This weekend, I read a good op-ed piece in the New York Times regarding another drain on the American wallet. It's all about planned obsolescence and our throw away society. This is something I feel like we've been living since we moved into this house. In the first year we were here we have replaced the washer, dryer and dishwasher. We've had to have a major repairs on the air conditioning and the water heaters. The refridgerater also has an issue. It isn't critical, but it would cost $800 to repair. This house is only 6 years old...as are the appliances.
In this piece, Gerri Hirshey opens talking about her stove, which happened to be engineered to be non-repairable.
Do you remember when we were kids? Our parents bought a refridegerater or a new furnace, or a washer....and they were done. If there was a problem, a repair guy could make it right in a matter of a couple of hours. Why have we come to accept that when something breaks, it should be replaced...whether it cost us $10 or $1000?
I have this strong feeling of guilt when I throw out an iron, or a hairdryer, or A COMPUTER because it makes more sense to replace it than repair it. I remember going in to the repair shop with my dad with a tv or a radio...of COURSE those things could be fixed. No more.
Today, our dryer (less than 6 months old) stopped working. It has all kinds of fancy indicator lights and it "said" that the air flow was restricted. That puzzled me because I do clean out the lint trap every single time. We got into cleaning out the vents anyway, but while we were doing that...something started beeping from somewhere else in the house. We thought it was a smoke detector needing a battery. Aaron climbed up to change it but it didn't take a battery...it was hard wired into the house. He disconnected the unit, but the beeping continued. In the meantime I was reassembling the dryer venting but I still got the "restricted flow" readout and no heat.
We finally came to realize that the beeping was coming NOT from the smoke detectors but from the carbon monoxide detectors. We looked them up online and determined that it was signaling a malfunction, not a life threatening situation. These were hardwired into the house as well and Aaron ended up disconnecting them too.
On Friday, our phones stopped working. We have no dial tone. We have a phone/cable/internet package from the cable company and our tv and computers are still working. So, it seems to me that it's something in the phone lines in the house.
Consequently, this week will most likely be spent waiting for repairmen. How's that for a complete pain in the ass. I don't even know who to call about the CO monitors.
It's corporate America's dirty little secret to keep us on the consumer hook on a regular basis. What a stroke of marketing brilliance, manufacture items engineered to irreparably fail. It's exacerbated by the fact that everything is made overseas and the order goes to the lowest bidder. We no longer expect quality in anything.
On top of that...now they can actually convince us that the extended warranty is a good idea. They continue to rake in the dough and we pay betting that the new appliance, tv or computer is barely going to outlast the factory warranty period. What's wrong with THAT picture?
We could get into how women are sucked into another form of planned obsolescence...it's called fashion. That's a discussion for another day.