Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sifting Through The Hype

The great appliance hunt has begun. I've been dreading this since the day we signed the paperwork on our house. Making a big purchase is always stressful for me because the stakes are so high. You want to buy a quality product so you don't end up wasting large sums of money. At the same time you don't want to overpay unnecessarily. Trying to sift through sales pitches, hype and cool features to find the truth can be difficult. Just walking into the stores and being confronted by rows of appliances makes me want to just shut down and go home.

BUT, appliances must be purchased so I'm out and about doing my due diligence. So far the process has me feeling like a cranky old woman, too set in my ways to be comfortable with modern technology. And, except for the old part, that might be accurate. Appliances have changed so much over the past several years and I'm not so sure that is a good thing.

The washers and dryers are almost all the high efficiency ones. Sure, they do have a couple of the "old-fashioned" machines tucked in the back or in the corner where they are hard to find but, between the disparaging way the salespeople speak about these old machines and the lack of inventory, it is hard not to feel like buying an HE machine is the only way to go. Besides, who doesn't want the energy efficiency and water savings, right?

Yet, there I am listening to the salespeople tell me about how the washing machine will tell the dryer what kind of load it is washing so the dryer knows exactly what setting to dry the coming load on, or how I can connect the machine to my smart phone and control it remotely and all I can think about is how each of these features is just another opportunity for something to go wrong. It's like I can hear the cha-ching of an old-fashioned cash register in my head just thinking about how much it would cost to repair this high technology. What's worse is that, outside of the efficiency feature, every other feature is unnecessary.

Then we have the refrigerators. The 2 or 3 old-fashioned fridge models they do carry, you know the ones with a simple freezer on top, are banished to the dark corners with their washer/dryer counterparts. Now the fridge must be stainless, it must be huge, it must have doors that open in the center and the freezers are drawers at the bottom. I'm standing there in front of rows of these beasts, all of which look almost exactly the same, and I honestly can't tell the difference between the $3000 one and $1200 one.

Suddenly, I feel as if this is not just about getting a quality product for the best price possible. It has also become a search for what our actual needs are. A search for appliances that can meet our rather simple needs and no more. I don't want to buy the old-fashioned appliances just because they are familiar and I don't I want to buy the modern appliances just because they are modern and fancy. This may take a while.

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