My husband and I were sitting around our kitchen the other night musing over the pros and cons of ingesting rust flakes. With the exception of barnacles, I said that I couldnít imagine swallowing anything that could be scraped off the side of an ocean tanker. He, on the other hand, noted that in small doses rust is probably relatively harmless.
Plus, as an extra bonus, iron oxide could potentially satisfy the NIHís recommended daily intake for iron! Letís be honest ó steak (another great source of iron), isnít exactly a poster food for healthy diets.
We got onto this rather strange line of conversation because I noticed some rust-colored flecks floating in my glass of Mikeís Hard Lemonade. How revolting. I know Mikeís is a fortified drink, but heavy metal bits seem a little over the top.
Our investigation quickly fingered the automatic ice dispenser in our Frigidaire Gallery Series refrigerator, where we observed an abundance of rust-colored shavings around the outlet. Closer inspection revealed corrosion in and around the metal cutting blades. Anyone ever heard of stainless steel
This area of the kitchen isnít well lit, so for all we know itís been going on for years, proving out my husbandís theory that a little rust wouldnít actually kill us.
This premature failure stuff is getting old. My mother, for example, just replaced her 35+-year-old refrigerator. And thatís because she finally got tired of the avocado trim.
I do not know the exact vintage of our refrigerator, but I am guessing itís somewhere between six and eight years old. It and all the other ďdesignerĒ appliances that came with the house when we bought it four years ago have stainless steel finishes, which I think came into vogue around that time. They may look hot, but they are proving to be junk.
Those of you who read this column with some regularity know about my flood-producing dishwasher (failed seal) and the non-draining washing machine (busted circuit board). Their swift, downward trajectory went something along the lines of: faulty operation, limited-functionality-to-avoid-expensive-repairs, expensive repairs, ultimate failure, expensive replacement.
I promised myself I wasnít going to talk about this, but even our new (less than 2 years old) washing machine is on the fritz. Yes, we bought another Kenmore machine after the first one failed at two years. Why, you ask It was a combination of path-of-least-resistance, unjustified optimism, and foolhardiness.
We did buy the machine with the fewest bells and whistles, but to no avail. It now is failing to drain properly. Weíre at the limited functionality stage ó delicate cycle only (silly when youíre doing a load of jeans and beach towels).
I know I am starting to sound like an old person, but they really donít make stuff like they used to. Planned obsolescence sounds like more than just a conspiracy theory at this point. And, letís face it, design engineers everywhere are increasingly under pressure to trade off quality and reliability for price, excessive gadgetry, and designer looks.
At this point a washboard and ice cube trays are starting to sound like really good options.
What do you think Is product quality and reliability really going downhill, or am I just an unlucky cynic Let me know about your worst (and best) experiences, and I will share them with our readers in print and online.