Just Throw It Away

My washing machine “died” a few weeks ago, abandoned me, left me in the lurch. It was only nine years old but at the end of its “expected” life, or so the repair person informed me, with hand over heart and a solemn gaze. We bowed our heads and muttered a few words to honour the GE while I heard TAPS playing in my head. A few nights later the freezer in my two-year-old refrigerator began making a sound that resembled an asteroid hitting the Earth. I opened my freezer at 3:00 a.m. to find a whole lot of mush. Food doesn’t thaw that quickly so it must have died long before it started to complain. Then a few nights later the raccoons broke into my porch, and I began to feel like I was the human version of the Bermuda Triangle. First world problems, I call them.

If you have tried to buy an appliance since the onset of the pandemic, you will know it can be a challenge. I have heard tales of people still waiting for appliances a year after having paid for them. When I went to replace my washing machine there were limited options, and I was happy to get one delivered relatively quickly. Happy that is until I began using it and realized why it was available in the first place. A bit of a dud, I would say, to put it mildly. Luckily, I am not regularly rolling around in the mud, so my laundry isn’t much of a challenge, generally speaking. But I think I could take my clothes down to the lake with a washboard and a bar of Sunlight soap and get my clothes cleaner than this new washer does. To add insult to injury, the washer sounds like a spaceship readying for launch when it is running. I miss my old washer. We hadn’t known each other very long but we relied on one another, had become friends. I praised it regularly and it cleaned my clothes with an unspoken guarantee. We were a team – I dirtied the clothes, it cleaned them. A perfect match.

When I was young, my parents had a front-loading washer that had the words WESTINGHOUSE spaced evenly around the door. I watched the bubbles bump up against the glass and was entertained for the duration of the wash cycle. This was before television graced our home. What is it they say? Small things amuse small minds? Later, they bought a top loading Maytag washer. That washer saw us through until we left the farm and then that same washer washed my sister’s laundry for many years following. The machine was well over forty years old when it was laid to rest. Compare that to my nine-year-old model reaching its “expected demise” and I am shaking my head in frustration and disgust. When did we decide that making products that wouldn’t last was a good idea, was the way to do business? When did we stop taking pride in what we manufactured? Everything seems to come with a “disposable” quality attached to it.

I’m questioning now if I could have repaired my previous washer. Not these days, I am told, when parts are limited. Many things manufactured during the pandemic, those that require a microchip, are collecting dust while waiting. I don’t see any recourse for me, other than whining about it to anyone who will listen and to tell my current washer that I’m not the least bit happy every time I feed it a load of clothes. We are not friends. It has become a running gag with my daughters – Me: “Did I tell you I hate my washer?” Daughters – “Yes, Mom, you did.” Repeat. I may have to sell my house and move just to get away from this annoying washer, though that does seem to be on the spectrum of an extreme remedy. But maybe worth considering. Perhaps I need to find a more positive outlook. That may be the ticket. I’ll have to dig deep.

wendistewart@live.ca