08 December 2008

Home Appliances & Boomers

I’ve been harping on a certain subject. I’ve harped twice

But I have to do it again.  This WSJ article is surreal:

Home Appliances to Soothe the Aches of Aging Boomers by Paul Glader

wsj At GE's consumer and industrial headquarters in Louisville, Ky., designers use "empathy sessions" to help develop new refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers. Industrial-design intern Joanie Jochamowitz, 22, wraps her knuckles with athletic tape and wears blue rubber gloves to simulate arthritis. She shoves cotton balls in her ears to simulate hearing loss, dons special glasses to simulate macular degeneration and puts dried corn kernels in her loafers to simulate aches and pains. She grabs a walker. Then she tries to peel potatoes.

eyeglasses So will advertising agencies tape, plug, bind and blind their twenty-something creatives so they’ll be able to fashion campaigns for these products?

Even better than the article are the comments:

“ … I wonder why the GE product development team seems to only be staffed by people in their 20s and 30s -- is there a shortage of designers in their 50s, who've experienced the shortcomings of various appliances for decades first-hand and don't need tape, gloves and corn kernels to simulate physical change? Foolishly, most industrial design seems to have been dominated by men and youth, giving us car doors that rip off our fingernails, seat belts that slice into our necks, and clothes dryers that require Cirque du Soleil dexterity to retrieve anything from. Why not have more women designers in their 50s and 60s working on product development teams?”

“Didn't it occur to you how stupid it was for GE and others to put these "old" suits on 25 year olds when there are real baby boomers 62 and younger as well as some very sharp 70 year old people who have not only decades of experience, a ton of degrees that actually were hard to get and are sharp as a tack who would still love to work but because of ageism can't even get a job at Taco Bell with a PhD (?)”

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