I bought a printer recently. The store clerk offered to sell me the 3-year warranty, which cost 1/3 as much as the entire printer. I confess, the very idea astounded me.

Apparently, I’m supposed to believe that the printer can’t be expected to last 3 entire years without breaking. In which case, why am I willing to pay hundreds of dollars for it? Shouldn’t I have enough faith in the manufacturer that I don’t have to buy a separate service contract? In fact, shouldn’t the manufacturer itself have enough faith in its own product that I should be confident it will continue to work?

Warranties are the measure of how much a manufacturer believes their product is shoddy.

It’s that simple. If a manufacturer truly built well and believed it, they would offer an extended warranty for free. In fact, when the warranty is invoked, the manufacturer could use that as a chance to investigate and discover how to make their product better.

But these days, it’s become standard practice for companies to make huge amounts of money selling extended warranties. The good news is that they wouldn’t get sold if they weren’t profitable for the companies, which implies that most of the time, the products under warranty don’t need to be replaced. The bad news is that it may be more profitable to offer relatively shoddy products and sell the extended warranty than to manufacture good products to begin with.

Either way, manufacturers, don’t offer me a warranty, please. I’ll simply take it as an indication that you do such a poor job you’re not willing to stand behind your own handiwork.

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