Wednesday, June 8, 2011

RANT - Disposable Society

This blog post was written in 2008 but still holds so much relevance and due to another appliance shut down I have decided to re post this :)

I have had it up to my armpits with this disposable society we live in.

If I have to buy another replacement appliance anytime soon I think I'm going to go medieval on someone's ass ...

In the last 7 years we have replaced our washing machine 4 (FOUR) yes that's right $$$  x  4 TIMES!

The fridge we bought had to be serviced 2 days outside the warrantee and three parts needed to be replaced! WTF ...

We bought Erin a CD player and had to take it back within 3 weeks

In 7 years we have gone through

3 toasters
3 kettles
2 ovens/stoves
3 fridges
4 washing machines
2 stereos
2 tumble dryers
3 irons
the list goes ON

I just CAN'T wait until the kids get older and start getting rough with stuff ...

What the hell is going on?

This crap is getting more and more expensive and is made from crappier parts with little to no warranty or service extras.

I'm already starting to talk about the good old days when shit was made to last ... no wonder my olds and grandparents carry on about it too.

Replacing the smaller items doesn't break the bank but come on ... why should I have to replace the toaster every 12 months? I don't stick knives in it, I don't rough it up, it doesn't get dropped, kicked or beaten, YET every toaster just stops toasting one side of the bread after a few months. And you can't just turn it over because then the other side gets too toasty ... so you develop a plan of attack for the toast. Set the dial to 3 ... flip the release button after 1 min and 4 secs ... turn the toast asap and flip the lever down ... toast again for 35 secs ... repeat until golden ... then you have to retrain yourself on the new one.

My kettle has lost it's little filter flap thingy from the top so even though I use filtered water in it I can't guarantee that there wont be some random  tiny insect  fallen victim to the temptations of a waterhole and trapped and drowned floating in my tea. I have to then check that every morning ... indeed every cuppa ....

The fridge is hanging on like some poor bedridden 17th Century typhoid victim coughing away steadily ... I'm just waiting for the last  death rattle (and they do you know ... they rattle when they die!)

Which brings me to the iron ... the thermostat went on that baby so it was a matter of the thin red line --- where stone cold meets melting point. We ended up just buying wash and wear clothes for a while but geez ... sometimes your skin hs to breathe and natural fibers require some kind of pressing ...

And so ... at the moment I am in a love hate relationship with the washing machine. It sometimes works (love) then it doesn't (hate). Sometimes it agitates and washes the clothes and then even rinses and agitates them and spins!
Most of the time it just fills up and empties.
Not happy.
Especially with all this rainy weather we're having here in Sunny fucking Queensland. 4 weeks of near uninterrupted drizzle. Have you ever smelt a laundry room full of wet towels and work clothes? Geez ... seriously it's rank.

So it gets to the point where both Pete and I (mostly rational people - though he'll argue I'm not at all) are having one sided debates, arguments and downright verbally abusive words with the lump of white-waste-of-space.

So I bundle it all up and take a drive down memory lane as I revisit a place I thought I would never have to again after "the Incident" of 1995 ...  the laundromat ... (not without a bottle or two of Caneston rinse though!!)

For those of you who are not familiar with this environment ... let me draw a picture, as I believe the Devil makes a fortune running these places.

A somewhat dingy place, with about 8-12 commercial machines usually lining one wall. Sometimes they might actually have a sign on them if they aren't working! If they don't you wont find out until you part with your hard earned money. There is also usually a wall of 3 or 4 tumble dryers. The floor is always dirty, the seats (if there are any) are always REALLY uncomfortable. There might be a table if you're lucky but this is also filthy. The room smells like a mix of sweaty dudes, wet dog, soap powder, and sometimes gas. There will be signage stating cost of wash ($3 a wash is CHEAP) and $1 gets you about 8 min tumble dryer time. There will always be someone else there. Even if you turn up by yourself, before your wash is done ... someone else will come. So take a walkman or mp3 player because they will always ALWAYS try to have a chat ... Most have a vending machine / dispenser for soap powder, some have vending machines for drinks. Generally neither of these works well.

So I drag my *8* loads of washing in and proceed to fill up the machines with clothes ... I insert my gold (which I had to go to the bank and withdraw as coins -- bet there's a flag near my name now! - Remember 8 loads times $3 plus dryer time!!!)
So of course the odds are against me when it comes to the broken machine, it only lets you know its broken after it fills up and of course it has the towels in it!!!
Again the odds are bad cause the towels are in machine no. 2 and the only empty washer is machine no.10 down the other end ... so I drag wet towel after wet towel out and down the shop and into the new machine hoping this one works!
It does.
30 mins later all the washing is done and now I have to work out how to dry 8 loads in 3 dryers. In the end I'm so hot and tired and cranky fending off the conversation from the obligatory weirdo that I just shove it in wherever and go sit down.

While I'm there i notice this ledge above the washers ... and it has countless odd socks on it. Sock after lonely sock sitting there waiting for it's owner to collect it or maybe for a partner to disappear with? Who knows ... maybe the socks escape deliberately, perhaps this laundr-o-mat is a meeting house for a sock rebellion or a foot fungi resistance group.

About this time I realise the shop uses gas to fuel it's dryers ... hmmm that might explain the mind ramblings ...

I fight with the vending machine over water and after paying $3 get a bottle of water that is so ridiculously small it's unbelievable. I might be swearing by this stage and I think I might be looking like the washer weirdo's I'm trying to avoid so I choose to sit outside for a bit.

All this because somewhere someone decided that today's society needed stuff faster, and they needed to make it cheaper. Not better, not stronger, not actually useful.

Whatever happened to brand name pride?
Whatever happened to customer service?
Whatever happened to Baby Jane?

Don't EVEN get me started on food today ...

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