Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton

The Rip Van Winkle Effect

I got the term "Rip Van Winkle Effect" from my father. It refers especially to the effect of a perfectly serviceable product going off the market and no longer becoming available.

The particular example at hand is my hat. Lori bought me a black Minnetonka Weekender Hat several years ago, and I now wear it just about 365 days a year. The crushable felt has been great; I don't have to worry about it being squashed, because it returns to shape without a problem.

But the hatband has started to come detached, and it's flopping loose at one end. And it's turned dark brown instead of black from years of dust. So I decided to buy another one. And that's what led me to discover that Minnetonka no longer manufactures this style of hat.

Not all is lost, though. There are some websites that still have this style of hat in stock. But now I'm waffling about how many to get.

Buying two hats instead of just one seems entirely reasonable. But if a hat lasts me for six years, the second one will wear out when I'm 45--and I can imagine myself feeling just as put out about the lack of my favored style of hat then as I am now. So maybe I want three, or even four--but it seems
pretty audacious to imagine myself wearing the same style of hat for the remainder of our mortgage. On the other hand, at $30 for six years of constant wear, it's probably worth the risk to get an extra hat.

I'm going to buy four. Check back in 2030 or so to see how cranky I am about the last one wearing out.
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