The Little Irritations of Life #16: Wheelie Bag Wheels

I know that I am treading on Simon Turner-Tree’s territory here by being so bold as to mention a Little Irritation of my own, but I like to believe that Simon might be sympathetic to my particular Little Irritation; plus, Mudskipper blogs are a broad and inclusive church, and not inclined to be censorious when it comes to a crossover between denominations.

Anyhow, my gripe concerns wheelie bag wheels and, more specifically, their lack of durability.

500 wheel 1

Wherever my travels have taken me so, too, follows an inevitable amount of baggage.  In the past, I favoured a backpack; in recent years, a wheelie bag.  My problem is that I want my wheelie bag to go to all the same kind of places where my backpack once went.  I want a wheelie bag that will go over rough terrain; uneven surfaces; inclines; indistinct tracks; long distances.  I want my wheelie bag to be an off-roader; I want it to be a Land Rover Discovery, not a Fiat Cinquecento.

However, most wheelie bags are only designed to travel the short, smooth distance between the check-in desk and the airport departure lounge.  Or, at least, the wheels are.

500 wheel 2

In the last few years, I have got through countless wheelie bags and yet never once has the fabric of the bag itself failed me; it is always the wheels, which prove to be the weak spot; it is always the wheels that get shredded.

Why not invent a wheelie bag that comes with replacement wheels?  Currently, the design of almost all wheelie bags is the same, where the wheels are an integral component of the bag itself, inseparable and unreplaceable.

500 wheel 3

Of course, I know the answer to my question.  Economics.  Wheelie bag manufacturers want their bags to fail after a certain––short––length of time; built-in obsolescence is a key driver of globalisation.

So, I am left on the look-out for a replacement wheelie bag knowing, that in a few months’ time, I will be looking for a replacement for this replacement, and feeling exactly the same sense of irritation.

© E. C. Glendenny


E. C. Glendenny offers forgiveness at the altar of Simon Turner-Tree.

Check out some of Simon Turner-Tree’s irritations from non-concussive taps to urban cyclists; from the unstackability of Heinz baked beans to ripen at home fruit.

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