I resisted the urge, though. Maybe we really do get wiser with age. When I heard about Keurig’s monopoly play last year, I almost injured my arm from patting myself on the back. Basically, the company rigged their new machines to reject anything but the Keurig® brand non-recyclable K-cups. No more reusable cups, and no more picking your own brand of java. It was the Keurig way or the highway, and the Keurig way means about $50 a pound for coffee — on top of the $150 or so for the machine itself.
The company probably could have foreseen that its customers’ heads would explode. Soon enough, sales tanked and the stock price slipped 10 percent. So this week, in a gesture spun to seem like a great gift to mankind, Keurig said it would allow the reusable cups again, and let customers decide which sort of coffee they’d like.
How wonderful. But I’m still glad I didn’t buy a Keurig. The whole affair reminds me that there is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to lifestyle convenience.
It isn’t just Keurig. Whether it’s a coffee maker or an Apple Watch, you pay increasingly more for increasingly less. The Keurig might save you nine minutes — time better spent perusing your tweets on the toilet, maybe. The Apple Watch spares you from removing the iPhone from your pocket as frequently as you otherwise might. You pay a lot of money and you don’t get much back — just buyer’s remorse and another device heading quickly toward obsolescence.
It’s the obsolescence that bothers me most. The waste. Also, I don’t have an unlimited amount of money. You’ve probably heard the statistic that there are enough discarded K-cups to circle the globe 10 times (assuming somebody had the time to do it). You could probably say the same thing of old iPhones, regularly discarded in favor of new ones with marginally better technology. Or, really, just about anything that needs an outlet or a battery.
Remember the Paul McCartney song “Junk”?
“Buy, buy, says the sign in the shop window.
Why, why? says the junk in the yard.”