From Dishwashers to Defibrillators

I’m having appliance and cardiac breakdowns.

I have trouble getting off my wallet. I seem to prefer cash to stuff and don’t consider myself much of a shopping enthusiast.

So, when I feel forced to spend money on things I hadn’t planned for or don’t find exciting—like home appliances—I get a bit cranky.

Last month, our 15-year-old dishwasher began leaving bits of dried Cocoa Puffs and smears of spaghetti sauce on the dishes. I Googled “how to clean a dishwasher,” thinking this would help. It has.

But I figure this old machine is probably not long for this world, so I began shopping for a replacement. My slack-jawed astonishment at the price of appliances has surely frightened more than a few salespeople. (They should keep defibrillators mounted on little wheelie carts to follow people like me around the store.)

I asked, “What makes one dishwasher $500 and another $1,200?”

The answer is always, “Features.”

How about this feature? How about clean dishes for less than hiring a part-time employee to scrub them for me?

I’m told, “They’re quiet.”

What? Am I doing dishes in a public library or a daycare center at naptime? I’m not sure I can afford quiet. Anyway, I have children. I’m used to noise.

I’ve decided to delay purchasing a new dishwasher, biding my time and praying it doesn’t decide to throw up watery casserole chunks all over my kitchen floor, thus increasing my household noise to unprecedented levels of profanity.

In the meantime, my 16-year-old washing machine went kaput. The hubs found a $200 replacement part. This would seem unreasonably expensive compared to the cost of buying a similar machine for around $400.

But why buy a similar machine when the entire world has fancy, new, front-loading, energy-efficient, space-age washers that do things I don’t understand and are sold at prices I don’t want to pay? How have I survived all these years without a steam cycle? (Oh, and every salesperson mentions how “quiet” they are.) For goodness sakes! For $1,200 I can pay somebody to hold feather pillows over my ears while I type.

And how does one choose? Search most starred customer rating sites and find any number of Unabomber types ready to go off over how their new washer broke within weeks of purchase. I ask about this. “Oh yeah,” I’m told, “Front-loaders don’t last. Their life expectancy is around 8-10 years.” What?!

Let me get this straight. I can pay double the money for a washing machine that will last half as long as the one I’ve been using? But front-loaders use less water, detergent and electricity. That’s a bonus and can amount to between $30 to $100 per year depending on how much laundry a person does.

So, the way I figure it, about the time I recoup the extra cost of this fancy machine by way of energy savings, it’s due to break down. Alrighty then. Let me just dump out my purse for one of these babies.

Reluctant shopper turned bandwagon jumper

I bought a Kenmore Elite with Accela-Wash from Sears. It should be here tomorrow. I’m hoping I’ll be as happy as when I finally caved and got a smartphone.

Speaking of which, a defibrillator app would be a wonderful invention for people like me.


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Y2K September 18, 2012 at 05:39 PM
It's called Craigslist. People (especially the folks here in good old stainless-is-the-new-black-is-the-new-white-is-the-new-whatever Woodbury) are constantly upgrading their 2 year old, practically new appliances, with whatever is the latest trend. The perfectly modern old stuff ends up on craigslist, usually at a crazy discount in perfect working order.
Kris Janisch September 18, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Thanks for the tip Arin!
HHF34 September 18, 2012 at 09:50 PM
First, stop shopping at Sears, start shopping at your local appliance store! Simon's Appliance in IGH or Bathricks in Hastings - we've found comperable to better prices than what the big box guys were charging, they had better service, and if there ever was a problem, you got through to the guy who was going to actually do the fixing instead of a scheduler. We've got a Speed Queen washer (one of the few still made in the USA) that is still going strong 10 years later (I still find it funny how today they talk about water efficient washing machines but I remember sud saver from when I was a kid), and a Kitchen Aid Dishwasher that is quiet and gets the dishes remarkably clean..
Angela Johnson September 19, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Good to know HHF34. Thanks for the tips! And thx for reading.


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