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‘Planned obsolescence?’ She’ll go to battle with her fridge rather than by a new one

This old fridge is not going to a landfill without a fight.
This old fridge is not going to a landfill without a fight. Special to The Star

“They don’t make things like they used to.”

Now, congratulate me for officially sounding old. Don’t worry it won’t hurt my feelings because my kids have been roasting me for a week about “channeling their grandpa.”

I can’t help it. I don’t care if I sound like an octogenarian because I’m ticked off. The focus of my wrath is my appliances. It’s been a summer of kitchen failures from the dishwasher to the refrigerator and spoiler alert – these appliances aren’t old and they aren’t some shady off-brand. None of them have even celebrated their fifth birthday. This is why I’m flabbergasted that they would be breaking down.

Quick back-story — My parents owned a Kenmore washer and dryer in a not so very fetching shade of harvest gold. They purchased this duo when I was in kindergarten and both the washer dryer outlived my parents! Who makes appliances that last almost 50 years? I’m guessing the quick answer is no one.

Meanwhile, I have appliances that are basically still in their infancy going on life support. When I aggressively complained about this to my son he told me that it’s called “planned obsolescence” and I should get used to it.

Of course I know about the concept of planned obsolescence (#iPhones). But seriously one would hope that appliances would last more than five years if only to keep the landfills free from French door refrigerators in fingerprint resistant stainless steel.

Last month, when our dishwasher started making a sound that made me think evil spirits possessed the Cascade pods I was using and were performing an exorcism on the rinse aid dispenser, I immediately summoned by husband for help. When his diagnosis was to call a repair person I wasn’t having it. I went online to try to determine the problem and after two hours of my head in the dishwasher I gave up and, you guessed it, called for professional help.

The next week when the refrigerator started leaking water I entered the deluxe ticked off zone. My husband, apparently more comfortable with a drippy frig than a demonic dishwasher, was confident he could fix it. This meant he went straight to YouTube for refrigerator tutorials. Lo and behold, every tutorial said almost the same thing – Yes, you can temporarily fix the leak, but it’s going keep to coming back.

The assorted YouTube frig techs were unanimous that the refrigerator had an inherent design flaw and was doomed. This was a line in the sand for me. I wasn’t going to get a new refrigerator. I was going to subvert the leak. This means that once a week I have to do fridge first aid.

The leak collects in the lower part of the refrigerator, and for some reason freezes and then it melts which results in a leaky fridge. My ER duties included soaking up the water with a beach towel and then getting a knife and chopping up the ice that has collected.

My husband believes I’m being a stubborn fool. But, I think I’m taking a stand. I will no longer be at the mercy of the planned obsolescence overlords. Plus, have you priced new refrigerators lately? Cha-ching. I will use a Coleman camping cooler before I pay four figures for a refrigerator.

This is why you will find me every week armed with towels, a butter knife and brute force going to battle with planned obsolescence. It’s a fight I plan to win. Some may call me crazy but I prefer the word “warrior.”

Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@ gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs on Instagram @snarky.in.the.suburbs, and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.

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