Mr. Tucker has always had a tumultuous relationship with the appliances that came with our house. From my perspective, he has an overly inflated view of how well appliances should function in today’s age. In his view, if you pay that much for something, they should work flawlessly. Truth be told, we’re both partially right.
It started at our old house we replaced our 30-year-old top loader & dryer with an energy efficient Samsung washer & dryer. Within a year we had to call the appliance repair person who basically told us that they were garbage appliances. He came back thrice that year to fix something until finally Mr. Tucker just decided to completely replace the dryer.
Since we had previously had good experiences with Kenmore, the Sears brand, Mr. Tucker decided that we should buy that brand with one caveat: no technology! He wanted an old-school clicky dial and mechanical machine that wasn’t governed by microchips and touchscreens*. When he went to Sears (RIP *snif*) to buy one, the salesperson explained that while their machines had dials that clicked and felt like low-tech, old school versions, they still had microchips and were still riddled with technology. In fact, the chances of getting an appliance there that didn’t have a microchip in it was zero. Still, we bought the cheapest model and it went on to serve us well until we moved out of the house.
To be fair, the man who used to own The Mullet loved this house and put top-of-the-line appliances in. Some (like the Dacor gas range) work amazingly and other ones (the Frigidaire Gallery dishwasher and fridge) not so much. Overall though, the appliances have done us well over the past 5 years in the house. Still, all good things must come to an end and a few things have.
1 – Mr. Tucker gets furious with the ice maker in our refrigerator but it’s the cheap shelves that are the real issue for me. The glass shelves inside the fridge have started to crack their plastic holders, which is frustrating enough but all the door shelves have busted off too. The most exasperating part is that a door shelf is $100 – for like a 6″ x 15″ piece of plastic! That’s just bonkerstown.
2 – The wall oven died slowly over the course of the spring. In its defense, it was original to the house (built in 1962) so it didn’t owe anyone, anything. Avoiding the more common, inexpensive brands we ended up deciding to splurge on a low-tech, higher-quality Italian brand. The cost? Approximately $3000 with installation. Wall ovens are expensive though and a comparable common brand would have been $1500-$2300. We wanted to go with a quality product that would last though and hit the low-middle range of the higher quality products.
3 – Then as we waited for 3 weeks for the oven install, the dishwasher died. At some point we will have our appliance guy out to look at it but until then the kids are washing the dishes by hand. They keep asking when we will have a dishwasher again and Mr. Tucker replies, “But we already have two dishwashers!” He’s definitely in his Dad joke years.
4 – The seal on the clothes washing machine somehow became twisted and we had a small deluge in the laundry room. Thankfully, Mr. Tucker caught it in time & it was something he could fix. Still, after all the other appliance drama I think that was the last straw and had we had to ALSO replace the washer he probably would have just walked out into the woods, never to return.
When we were in the thick of all the appliance drama, one night I tried to explain that unlike previous generations – even our parent’s generation – we tend to have an overly-inflated view of how much free time we should have and how much time we should spend on life tasks. Previous generations did more home and garden maintenance than we do, and even 100 years ago the expectation that you would have any free time was not a given except for a few moments snatched here or there. Life was work from the time you got up until the time you went to sleep. But for those of us who are Gen X or younger, we tend to think of most things outside of our work hours as free time. We hire people to do a lot of the maintenance around the house that previous generations did themselves on the evenings and weekends. So when things break – as they most certainly do in the age of Planned Obsolescence – we get angry at having spent money on things that are costing us precious free time when they were designed to GIVE us more free time.
So maybe that is why we are reluctant to call the appliance repair person yet AGAIN to look at the dishwasher: the kids are washing the dishes and it is working well enough for us so why spend the money? We also made the decision to not replace the shelves in the fridge – although I did float the idea of making some out of wood. I guess the situation isn’t, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” so much as it is, “if it’s broke – do we really need it?” and “if we really need it, can we spend the money on something that won’t break down soon?” My final thought on this is something we should all consider: have I RTFM** and maintained the appliance properly? Chances are, that’s where the issue started.
*Hilarious for a man who works in IT and who used to believe in technology’s power to change the world. As the great Ella Fitzgerald once said, “What a difference a day makes.”
**Read the fucking manual