They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To

by Katy on April 17, 2011 · 19 comments

I’m not someone who has an across the board opinion about everything old being better than new. Lycra for example makes socks and jeans, oh, about 110% better than the baggy, saggy days of yesteryear. But there’s just no denying that countless older products were just manufactured to last. None of that planned obsolescence crap!

I made a nice big batch of peanut butter cookies yesterday, as I somehow possessed three simultaneously opened peanut butter jars. (Seriously, there is no sacrifice too large to make in the name of avoiding food waste!) I pulled out my cooling racks, and noticed how the two modern day cooling racks were so flimsy, one of them even broken. I then compared them to the one vintage cooling rack that is just as sturdy as the day it was first bought.

This irks me.

Why can’t modern day manufacturer’s produce things with an eye to lasting longer than a few years?

I guess they just don’t make ’em like they used to. I guess I’ll just file this under reason #759 why I do The Compact and try to buy nothing new.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

As sturdy as the day it was first bought!

Flimsy piece of crap!


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica Wolk-Stanley April 17, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Because then they get to sell you more crap. This is another reason it is better to buy used. If an object has made it through being used, chances are it still has a bit of life left in it. Especially items with no moving parts, such as a cooling rack. I have two, that while aren’t quite as cool-looking as your circular one, used to belong to Grandma and are still serviceable.
Can my DBIL solder the broken one?


NMPatricia April 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I also have one of those pieces of crap – and it needs soldering too. I have acquired another cooling rack that seems to do better. But I totally agree with you about crap and planned obsolescence!


Kate April 17, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Yeah and it looks like you have to make bigger cookies to accommodate your older cooling rack, oh darn!!


Karen @ Abundance on a Dime April 17, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Wow, I’ve never seen one of those vintage babies before – and what I would give to have a few of those sturdy and serviceable-looking racks stashed in my kitchen cupboard 🙂 I have several of the crappy ones just like yours, and most of them are limping along in a similar condition. Yet another thing I need to start keeping an eye out for on my thrift store and yard sale rounds, now that I know they exist, lol.


erika April 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I don’t know, but I was feeling the same about our dish rack today.


Beth April 17, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Uggg, I can’t count the number of times I have thought the exact same thing when something new died way too soon. I used to think buying used was icky. Now I seek out old cast iron pans, clothes that have held up through at least a few wears without falling apart, etc.


Trish [ modern thrifter ] April 17, 2011 at 8:58 pm

How did the Adam’s peanut butter do in your cookies? It seems like all of my recipes say to use Jiff or Skippy and not to use “natural” peanut butter. I have two or three jars of unopened “crunchy” Adams in the cupboard and my picky kids will only eat the creamy kind. It’s been ages since I’ve made peanut butter cookies, and now I’m craving them.


Katy April 18, 2011 at 5:54 am


I have noticed that using “natural” peanut butter in cookies makes them too dry and crumbly, although you’ll notice that I used a combination of natural, cheap-o Safeway stuff and Adams. I cheat with the Adams, and buy the “no stir” variety, which probably has hydrogenated oil. (Yup, just checked and it has hydrogenated rapeseed oil.)

Then again, if I were trying to go for the healthiest option, cookies would be a misguided route. 😀



Trish [ modern thrifter ] April 18, 2011 at 2:42 pm

That’s what I thought might happen. I’ve used the Adams a few time in monster cookies, and since there are so many other (ahem… not so healthy) ingredients, they’ve turned out okay. Plain ol’ peanut butter ones just sound so good right now. I’ll have to pick up some of the cheap stuff when it’s on sale.


Yankeegal April 18, 2011 at 4:33 am

In my previous life (pre-compact) I purchased some of the stackable cooling racks from Crate and Barrel…they are extremely sturdy-love them! I am hoping to pick up some more during the upcoming yard sale season. And I use all types of different nut butters in my cookies-they work just fine.


Tonya April 18, 2011 at 5:31 am

Agree wholeheartedly! My mother-in-law recently gave me a cookie sheet that she and my father-in-law received for their wedding- in 1947!! It’s in great shape and much sturdier than a couple other cookie sheets I have that are “newer”.


Geri Gowers April 18, 2011 at 8:45 am

Maybe it’s because we make nothing in this country anymore. I believe outsourcing is the reason for the lack of quality in products we purchase these days.


Jeanine April 18, 2011 at 8:48 am

I seriously thought the first picture was of a trivet…like to keep a hot pot off the counter.

I was waiting for you to correct the imagine, and it dawned on me.

I have 5 of those, and never once thought of using them as a cooling rack.

Thanx Katy!


Katy April 18, 2011 at 8:54 am

You say “Trivet” I say potato. 😉



Dmarie April 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm

what a cool looking cooling rack! you could proudly hang that on the wall!!


rhonda April 19, 2011 at 10:12 am

Yes, it’s so true. I think if manufacturers were required to dispose of the things that break and are not repair-able, it would provide incentive for them to manufacture stuff of better quality, and stuff that could be repaired. As it is now, there isn’t much incentive for them to do so. It would affect the upfront cost, too, which at first glance is hard for all of us trying to get by. But if what you shell your hard-earned money out for lasts the way things used to, eventually I think it would even out. And we wouldn’t all have piles of broken crap around.


Madeline April 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm

My glass pyrex and my Le Creuset pans are amongst my favorite “LAST FOREVER” items.Can you fall in love with a pot or a pan? Yes you can.Or, at least ,I can! .My Le Creuset”s are from 1988. I bought a set of 8 pieces for $99!!!At a JC PENNEY”S outlet. Swoon… I love cooking with and cleaning up these lovely pans.And my glass pyrex..well, classics!


Diane April 20, 2011 at 9:05 am

Here’s another perspective: Consumers are less willing to pay for quality.
These days, if a manufacturer makes an honest product at a fair price, it’s a much harder sell than the cheap stuff.
I’ll bet the first rack originally cost a ton more (adjusted for inflation) than the second one.


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