Planned Obsolescence

1 Jul

All of my appliances are around ten years old. When I moved in to this house, there was no kitchen and no laundry facilities, so I chose to get brand-new appliances for my lovely home.

I wanted to get all Miele stuff, but it was all very expensive, so I nixed that plan. I shopped around, looked around, did research, and in the end settled on a GE fridge, a Bosch wall oven, and Fisher & Paykel for washer, dryer, dishwasher and cooktop.

Within five years, the Bosch wall oven broiler stopped working. It’s a wall oven, so it was going to cost a buttload to fix it (around $700). So I use a toaster oven to broil.

Also within five years, the Fisher & Paykel dryer stopped working properly — the timer and different heat settings died. I called a repair shop (they are the ones who told me about the wall oven cost) and they replaced something and it stopped working again in about a week. It cost around $200, so I decided to just dry everything at the one heat that worked and keep an eye on the dryer (since the automatic shut-off died).

This winter, one of the igniters on my F&P cooktop cracked, making one of the burners not light.

The past few months, the washing machine started leaking water, which gradually got worse, so I called a different local repair place — Washer Wizards, Springfield, Mass. Their web site listed Fisher Paykel as one of the brands they service, so I asked them to come out and look at the cooktop and washing machine.

The man who came was on time, polite, and knowledgeable. He told me (to my chagrin) that Fisher & Paykel are the best washers out there (in the non-Miele price range), and they rarely break. He looked under the washer, and a hose had simply come loose — a very easy fix. He looked at the cooktop, and said it would cost about $250 to fix it (b/c of unhooking the gas line, disconnecting the unit, etc), but that I could just light the non-functioning burner with a match (yes, please). And he took a quick look at the dryer and found the previous repairman (from a different company) had wired it incorrectly. He heard some noise in the dryer motor that indicated it was doing poorly, and advocated against fixing the dryer, continuing to live with it until the motor goes.

He also said that appliances today tend to break within one year. ONE YEAR!!! That’s crazy! He theorized that it’s because everything is made overseas by overworked low paid workers who don’t have pride in their work. I think it’s because the corporations are greedy and want people to be repeat customers. Maybe a little of both.

But sheesh — ten years for appliances is considered a good stretch? I always thought of things lasting for twenty, thirty years. Well, the good news is, the washer is not leaking, the dryer still works, and now I’m cooking with gas. Also good news that the GE fridge and F & P dishwasher haven’t broken (although they might be fixin’ to do so as I write this).

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