Convinced my purchase would revolutionize my family’s media consuming experience, on October 28th of 2016, I ordered the Logitech Harmony Ultimate All in One Remote from Amazon. At the time, the price was $169.99, but price was of no concern to me. Did you not see the word “ULTIMATE” right there in the actual name?
I soon learned, however, the cost substantially exceeded the price.
How many times, when we make a purchase, do we only consider the monetary price of the object and neglect to consider the full cost of what we choose to bring into our lives? Costs that include maintenance, time investment, storage, upkeep, support, subscriptions, upgrades, mental energy, and more.
In the case of my Harmony remote, the list of things not considered that led to it being shoved in a box in the attic makes me sick to my stomach. But I document my failures in hope that you’ll learn from my (oft-repeated) mistakes.
Where was I going to put it? The remote requires a dock for charging and there are a limited number of outlets in our living room. No matter which one I picked, it would increase the clutter.
How often do I need to update it to keep it relevant? Each update would mandate connecting it to my computer, downloading the update, installing it, making sure it didn’t break the existing settings, etc.
How do I install it? Installation meant finding shelf space in my media cabinet as well as another empty outlet. It also demanded IR emitters to be routed and placed in front of any device it would control. Given the cramped space and wad of cords in there already, this promised to be a frustrating task. (And it was)
How do I configure it? Once installed, I needed to customize the software to match my media center components. As well as favorite channels, settings, etc.
What do I do when I add a new component? If I were to upgrade my Blu-ray player to a 4K-player, it would require going through the installation and configuration all over again in order to incorporate that component.
How do I train the family to use it? Ideally, if I did all of the above steps correctly, I would barely have to show my family how to use it. For anyone out there though that has ever tried to show someone else how to use even a simple remote, you know how laughable that statement is.
Exhausted yet? I know I was.
I completed the steps above and the remote lasted about two weeks. After that, it sat in its charging cradle unused for six months before I finally yanked it and the miles of cords out of the media cabinet. Because the price was $170, I couldn’t bring myself to dump it in the trash where it belonged. Instead, it went into a box and the gadget graveyard known as our attic, where it sits and occasionally makes a tiny withdrawal from my mental energy. I know it’s there.
If we look beyond the price tag and consider all of the current and future costs involved in making a purchase, I wonder how many times we would walk away both empty-handed and grateful.
My attic overflows with gadgets I bought and later abandoned because I only considered the price, and never thought about the cost. Unfortunately, the Harmony remote is only one example.
Would you like to buy it from me? I can sell it to you for price you wouldn’t believe.
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