web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Once Upon A Washer

Eller-120613

In the olden days, when you bought an appliance, it lasted forever.

The hideous Caloric oven that came with my house was forty years old when it finally baked its last challah and went up to that big scrap heap in the sky.  My twenty-year-old refrigerator, while not the most energy efficient model, was working just fine when we redid our kitchen and replaced it with a newer model. My old washer and dryer weren’t particularly glamorous looking when we replaced them during the aforementioned home renovation, but you know what?  They did their jobs and never once gave me any aggravation.

Okay, maybe I’m waxing a little nostalgic.  The older appliances didn’t last forever.  But they certainly had a life expectancy that was longer than that of the average firefly, which is more than I can say for today’s models.  Call me crazy, but I want appliances that are reliable.  I don’t want my oven to tell me what time it is and I don’t need to know the precise temperature inside my refrigerator.  I promise you I am a huge fan of computers, but not inside my appliances where they break on a regular basis and drive up the cost of repairs a zillion-fold.

Is anyone else alarmed by the way extended warranties are sold on just about anything and everything? It means one of two things – either someone has found a great way of getting consumers to part with more of their hard earned dollars or manufacturers have no faith in their own products.  Neither of those options is particularly heartwarming.

Presumably we have all done our homework when we buy major home appliances and I can tell you that when we recently replaced most of ours at Chez Eller we were confident that with carefully chosen, all new appliances, it would be a long time until we next spent quality time with our favorite repairman.

Yeah, right.

Our refrigerator broke a few months after we installed it.  And that was just the first time.

Given that we were still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, that repair didn’t cost us anything, although the repairman did manage to leave behind a calling card that we would rather not have had – a gouge mark in one of our new kitchen cabinets.  Six weeks later, it died again and this time we insisted on a different service person to fix the problem.  Not only didn’t this one damage our house, but unlike the first one, he actually fixed the problem.

It was several months later when the icemaker died and two years until we started having dishwasher problems.  Remember how for years we were told not to rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher?  Apparently that advice is now passé since newer dishwashers no longer have food choppers.  What is the point in having a dishwasher if I have to remove any particles that won’t fit through the mesh screen buried deep inside my dishwasher?

But worse yet was our washing machine.  Highly recommended by a local retailer, just one year later, the same saleslady warned my daughter away from that model. From day one, the washer sounded like an airplane taking off in my house but after almost three years it took on a new persona – that of a monster crunching loudly on gravel and clocking in on my decibel meter app at almost 100 decibels.  My friendly repairman broke the news to me gently:  the machine was notoriously unreliable, structurally defective, about to break and not worth fixing.

Call me crazy.  But having to replace both a two and a half year old washing machine and its matching pedestal was just not okay.  Despite warnings that it was a lost cause, I called Whirlpool, determined to rattle some cages until someone agreed to fix my washer.

It took several lengthy phone calls for me to work my way up the chain of command, but you’d be surprised how responsive large corporations can be when you tell them you write a consumer column for a newspaper with a circulation in the tens of thousands.  A repairman was in my house checking out the problem just days later and once the requisite parts arrived, my newly rebuilt washing machine not only washes clothes, but my house no longer sounds like a JFK runway on laundry day, and the light fixtures no longer shake during the spin cycle.  While I’m guessing that most of you don’t have that particular weapon in your arsenal when dealing with problematic appliances, feel free to use any truthful means at your disposal when dealing with large companies that try to minimize bad publicity and avoid class action lawsuits when dealing with appliances that fall well below their usual standards.

Given the planned obsolescence that seems to be incorporated into the design of today’s appliances, the $64,000 question is this: should you buy extended warranties for these big-ticket items?  As the jury still seems to be out on this one, I don’t have a solid answer but I do have some suggestions.

1) Before you buy:  Check your credit cards to see if any offer some type of additional protection or warranty and if yes, be sure to use that one when purchasing major appliances.  Also it goes without saying, buy from reputable manufacturers who have track records of putting out reliable products.

2) Start Googling and see if anyone else is reporting a similar problem.  You might get lucky and find out that it is a known problem with a hopefully quick, and inexpensive, fix or that the manufacturer is already dealing with the problem.

3) Shop around for extended warranties.  You may find some that are less expensive and offer better coverage than the one being sold by the retailer, although obviously you should only buy coverage from a reliable source.  If you do buy an extended warranty in store, ask to see a copy of the contract and find out if it has to be purchased on the spot or if you have a few days leeway before you commit.

4) Read the details of any warranty you are planning to buy very, very carefully and check the fine print so that you know its length and what is and isn’t covered.  Is labor and shipping included?  House calls?  Does the warranty cover full repair and replacement of all components or are there limitations?

5) Make sure that the cost of the warranty is appropriate.  Consumer Reports recommends never paying more than 20 percent of the cost of an appliance for an extended warranty.

6) When it comes to purchasing both appliances and extended warranties, feel free to solicit your local repairman for some free advice.  Ask him which brands he recommends and which ones you are better off avoiding.

7) Instead of purchasing an extended warranty, set up an extended warranty fund of your own.  Either set aside the cost of a warranty you might have purchased or a set amount of money per week so that should the need ever arise, the money for your repair will already be in place.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Once Upon A Washer”

  1. You just had some bad luck and bought a bad appliance. Most will last ten years, but if you're one of the people who gets the one that dies the next year, you'll wish you bought the warranty that most people feel is a waste of money (when nothing dies within the coverage period). You're definitely right about all the tech and other devices that get attached to appliances and other things. The fridge doesn't need an internet connection. Cars don't need all these electrical motors to operate every simple thing our hands could do just as easily and quickly. There is a market for appliances and vehicles that have as few breakable components as possible, but we keep marching down this path where once one of the unnecessary components breaks, the entire machine stops functioning…or forces the cost of production and the pricetag to go up. And what's the deal with all the toys that require batteries? Are kids too lazy to pull a string these days? We've got to put batteries in everything, making everything useless once the batteries are dead….maybe that's the goal. Corporations, in their drive to increase sales, have utilized planned obsolescence in ways that are harmful to the consumer and the future. They all say they promote green practices, but we know the truth….they produce things in ways and encourage lifestyles that fill landfills with plastic trash and worn-out batteries. And I agree that you shouldn't have to do the dishes before loading the dishwasher. Whatever happened to "keeping it simple"?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Colin H. Kahl, VP Joe Biden's new national security adviser.
Biden’s New NSA Chief Mocked Israeli Nuke Fears
Latest Sections Stories
Israeli winery

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

Mindy-092614-Choc-Roll

I should be pursuing plateaus of pure and holy, but I’m busy delving and developing palatable palates instead.

Schonfeld-logo1

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

If we truly honor the other participants in a conversation, we can support, empathize with, and even celebrate their feelings.

I witnessed the true strength of Am Yisrael during those few days.

She writes intuitively, freely, and only afterwards understands the meaning of what she has written.

“I knew it was a great idea, a win-win situation for everyone,” said Burstein.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

“I would really love my mother-in-law …if she weren’t my mother-in-law.”

For each weekly reading, Rabbi Grysman begins with a synopsis of the Torah portion, followed by a focus on a major issue.

It’s Rosh Hashanah. A new year. Time for a fresh start. Time for a new slate. Time for change.

Governor Rick Scott visited North Miami Beach/Aventura on the morning of Wednesday, September 17.

While the cost per student is higher than mainstream schools, Metzuyan Academy ESE is a priceless educational opportunity for children with special needs in South Florida.

Challah-pa-looza helped get the community ready and excited about the upcoming Jewish New Year.

More Articles from Sandy Eller
Eller-092614-Americare

“I knew it was a great idea, a win-win situation for everyone,” said Burstein.

A-Night-Out-logo

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

Scan those sale circulars either online or when they show up at your doorstep, check out the sale items and plan your menus accordingly.

“We are strong chassidic women and we take the name, we embrace it, and we own it.”

“My father added that after all the pogroms, after the Holocaust, a member of the family had finally returned to the shul, proving once again that the indomitable spirit of the Jewish people can never be vanquished.”

In recent months I have found there are certain things not worth buying and with the help of everyone’s best friend, Google, recipes for some of them are literally at the tip of your fingers.

The chicken and waffle nuggets were fabulous and were like chicken in a dessert form.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/once-upon-a-washer/2013/12/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: