My Stupid Appliances: Proof That We Live In An Age Of Mediocrity
Last week, our washing machine went on the fritz – again. It’s less than three years old. The same thing has happened to our dishwasher. It is the same age, and it’s been broken four times. FOUR TIMES. In fact, it’s broken as we speak. I simply can’t be bothered to call the service guy to come back and fix it again. I’d rather just wash the damn dishes myself. I did it for twenty years – that’s how long it took us to save enough money to actually BUY a dishwasher. Anyway, it was no biggie. I managed.
Here’s the story. When we moved into our new house three years ago, we bought all new appliances to go with it. In making our choices, my husband and I foolishly thought, Hey, we aren’t poor students anymore. We can get something nice – something that will presumably last forever, or for ten years, at least. Boy, were we wrong.
Our technician Frank – yes, he’s a friend now – told us that what we’ve been experiencing is typical. “They just don’t make appliances the way they used to,” he said – a direct quote from someone who has been in the business for some twenty years. “They make the parts out of plastic now.” Obviously.
I know what the companies are thinking too – sure, they are less durable, but the materials are cheaper. Besides, people will pay to fix them when they break. They need their washing machines, their dishwashers, and their refrigerators. What are we gonna do? Wash our pants down by the river on one of those knuckle-erasing scrub boards? It was bad enough taking six loads to the bloody laundromat. I know – middle class people problems.
No, I just paid the-warranty-has-expired $800. The thing didn’t cost much more than that. I should also make myself a t-shirt that says, “Fuck me – I can take it.” Here I’m referring to life screwing me over. It’s not an invite for random strangers. Just FYI [wink, wink].
Personally, I think this half-assed-ness is everywhere in today’s society. OK, so it’s not quite everywhere. That’s an exaggeration. The leather couch that I bought a while ago from The Eleanor Rigby Leather Company is a real beauty, even with the cat claw marks slashed across the seat. She’s a tank, my Veracruz two-cushion, Italian leather paladin. I have no doubt that she’ll be around for centuries. She’s like Stone Henge in couch form. She was one quality purchase, but here’s the thing – yes, in her case, we got what we paid for, but we paid one pretty penny.
That’s how it is though. You see, there’s the “utter” crap – the Dollar Store fare, the “marginally better” regular crap – the goods you buy at Walmart, the “stuff that looks nice but is still crap” crap – I’m thinking IKEA here, the “pretends to be quality but really can’t withstand the test of time” crap – the stuff you get at Sears, The Bay, or any other random department store, and the “good quality but nobody but Rihanna can afford it” gear – I won’t call it “crap” – that you buy in stores where there is a security guard standing at the door.
I could have bought a $15 000 Sub Zero refrigerator. I like the side-by-side, one half glass, one half not, model. No doubt, it would last marginally longer than three years. But that’s $15 000. Most people buy cars with that amount of money.
I buy what most people buy – the majority of which is garbage. I could make a list. I also bought some sheets that were supposed to be nice. 700 thread count, or so it said on the package. They pilled in about six months. Or how about those pillows my daughter forced me to get from the aforementioned Swedish furniture and accessories labyrinth? They literally disintegrated in less time than it takes me to vacuum the kitchen.
But it’s not just home appliances, bedroom accessories, and microwaves. (Yeah, my microwave is broken too. That lasted less than a year. Panasonic, you douche.) I bought a book off of Amazon called Black Steel And White Satin: Naughty Bedtime Stories For Interracial Lovers. Talk about wow, wow, wow – not good “wows” either. And I know, the fact that the main characters in the first story are named “Hon” and “Babe” should’ve tipped me off. It didn’t – so sue me. (Note: I haven’t linked the book to anything. There’s no way in hell that you want to buy it. Trust me on this one.)
And don’t even get me started on the fact that Kim Kardashian and Lil Wayne are the inspiration for many of the young people today. Actually, if you ask me, I feel like Lil Wayne – as foul-mouthed and ridiculous as he is – is actually doing something. It takes time to have all those tattoos inked on, doesn’t it? He has a point of view too – a message, however screwed up it may be. In my opinion, “shawty wanna hump, you know I like to touch ya lovely lady lumps” is better than being famous for doing absolutely nothing. I give him points for actually formulating some sort of idea.
All sarcasm aside, why are we celebrating stupid? Why do we flock to stores in droves on Sunday afternoon to buy rubbish? Does anyone really NEED that glass bowl filled with rocks to put in the middle of their coffee table? Do we even need the coffee table?
I’ve decided, I’m going to start fresh. I’m going to purge all that is mediocre from my life. I’d rather have one piece of furniture, or one pair of pants, or one plate, or one song on my iPod, or whatever, that is worthy of keeping, rather than cluttering up my life with a whole collection of junk just so my “space” or my “person” can fit into society’s notion of what is “right” or “cool”. I know, I’m getting deep here. Basically, it means that if we have guests over, I’ll be sitting on the floor. I don’t mind. I do it with my cats all the time. Pets get priority seating on furniture at my house. My husband doesn’t agree, but his heart is partly made of stone.
Sure, I’d like my dishwasher to work again – because I’ve been spoiled these past few years – but I’ll wait for my husband to take it apart and fix it. It’s good that he’s handy that way. It makes up for his stone heart. Besides, I hear that washing dishes can be a lot like meditating, and after all the stress I’ve suffered from all of these broken G.D. appliances, I need all the calming strategies I can get.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and delete Robin Thicke from all of my music playlists.
Miele To Bosch: Are Dishwashers Over $1000 Worth It? Just FYI, my washing machine is a Bosch, and my dishwasher is a KitchenAid