"These happy golden years are passing by, these happy golden years." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mrs. Mac Rants About Plain Old New Junk

What is happening to newly manufactured products. Nothing is made to have lasting value any longer ... be it new household appliances, kids toys, printers, etc. This week I've been searching for a whistling tea kettle to give as a gift. It's to replace an inexpensive one my oldest daughter, Elizabeth, bought when she first got married three years ago. Hers is already falling apart. After searching high and low and examining the ones for sale at general merchandise stores, I have not been able to find a decent replacement.

Last month the control panel on my microwave-hood combo short circuited/warped. Purchased new when we built our home in 2007, it just couldn't handle the heat from the way I cook .. i.e. canning .. and the last time I cooked my kids a fried chicken dinner, it went kaput. Both our new refrigerator and stove have needed repairs as well. And while the repairman was out I had him listen to my (supposed to be ultra quiet) noisy dishwasher ... he informed me the pump had between six months to two years left on it. Not to mention my high efficiency washer that needed several costly repairs before I got an old fashioned replacement with push/pull/dials and no brain; it uses more water and power, but at least it runs. There are several manufacturers involved so I'm not outing any one in particular {LG, WHIRLPOOL, JENN-AIR}

Makes me wonder if the manufacturers are partners with the repair folks. Also makes me wonder how efficient and 'green' such junk/appliances/merchandise is if it prematurely ends up in the landfill. What new junk have you had to get repaired or rid of lately?

My little short circuit episode set me back nearly $700 to replace the microwave with a heavy duty exhaust hood, installations fees, and repairing the tile back splash when the microwave oven was removed.

I wonder if this is one of the 'efficient' ways our government is trying to get more people gainfully employed ;(


Felisol said...

Dear Mrs. Mac,
I so agree. They just make junk nowadays, be it kitchen machinery, cars, light bulbs, nylon stockings or IKEA sofas.
I hate it.
My husband has this slogan;"I consume, therefore I am consumed."
But if you bought your kitchen wares 1 1/2years ago, there was another chief in The White House..

Well, I blame the greedy manufacturers, and I have a great distaste for them.
Willingly and with open eyes they have moved all industry to Asia.
They are to blame for lack of work for Americans as well as West Europeans.

I for certain think twice what I buy and from whom I buy.
My first washing machine lasted for fourteen years, my second just for the guaranteed five and my last has no guarantee at all.
From Felisol

Letters From Midlife said...

I could have written this post! Our appliances have held up well but things like teakettles, small appliances like hand mixers, etc., seem so cheap these days.

Anonymous said...

Our 'new' dishwasher is already acting-up. The dial gets stuck at 7o'clock and has to be manually turned one notch to finish the cycle. Means that we can't leave the house after just starting it.

Perhaps the appliance manufacturers have learned planned obsolescence from the car makers. Looks like they did not finish the lesson...where consumers shifted their purchases to foreign-made products that lasted longer.

Now, now, please also remember, you live in a rural/small town area. Do you shop online? Well, shipping for a microwave might be a prohibitive....

A worthy rant, Mrs. Mac. Good luck finding a new teapot!
With love, Barbara

Pat said...

My daughter Amy's micro melted over her stove too. I'm beginning to think that's not the best place to mount it. Her fairly new Jenn
-Air fridge isn't to healthy either. My appliances have been pretty good, I don't buy high end, just kind of middle priced. What I fear is that when these oldies but goodies do quit, the new ones won't last nearly as long.
My new washer is your middle priced top loader. It is a LOT nosier then the old one. I'm glad it's in the basement where it doesn't really matter how loud it is!

Mrs. Mac said...

I think I will hit some yard sales or thrift stores ... if I can find an older tea kettle, it will surely be made better than what can be purchased new.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. Mac,

I, too, think the new appliances are made to last only about 5 to 7 years, if that. We recently had to replace our toaster (which was purchased from a second hand store about 18 years ago). It was the heavy chrome type from Toastmaster with a cloth cord. Best toaster we ever had. No fancy settings - only toasted 2 slices of bread at the same time, etc. But, when we went to replace it, we ended up buying 2 different toasters before we got one that even worked!! I say bring the manufacturing back to the good old USA. I can't believe how many things are made in China - no wonder our country is in the mess it's in. About the teakettle - have you tried Costco? I bought mine there about 5 or 6 years ago and it's still doing great.
Love your blogs!!!!

Mrs. Mac said...

Dear Tiffy (aka Mom). I did try Costco ... that's where you bought the one you gave to me. They only sell an electric tea kettle ... Elizabeth has no extra counter space for another small electric appliance. I'm telling you, thrift/consignments stores are the way to go if you want older quality stuff.

Trish said...

When purchasing my stove a while back...I casually said to the salesman that the stove I was replacing was over 20 years. And without hesitation he replied "this one will never last you that long!" So far it's been almost 11 years...we'll see.
My Washer and Dryer...junk by Frigidaire! They are 14 years old and my Tomer has worked on them since the year after purchasing them!!! I can't tell you the number of times he has torn them apart! Thankfully, he does all of our repairs...saves us lots of money.

Trish said...

Oh, I bought my stainless steel whistling tea kettle at Penney's...love it and we have had it about 5 years!

Mrs. Mac said...

Trish ... five years is about as long as I've had my nice heavy one ... go check out the ones made now .. they're so light weight that they easily dent ... and fall apart. Now maybe if I want to spend $100 for one, but who has that kind of money ;)

Mrs. Mac said...

The Asia connection as Felisol mentioned is correct. And our current mode of manufacturing ... outsourcing ... even our lumber is grown stateside .. shipped off shore to foreign ship owners .. milled and returned. How sad is that. When I went to Leavenworth, WA a few weeks ago, I was aghast at the cheap quality of 'fake Bavarian' goods .. linens, etc. that were horribly made. I've heard that in Europe the same thing is happening.

Constance said...

WOW! I think you are familiar with the washing machine saga at our house! We replaced our old dumbed down regular washing machine with a SEARS front-loader 5 years ago! 3 years into it, one of the inner drums (not covered by warranty) was shot! So, we bought a new washing machine since repairs were only *$200 less than a new washer! After 15 months, it too began leaking water! Fortunately, I had them place the drip pan under the replacement just in case! The repairman was out just this past Friday and fixed it in *15 minutes. There was a chunk missing out of the rubber seal that is around the front openingand he put a new rubber seal on it. Now I am waiting to see if that was indeed the problem since the warranty runs out in Dec!

As a testimony though, Dave and I got a new AMANA microwave (the size of a SMARTCAR) when we got married that lasted over 22 years!! We just replaced it this past January. I seriously doubt this new one will last that long though.

Dave's dad still uses the old 1950's era NORGE refrigerator that they bought when they were newlyweds backn in 1951! Can you believe it?

donna said...

the salesman that sold us our washer and dryer said the same thing Trish...the new set will never last 25 years like the last ones did...our only other purchase has been a stove...10 years ago when we bought the house...there was a dishwasher....but Ron is taking it out this weekend...it quit working and I dont want another one...I like washing dishes while staring out my kitchen window...plus I can use install some open shelving in that newly gained space...

Margie said...

they don't make things to last... if they did you wouldn't buy anymore... capitalism at it's finest.

Maggie Ann said...

I hear you for sure! We are still having frig trouble even with the ice maker shut down. Hubby has repaired our maytag washer 3 times so far, I try not to ever put a full load in it.

Norma said...

I'm with you on this one! My Maytag dishwasher is 5 years old and all the racks have corroded, and I just replaced my 6 year old Maytage dryer.