Disposable World


One of my friends gave me a great microwave oven for my birthday three years ago, and I have to say, I loved it. It was more powerful than the previous one, it didn’t leave cold spots in my frozen food and it was just all-around great.

It died last night.

Part of the paint wore off near the door hinge, and when we used it last night, it shot sparks, arcs and sent a distinctive metallic burning smell through the kitchen and living room.

From what I read, it’s a rather common problem with this Pansasonic “The Genius Sensor 1300 Watt” model. People complain in the Amazon comments section that their previous microwaves lasted 20 years or so, and now you are considered “lucky” if they last two years.

One point of all these trade deals was that we’d get cheaper import items. Okay, so one of those old microwaves cost somewhere around $450. Divided by 20 years of service equals $22 a year. (We’ll just ignore their tendency to scatter loose microwaves from faulty door seals for the purpose of this comparison, because I can’t swear this new one was any better.)

This Panasonic microwave cost $150 and lasted three years, which means the effective cost was $50 a year. I’m not feeling as though we come out ahead on these deals.

And this has been my guiding principle in fighting with customer service departments everywhere: “If this product is supposed to be disposable, you should note that in the advertising.” I once sent a sofa back I had for a year, because the fabric was wearing away on the arms. “What, the fabric has a one-year term limit?” I said to their rep. I ended up getting a full refund, minus shipping.

When they try to sell me those extended warranties at the store, I look the clerk in the eye and say, “Are you telling me that your company isn’t going to stand behind this item if it breaks in a year? Because if you are, I’ll put it back right now.”

There should be more people like me. Fight with these people! Even if you lose, you’ll feel better.

I’m so tired of this disposable world we live in, where it’s assumed we have endless acres of land available to dump these crappy disposable products. The toxins pile up, and in the meantime, the corporations rule the world.

3 thoughts on “Disposable World

  1. That’s why I bought a Miele vacuum cleaner! Sure, it was expensive, but it’s built of solid parts, and more important, can be disassembled and repaired. I’ve had it fixed twice already, for less than $50 per (in the 4 years that I have owned it). Vacuums break because the cords get worn, because they get hair caught in their rollers, or for many other reasons that have to do with their function. Had I gone with a Dyson, for instance, I would have suction that is great, but be stuck with an injection-molded plastic design. Injection-molded plastic in generally cannot be repaired. So I paid “slightly” more for the quality German product. I look at it the same way you do. That vacuum will last me at least a decade.

  2. I have an Emerson microwave with the same problem, but my solution is not to dispose of it. I tried painting over the burnt spots with appliance paint. That got burnt through. I tried a strip of freezer tape. That got burnt through. I just continue to use the thing — 6 or 8 times a day to heat a mug of water for tea, mostly. I’m sure that it has been showing this defect for at least 5 years, and is probably eight years old. It is stupid or maybe purposely greedy to have this flaw, but I will not reward the behavior by throwing the microwave away until it really breaks down. The math goes something like this: purchase price $50, divided by 10 years use = $5 a year. If you paid too much to begin with, your money was the disposable thing.

  3. The ONLY product that I have ever bought the extended warranty for is tires. Because road hazards exist and are not the fault of the manufacturer. And that has paid for itself.

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