A few weeks ago, I learned the working lifespan of an EMPI interior door handle.
It turns out to be eight years.
Shorter than I would have hoped, but longer than I should have expected.
In 56 years of driving, this was the first door handle ever to break in two in my hand. And I’ve used quite a few door handles in that time - sometimes in haste, sometimes in exasperation, and occasionally in anger. Before this, though, every other door handle has been up to the task every single time.
But not the EMPI.
It’s not like I wasn’t cutting the EMPI door handle some slack. I knew it was a cheap copy of a handle that had been designed by an engineer to withstand certain expected stresses. The EMPI was designed just to look like the original and manufactured at the lowest possible cost.
So, knowing that, I haven’t been using it like a real door handle. I’ve made allowances. I work it gently. Never in anger. I make sure I never use it to pull the door shut. I’ve treated it like a museum piece that should be preserved for future generations.
It still broke.
So, I manned up. I did what I should have done eight years ago. I went to the Stoddard catalog and laid out 70 bucks for a pair of handles that look almost exactly like the EMPI handles, but that cost three times as much.
Why didn’t I do that eight years ago?
Well, this probably won’t make any sense to you, but I was thinking short term. Why waste 75 bucks when I can get almost the same thing for 25? How much difference could there be? Now understand this is just me. I’m pretty sure most of EMPI’s customers would gladly pay three times as much for a properly engineered handle if EMPI stocked their warehouse with them, right?
It must be the nutball, cheapo fringe types like me that EMPI caters to.
There are only a few of us out here, so I don’t understand how EMPI makes any money at all serving this market.
And I’m sorry if I’ve ruined it for the rest of you and you can’t find a decently made door handle at EMPI any more.
It’s mainly my fault.