Last month, I was pretty peeved because I had to get the dishwasher fixed. You see, the handle/latch mechanism, which is used every time a dish goes into or out of the machine, was made of plastic, and snapped. It cost almost $200 to repair (of course we were a few months out of warranty) and the repair guy said that enough of them had broken that they were making them with metal parts now. Well, ya know, if they knew it was a problem, don’t you think they should have offered to replace the parts to appliance owners as a courtesy? Isn’t that what product registration’s for? (Oh, wait – no. It’s for demographics so they can sell your name to target advertisers. My bad.)
So today, I’m doing laundry, as usual, in the Maytag washer that came with the house. It was a negotiating point, because the previous owners had just bought the washer, dryer, and refrigerator. Therefore, we’re talking about a machine that’s approximately two years old. SNAP! WHApwhap. . .smell of burning rubber. Now, replacing a belt in a washing machine is not usually a big deal, so I went about unhooking the water and drain hose, and unscrewed the back. Holy cow, the stupid machine is assembled in such a way that the back is not a removable panel. You need to unhook the control panel and take off the lid to get to the screws that hold on the FRONT panel, and the back is not a panel at all, but an integral part of the sides. So I called Jersey Coast Appliance again, and they’re coming out tomorrow. If they have the part, they can fix it right then. If not, I have to go take over a laundromat. AND it’s going to cost a minimum of $89, the cost for a service call.
When the dishwasher broke, I happened to be shopping in the same strip as JCA, and stopped in to ask some questions. Apparently, Maytag was bought by Whirlpool, which makes the shoddiest, cheapest versions of any major appliance, so the only thing that’s Maytag is the name. I was told that the best way to go was Bosch, because they had never gotten repair calls on that brand, and they consistently outlast all the American brands. My mom has a Fisher-Paykel (Australian) washer/dryer that she loves, and the JCA manager told me that they were also an outstanding brand, but about twice the price of Bosch.
Whenever I see an admonition to “Buy American”, it just ticks me off. Why should we reward these companies for shoddy workmanship and materials? Why should we spend more money than we have to just to appear patriotic? If American companies want people to buy their products, they should be producing things that are reliable and well-made, rather than pandering to some jingoistic ideology. When I don’t have to pay the price of the appliance all over again in repair costs within 5 years, then I’ll spend my money. If the products happens to be American, all the better. But if I have a choice between a non-American label that won’t cost me, inconvenience me, and frustrate me with repeated repairs (especially repairs of manufacturing defects) and an American one that will, patriotism won’t be the driving factor behind my purchase.