In our house we have an aging problem. Things are starting to really not be as smooth as usual, getting more clunky, and making noises that are unexpected and less than delightful.
No, I’m not talking about hubby and I, and although I could be, I’m actually talking about our old appliances. About half of them were still original from when the house was built which meant we needed to have a plan for how we would replace them. It’s like I said to my husband one day, if the dishwasher goes, it’s kind of a pain, and if the microwave goes, it starts to hurt a bit more. If it’s the stove, well now we’re getting really serious and if it’s the refrigerator, well that’s a trip TODAY to buy something. So, we’d been looking, planning, saving and trying to decide what would be getting bought first based on what was giving us trouble, and what was annoying us most on any given day. About six weeks ago I finally couldn’t take it, and with early Black Friday sales upon us, talked him into a new dishwasher, and off to the appliance store we went to pick out a new dishwasher.
As we waited for our delivery day, something unexpected happened. I went to put something in the microwave one morning and heard a horrendous combination grinding/growling sound. One second later I flung the door open and turned it off. We fiddled with it a bit, tried again and got the same result. Back to the appliance store we went and our wonderful salesman, Dominic, chuckled and said “yep, cracked your magnetron tube. It’s cheaper to buy a new microwave than replace those.” So we picked out a new one of those, and added it to the dishwasher order. Remember what I said about it hurting a bit more if the microwave went out? Guess what…it hurts a lot! I never realized how much we’ve come to rely on it. Need soft butter in a hurry? Not happening. Want to have a quick cup of hot chocolate or tea? Nope. Reheat some leftovers? Yeah, that isn’t going to work either. Seriously, this thing that my family didn’t own 30 years ago, is something we can barely live without in 2019.
What really surprised me, however was what happened AFTER it arrived. Last time we bought appliances, which was only 3 years ago, we got wonderful manuals with them, chock full of “here’s what you have, how you use it, etc.” This time around our ‘user manual’ was 4 pages long, printed on cheap, thin paper. It barely told us more than “here is the on button”. If you want to know anything about your appliances, you need to go to the company’s website and download the user manual, or find a scannable QR code. Which is all well and good but what about for folks that don’t have computers or internet? (And if you just said “what’s a QR code, well there may not be anything we can do for you.) I know, I know, there are a whole bunch of you out there that find it hard to believe there are people in these United States without computers and not connected to the internet, but in April of 2019, Pew Research Center analysis of survey data shows that as of April 2019
“10% of U.S. adults do not use the internet …and seniors are much more likely than younger adults to say they never go online. Although the share of non-internet users ages 65 and older has decreased by 7 percentage points since 2018, 27% still do not use the internet, compared with fewer than 10% of adults under the age of 65. Household income and education are also indicators of a person’s likelihood to be offline. Roughly three-in-ten adults with less than a high school education (29%) do not use the internet in 2019, compared with 35% in 2018… The research found that key reasons for not being on the internet were that a third of non-internet users (34%) did not go online because they had no interest in doing so or did not think the internet was relevant to their lives. Another 32% of non-users said the internet was too difficult to use, including 8% of this group who said they were “too old to learn.” Cost was also a barrier for some adults who were offline – 19% cited the expense of internet service or owning a computer.”
I know there’s going to come a time when the whole dang world is on the computer, but I can’t help but think that these manufacturers are jumping the gun just a tad.
Having said that, it sure is nice having a dishwasher that is so quiet I have to almost put my ear next to it to hear it running, and I love that the top panel on my microwave isn’t halfway to falling off anymore. Now if I can just keep the fridge and stove working for a while yet.