaper I saw one for $99 at the same store.
When an $800 VCR broke, you paid to fix it. But not anymore!
my VCR home and discovered that it was mostly plastic, like any
good disposable object. It works well enough, and even has some
features that our old VCR didn't this VCR automatically
sets its clock.
You can easily push the VCR right off its stand if you're
not careful, though!