While at lunch one day, I saw a young woman and her friend carefully applying a sheet of transparent contact (self-adhesive vinyl/polypropylene) onto the lid of a laptop.
This was clearly something sold as a “laptop protector”, as evidenced by the discarded packaging sitting on the table.

Is this like leaving the plastic wrapping on your new couch? Or putting cling wrap around your remote control? Of course, everyone is entitled to do what they will. And it does not have to make any sense to me.

The interesting thought here is on the issue of durability and wear when it comes to the finishes on the products we buy and use.

When I buy an item like a phone or a laptop, I expect the finish on the unit to be durable enough to last a reasonable length of time (say 2-3 years) under reasonable-use situations. I expect the designers to have considered how the finish will age and wear over time.

Will it develop a nice patina? Or go all flaky, horrid and nasty? As it wears over time, what will be revealed underneath?

Would it be fair to say that products that do not age with dignity are not well designed?

The finish of an item is part and parcel of the identity of the item. If I buy a shiny plasticky laptop, it is because I want the shiny plasticky finish. But if I have to then buy a sticky vinyl protection to go over it so as to avoid scratching the finish – well, what is the point?

Is this denial in action – the denial of the nature of the material used? Of course, “accessorisation” is a big business in itself, so is designed obsolescence…