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 couldn’t 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 NIH’s recommended daily intake for iron! Let’s be honest — steak (another great source of iron), isn’t 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 Mike’s Hard Lemonade. How revolting. I know Mike’s 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 isn’t well lit, so for all we know it’s been going on for years, proving out my husband’s theory that a little rust wouldn’t actually kill us.
This premature failure stuff is getting old. My mother, for example, just replaced her 35+-year-old refrigerator. And that’s because she finally got tired of the avocado trim.
I do not know the exact vintage of our refrigerator, but I am guessing it’s somewhere between six and eight years old. It and all the other “designer” 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 wasn’t 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. We’re at the limited functionality stage — delicate cycle only (silly when you’re doing a load of jeans and beach towels).
I know I am starting to sound like an old person, but they really don’t make stuff like they used to. Planned obsolescence sounds like more than just a conspiracy theory at this point. And, let’s 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.