What's the story with poorly made appliances these days? I say "these days" because I have the impression that things manufactured fifty years ago lasted a lot longer. Or, at the very least, were easier to fix.
Case Study #1: our new refrigerator that we purchased a year and a half ago when we bought our house. The fridge the previous owners left here was disgusting and the dimwits that painted the interior of the house before putting it on the market decided to store all their painting supplies in the empty fridge. For weeks. Blech.
Anyway, we bought a fancy new Energy Star GE Profile stainless steel refrigerator with french doors. Let me tell you it was not cheap. I'm wishing we had gotten a cheapo Kenmore instead because it's not worth the cost. About two months ago a little plastic hinge thingy snapped off the door. This little piece of plastic is what ensures that the door remains closed. For the most part it stays closed without it, but when you close the other door, the pressure pops the "broken" door back open. So, you have to be extra vigilant about making sure both sides are closed.
Why don't we get it fixed so that we don't accidentally refrigerate the entire kitchen? Well, because in order to fix this tiny plastic piece, we need a new door. For $800. Needless to say, GE changed the way they manufacture this style and no longer puts such a stupid plastic piece on it because we aren't the only people having this problem. So, for now we are on fridge door watch. And when I get around to it, I'll try hot gluing the piece back in to see if that helps.
Case Study #2: our new microwave that we bought also at the same time (we left all our appliances as part of the sale of our old house). This is a not-extravagant but not-cheap stainless steel Sharp Carousel microwave. In order to use it, there is a touch pad with the numbers, Start, Stop, Cancel, etc. You get the picture.
Well, about 2 weeks ago the touchpad starting losing touch. So, on occasion we can get the Cancel button to work and sometimes the "Add a Minute" button since that's the only one that will work to get it started.
I don't want to get rid of the microwave since it otherwise works great. Except for the not being able to start it problem. Is there any way of fixing or replacing the touchpad on new microwaves? I suppose if I can't find someone to fix it or replace the touchpad, I'll tinker around with it myself.
Another point I want to make here is this: if it costs more to fix something than it costs to buy something new, do we have the responsibility to keep it out of the landfill? I think we do, but does anybody ever actually do this?
Did we become a throwaway society because we couldn't get things fixed or can we not get things fixed because we are a throwaway society?