Thursday, January 7, 2010

Not Built to Last

I just go getting a bit too smug about this whole unemployment thing and, well, you can see for yourself....

In 2003, we bought a new washer and dryer when we moved from Illinois to Georgia. We left behind some Kenmores that we got with the last house. They must have been about fifteen years old and were still running strong.

In October 2006, the "new" washer died. We replaced it.
In November 2006, the "new"dryer conked out. Again with the replacing.

We bought the extended warranty from Lowes. We high-fived each other in the parking lot, congratulating ourselves for learning a valuable lesson about today's manufacturing methods. Things aren't built to last. Companies don't want you to have that washer/dryer for fifteen years, dummy.

A few weeks ago, the dryer started making noises. I complained, but nothing happened. The noises got louder. MathMan called the warranty company. Apparently, my dialing finger is broken. The truth is - I leave some of this stuff up to MathMan because we have terrible feuds about the division of labor. If I barrel in and do everything, I relinquish my right to gripe that he's not doing enough around here. We actually had a very funny (in retrospect) fight about that this summer, but I can't tell you because I included it in the novel.

Anyway - the tech came out yesterday (I love this guy, we talk gardening) and what do you know? What ails the dryer isn't covered under the warranty. Of course not. The dryer isn't heating up and isn't really safe to use. Repairs would be near $300. He recommended that next time we get a Kenmore or a Whirlpool.

As soon as he finished wiping my tears and left, I began considering how I might go about stealing a dryer from those perpetual yard sales set up along Highway 278 (I'll have to figure out how to hotwire some truck first), I guess I'll be doing laundry old school. Washing and hang drying in the laundry room. When the weather warms up a bit, I might even ask MathMan to string me a clothes line in the backyard.

I'd love to sputter in surprise that the universe could find yet another way to try to squeeze money out of us, just when we're about to feel the pinch of unemployment, but screw it. The silver lining is that we can reduce our carbon footprint (some), I can work or read while our clothes tumble around in the dryer when I do make the occasional trip to the laundromat and it won't kill me see how laundry was done before dryers were a common household item. I think I'd like to live back then, well, let me try my hand at it, even in this small way. At least I won't have to blue the whites and heat up my iron in the fire. Yet.......

The fact remains, there are millions and millions of people who have it far worse than I do. So my dryer is busted? It could be worse. It can always be worse. And if it ever is ..... I'll always have absinthe.


  1. Good morning, my dear! Here's your answer:

  2. Ain't it always sumpin going wrong?????

  3. On no! Can you get other estimates from other repair companies? We bought a pair when we first came here and they keep struggling along. I have had them repaired by a small appliance company 4 or 5 times. I would choose the laundramat option. I am so sorry. Hope you can find another dryer for a reasonable price.

  4. "I began considering how I might go about stealing a dryer from those perpetual yard sales set up along Highway 278 (I'll have to figure out how to hotwire some truck first)"
    Hotwiring is easy, unlocking the steering is hard.

    People used to line dry clothes outside all the time. In the winter they would freeze-dry.

  5. I know how you feel, our washer is on its last legs and the bit that will eventually do it is the door seal which dribbles at the moment. That is not covered on the warranty. I don't have a dryer they cost too much to run. So in the winter our radiators are dressed in drying washing and in the summer it all goes on the washing line. Sometimes it goes out in winter too. But not today as it would all be stiff as a board

  6. Kenmore used to be the workhorse of the masses. It used to be made by Whirlpool. Now it is made by the lowest bidder & frankly has gone to hell in a handbasket.
    Unless you are buying the highest end stuff, their quality took a dive.
    We used to have conversations about the dryer... as if it could hear us. Threats if you will.
    We've already had the dryer fixed twice. At $85 bucks for a repair guy to come to the house, it's not worth it to fix anymore.
    If it breaks down again, it's outta here.
    Like it would hear us & behave better because we've laid down the gauntlet!

    Our current Kenmore machine does this thing where it sometimes does not finish the last empty rinse & spin... so we have to manually click the dial forward to push it along.

    Kenmore ain't what it used to be.

    It rains too much here to think about hanging laundry, and stiff towels suck.

    Maybe you can get a used machine to tide you over?

    Laundromats suck too.

    We use them in a pinch or to do a large item, like a comforter. The dryers eat quarters & do a crappy job of drying.

    Back in the day when my kid was in cotton diapers (we chose not to do disposables), we bought a pair of USED Kenmore machines & they lasted several years-- much longer than 2 additional new washing machines we've already burned through.

    I think they charge more for planned obsolescence these days.

  7. I'm always stunned that this seems to be the way life works. You get broke and life makes you more broke. Why can't life make us more not broke?

  8. Laundromats - worse than slot machines. At least with a slot machine you win every once in awhile.

  9. Consumer protection against false advertising has become a thing of the past. By the time you have a Kenmore, they will be just as crappy.

  10. I wish I had answers or advice. I do have some liquor I would share with you, but it really won't help your situation.
    I have chocolate too.

  11. Ugh. Hate that...We had a warranty on our washer and they came out and told me that the broken part was not covered and it would be $300 to fix it last year. I paid $250 for the damn thing three years earlier...I told the guy to go suck it.

    Thankfully I had a bonus check and could afford the $450 for a floor model at Home Depot.

    Shit does not last anymore.

  12. Well, first of all, don't buy a Whirlpool. That's experience talking. Secondly, if you're persistent enough, I bet you can get them to cover the repairs out of warranty. That's what I did with Whirlpool when my dryer broke just short of 18 months after I bought it. And I was without it for about 2 months because it took me that long to wear them down, and it wasn't bad! I hate being without a washer, but I got so used to being without the dryer that it didn't even seem inconvenient anymore. So go ahead and open up a can of whup-ass. It will take a while, but they'll fix it.

  13. Hubby has replaced the heating element twice in our dryer at about 50 bucks a shot. The dryer is about 15 years old. Go to a moving sale or an auction and get a pair cheap. You get a week or two to see if they work properly most of the time. That is the only way I'll buy washers and dryers! The older they are the better they seem to work. We bought a new pair once and they lasted LESS than 5 years. Screw that!

  14. Bah ha ha! Your last line cracked my shit up. It's all about perspective.

  15. My old washer began piddling on the floor, and the dryer screeched. Sent old "Leak and Squeak" to the promised land(fill) and replaced them with a front load washer and dryer from Maytag. So far so good. Fortunately there are only two of us here, so the machines don't have to work nearly as hard as yours do.

    A neighbor hung laundry out whenever possible. The first sighting of her bloomers was a sure sign of Spring!

  16. What kind of fuckery is this? It makes me so angry... I loathe appliances and the companies that make them!

  17. Did you say I made in to the novel. Who cares about the dryer?


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