Saturday, November 07, 2015
We recently replaced our toaster. It was twenty years old; it still worked fine but the cord would get very hot indicating that the internal strands of wire had broken from years of use. I suppose I could have just replaced the power cord but Dorothy thought it was time for a new, modern stainless steel model. It's pretty fancy with settings for bagels, warm up, and you can even defrost frozen bread before it is toasted. I hope it lasts another twenty years but I don't have much confidence in contemporary appliance quality. And here's why:
In 1976 we bought an upright freezer from Montgomery Ward (remember them?). That freezer gave us 34 years of trouble free service and then one day in 2010 it quit. We bought another one. We plugged it in, the light came on, and it began to hum. It never got cold inside. We called the department store and they picked it up and left us with an identical freezer. It works fine but leaks water. There is a copper line under the freezer that gets encrusted with frost that, during the defrost mode, condenses into a pool of water on the floor. There is a plastic reservoir that is supposed to catch the condensate but it doesn't. Poor design. Instead of insisting on a new freezer we just lay paper towels down to absorb the moisture. If we replaced the freezer we may get another lemon so we'll just make do.
We bought a new refrigerator, all stainless steel, french doors and bottom freezer. It has more cubic feet that the old one yet holds less food. There is a water and ice dispenser in the door but I cannot get a full glass of ice without a cube or two flying off in random directions and onto the floor. It seems modern appliances are very nice to look at but are lacking in functionality.
My daughter recently bought a new dish washer. It didn't actually clean the dishes. I checked it out and even called the customer service line. The service rep had me hold my phone to a location on the washer and an electronic signal was uploaded and used to diagnose the problem. It didn't work. So a technician was dispatched to her house and he replaced a part. It still remains to be seen whether that will be a permanent fix.
We're living in an age where we are driven by rampant consumerism to buy expensive, flashy products that are nothing but junk in disguise. But isn't that true of our politics, religion, and most of our modern culture?