Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

Fridges Are Forever and Other Household Myths

In a society of continuous change, those things that remain constant give us the courage to boldly face the uncertainty of each new day. No matter what should befall us, we rest in the assurance that some things never change. The rising of the sun, the coming of spring, the levy of taxes — and the operation of refrigerators.

Few things in our lives are forever, unlike other stuff that comes and goes, like shoes and toothbrushes. But the big things, the really expensive things, last a lifetime. Things like refrigerators.

Imagine how shocked we were when ours got sick. It was brand-new, for goodness’ sake! It had been “new” for, oh, at least 16 years, and we just assumed it would stay that way — forever. It had never given us any trouble. In fact, we never gave it a thought.

Thankfully, we were able to keep our cool as we faced this kitchen crisis, secure in the knowledge that it is usually cheaper to repair than to replace. We called the appropriate repairman who came, diagnosed and pronounced the problem serious but treatable — hopefully.

Of course, we had to wait for parts. We set another appointment, and the kind repairman returned as promised. The bill was significant but tolerable.

Whew! It was close, but our forever fridge was back among the living. And to think we might have foolishly been setting aside money in anticipation of replacing it someday. Ha. We’d beaten the odds.

Our last months together were happy ones. We assumed the treatment would give us at least another 16 years of delightful enjoyment, but all of that came to an abrupt end. At least our beloved fridge didn’t suffer. It died a peaceful death despite all of our heroic measures.

In our grief, we had no choice but to call into service every possible cheapskate maneuver. We shopped with cash, calculated the amount of quality, the number of features we required and the energy-savings we desired. I won’t say it was easy to turn our backs on the $500 in-the-door water dispenser option or the $300 ice crusher. Both certainly held their allure. But our resistance was rewarded handsomely as we locked eyeballs with these beautiful words of comfort: Reduced Floor Model plus $75 Rebate.

We are wiser for the experience. No longer will we place unrealistic expectations on mortal appliances. We will, sadly, keep in mind the repairman’s warning: These days, appliances are built with planned obsolescence. Unlike days gone by when refrigerators lasted for 30 years, modern refrigerators have an expected lifetime of about 10 years. If you get more than that, it’s a bonus you should not count on.

That’s why I’ve installed a note on the third shelf next to the pull-out deli drawer: “I will die on or about May 1, 2026. Plan accordingly. Forty bucks a month should do it.”

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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One Comment

  1. Planned obsolesce is only effective if all manufactures conspire to implement it across the board. This is called a conspiracy among manufactures, dare it not be called monopoly and subject to lack luster law enforcement.

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