Bruce Hatfield – I am waiting on the appliance repair guy to come and fix my less than 4 year old Kitchen Aid Refrigerator, which will now make the third time in the time we have owned it to be repaired again. His office just called and he is running two hours behind so it could be well after 1 PM before I see him.
Less than four years ago, we remodeled our kitchen. We went with ALL NEW APPLIANCES. I went with Kitchen Aid. The reason was simple, it HAD a good reputation. My Mother just replaced her 50 plus year old Kitchen Aid Dishwasher, not because it wasn’t working, but the rubber seals needed replacing and the repair guy said it would cost almost as much for a NEW DISHWASHER. So with that in mind, I figured Kitchen Aid would be a good upscale brand.
Well since then we have had to have the Microwave/ Conventional Oven repaired, the Downdraft Vent Hood, and the Cook Top, along with the Refrigerator all repaired. Then just a month ago, I had to have the Kenmore/Whirlpool Refrigerator in one of my rent houses repaired. It is only 2-3 years old, and it exhibited the same problem with my Kitchen Aid Refrigerator.
The Appliance Salesmen will now tell you that you will have to replace your major appliance every Seven Years. Why do we accept that?
Whirlpool now makes most of the Major Appliance lines, Maytag, Whirlpool, Kitchen Aid and others. My Twenty Five year old Kenmore/ Whirlpool Refrigerator that I keep downstairs is still going strong, without any repairs. Today if you go to Sears, that Kenmore may be made by any variety of manufactures.
So why do we accept poor quality merchandise? Rick Dale of American Restoration talks about things that were made over a century and now a millennium ago, were made to last. I suspect many of us have some of those “antiques” in our houses and still use them today. What happened that we have accepted mediocrity in the things we buy and use?
If you buy a Garden Tractor, Chain Saw, Weed Eater or other outdoor piece of equipment, it is designed to last only one or two seasons. Ask the repairman, he will confirm it. We pay thousands of dollars for a Garden Tractor that may last one or two seasons and then it is not worth repairing and we throw it away. Why?
Henry Ford may not have been the easiest man to work for, but he had a philosophy about his Model T. It was simple. The Model T was made to last. Mr. Ford expected that if you bought his car, it would be the only car you would ever need. He would design a new part to replace the old part without major modification, if it was an improvement over the older part. . His belief was that it was a machine and it was made to last.
Some time perhaps in the early 70’s and perhaps even before that everything changed. In 1973 we had an “Oil Shortage”. Our big gas guzzling cars were toast. Then Japan began sending over “Cheap, well built, Rice Burners”. They got good gas mileage, they were well built and the rest so to speak is history.
My Dad bought a 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix. From the moment he drove it off the Dealer Lot, it began to fall apart. I bought a 1973 Volvo 142, which I drove for over six years, put on over 165,000 miles on it, when I got tired of driving it and succumbed to a New Porsche, which I discovered did not have as good a braking system as my Old Volvo, the minute I drove it off the lot. I don’t know what happened to my Old Volvo, but suspect it is still running strong as the man who bought it gave it to his daughter and he ran a garage.
Why do we accept lower quality merchandise? Remember Ridged tools? They had a “Lifetime Warranty” and were made in the good old USA. Today it is a “Limited Warranty” and made in China. Hunter Ceiling Fans, same story. Go to Harbor Freight or other type stores and you find “American Made Looking” products and they are made in China. Many of them carry a replacement warranty without having to pay to get the extended warranty. Cordless tools last only as long as the batteries. If you try to buy new batteries, you find it cheaper to buy a new set of cordless tools than to buy the replacement batteries.
We accept Cell Phones that will not last through the contract. Yet the old Black Phone that sits on the table at the Farm, which is over 70 years old, still works.
The list of throw away goods is long and you can find them in the landfill. They are tossed in the garbage everyday. And we accept it. Why?
Could it be that back at the turn of the Century or Millennium that our money was worth something? Did people only buy things because they knew it was quality and would last? Then as our money became less valuable, we began to accepted lower quality goods? In the Fifties and Sixties we rejected “Junk” “Made in Japan.” But that changed during the mid to late Sixties when we began to buy Nikon Cameras, Seiko Watches, Panasonic Stereos and Sony TV’s.
Today we make very little in the USA. We “ASSEMBLE” many things, but the components are made elsewhere. Check out the parts on the “New Car” from GM, Ford or Chrysler/ Fiat. The components in your laptop, “I pad” and cell phone, are made in what we would call Third World Countries. Most are made and assembled off shore.
Trump is right we MUST MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, but we must not accept mediocrity. “Good enough for Government Work.” Should be a phrase that no longer exists in our vocabulary. We should, as consumers demand that what we purchase is made to last. Isn’t it ironic that one of the major cookware items today are the Cast Iron Skillets, Dutch Ovens and other Cast Iron products that Grandma used are in big demand today. They are made to last and the food has “REAL FLAVOR AND TASTE”.
So how do we make America Great Again? Well as Neil Cavato on Fox Business says, “DEMAND IT”, and refuse to accept nothing less. Manufactures might just get the hint that “Quality Sells Itself”.
And I am still waiting on the Appliance Repair guy. Go figure!!!!