If you're around my age...(Kissing 67)..do you remember when you bought something and expected it to last as long as you wanted it to? My Mom and Grandmas never heard of something called a "Service Contract".

For that matter, what do 'they' mean by "Limited Warranty"?

When my Grandma bought her wringer washer she expected it to last for as long as she wanted it to. As far as she was concerned it was supposed to LAST! She didn't have a Consumer's Report to check or a computer to go on to see Angie's List. Being in a small town and a short street, she knew when anybody got anything new. She would go and ask them how it was working. They would show it to her and tell her how it worked and if anything was not as good as they thought it should be, No one would have lied about it because it was a SMALL town and a SHORT street.

Mrs. Levy down the block got a Maytag wringer washer. Grandma was there almost as soon as the truck left. By that time there were about four other neighbor ladies who were also checking it out. Mrs. Levy didn't think that the wringer was tight enough and she would wind up wringing the wash out by hand. Grandma noticed that there was something on the wringer that looked like it might be to tighten the rollers. She had my Dad come over to look at it because Mr. Levy was always working and rarely home. Dad fixed it to wring out the wash to the point where it was almost dry when it came out! Grandma and Mom did some more research and then bought the wringer washer they thought was the best. (No, I don't know what brand they got but I know they knew as much about it as the manufacturer.) They believed it would last through eternity. And it probably would have!

Same thing applied to refrigerators, stoves, vacuums, irons and toasters. They were not designed to obliterate themselves after 5 years. If something went wrong with them they would call the place they bought it and for at least a year, someone would come to fix it. NO CHARGE! Irons and toasters they would let you bring in and might even give you a brand new one.

Try that today.

Before you even have the appliance in your home they are asking you to buy an "Extended Warranty". You will pay for that. It's almost as they are betting that your purchase won't last in working condition after the first year. Usually, that first year is covered under a regular warranty.,,,,Usually.

Of course they will send their own repairmen to fix it and they might not tell you that the motor isn't going to last another week. They'll sort of rig it to keep going long enough to pull their truck out of the driveway.

When you call back to tell them that it's doing "IT" again, they give you the next available appointment which is about three weeks from today. That's when they mention the "Extended Warranty" you should consider before the magic year is up. Don't forget that even if you have the magic warranty you will get the same repairmen. They are not always going to replace every thing that needs replacing because they are saving the company money when they replace three hoo-haggers and a widget that cost about $5.00. The real problem might be a part that costs a lot more money so that's not likely to be replaced unless there is no other choice. They will always ask you if you have been washing loads of rugs and bedspreads and pillows.

Making you the person to blame for the malfunction.(Even if you haven't they will find a way to make it your fault.)

I found out about this many years ago because I didn't buy that magic warranty. I went through the repairmen spending time at my house often enough so I knew what brand of beer they preferred for lunch.

The day the wash started crawling up the steps making pitiful noises and I couldn't get a repairman from the company for another 13 days....I went to the yellow pages!

I got these 2 old dudes named Bill. They repaired any brand of any age and always told you how much they thought it would cost before they even touched it. They told me stories of when they had been "Company Repairmen". Did you know that those places that will take away your old appliance free of charge, will make money off it anyway? Sometimes for parts, sometimes for several small repairs that will enable them to sell the machine as "Used" but it still works for who knows how long..... Nowadays it's built in obsolescence. No one expects what our Moms and Grandmas did. Things like refrigerators and stoves and washers would last a lifetime! That was before the companies decided that things shouldn't last too long. How could they make any money when the things lasted too long?

Most things were labeled "Made In America" and "Out-sourcing" didn't exist.

This is all inspired by the fact that I just bought a new keyboard. The old one was getting cranky and although I would take it apart and clean it and preventive maintenance it, it was THREE years old!


By Swampetta (SWAMPETTA@aol.com)


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