Pur-chasing Technology

 
I recently borrowed a minidisc player from a good friend of mine.I don't know if you've come across one of these things?No?Well I'll fill you in a tad.Minidisc is the latest in portable digital recording technology.As the name suggests it consists of a small recordable CD known as a minidisc.
 
The beauty of this though,is the ability of the user to edit recorded words,sound or music.This has obvious advantages for journalists or other high powered individuals who crave these time saving devices. Without boring you with a load of technical guff,it works in the same way as the old splicing of quarter inch tape,cutting and moving bits of tape to create a new order.However,with Minidisc all this happens,in typically 90's style,at the push of a button.

Have I bored you yet?

Any old way,like I said,I borrowed said item(which cost the princely sum of 350,retail by the way)for a few weeks.At the time I was working on a community radio station,which involved this thing being bunged in coat pockets,slung on the car seat,dropped occasionally and interviews in the rain.As you might imagine,it failed to live through the experience unscathed,as various buttons fell off causing much distress.

I eventually plucked up the courage to contact my kind and delicious young friend,to give her the devastating blow that her beloved minidisc player,was somehow damaged.To my relief she informed me that it was still under guarantee. Fan-bloody-tastic.A few days later we visited the Dixon's store in Prince's Quay in Hull where the offending article was originally purchased, to see what could be done.To my astonishment the shopkeeper, upon hearing our techno-ailments,promptly pulled another 350 minidisc player from under the counter and said "Ere you are luv,just fill in this form"

Finally,to the point.The point is this.Here it comes,any minute now,ahh,here it is.

The combination of the inadequate durability of the item in question and the ease of replacement got me thinking.Hmm, it did you know,really.When you purchase such an item - and here is the main thrust of the piece so listen up good eh or this would have been a complete waste of time - when you purchase or should I say pur-chase such an exciting item,what you are actually paying for is anything but the physical item that you leave the shop with.What arse-filth I hear you say. Well then,let me justify myself.What you are actually paying for is the hundreds of years of technological development preceding and the right to be a part of the culmination of that development.It doesn't matter to Dixons or Sony how many replacements are made as long as initially your 350 investment has been made to the history of technological development, and thus the future of personal,portable,digital recording and editing technology.Thank you for listening.You've been most kind.