Appliances are not built to last

I hope my new stove lasts eight years because that’s how long it will take for me to learn how to use it.

I purchased a new stove this week. It replaced the one I bought 19 years ago when we moved in, So I got my money out of it. The old one was down to one functioning knob and one working burner. I got away with that because I have no female companion in the house and men only need one burner.

That precedent was set by cavemen, voyageurs, and cowboys who learned to survive with one fire and one pot. They were never required to light four small campfires of varying temperatures and have various dishes cooking over each one. Just one fire and one pot, and we manage just fine.

I was in a store and they had a range on sale, a floor model, the last one and the price was not too far off what I remember paying a couple of decades ago. I told the lady I would take it and when I related the story of my old stove she said, “Well, this one won’t last 19 years. Eight, maybe 10, but they aren’t made to last any more.”

This theory was borne out when we carried the old one out and the new one in. There was easily 50 pounds difference and I could see that, as my son strained much harder carrying the old one. We even took the oven door off and the bottom drawer out before moving the old one, and that was like finding old lost friends. There were pots and pans and rolling pins and mix masters and muffin tins in there that I didn’t even know we had. Out of sight, out of mind.

Before we could put the new one in place, we had to do a considerable amount of scraping and scrubbing in the cavity the old one had vacated. My son said he was sure he saw something moving in the crumbs, but I think it was his imagination.

The new stove is white and still matches the fridge and toaster so our kitchen has maintained that co-ordinated look that we always try to achieve. The topic of appliance colours came up as I was discussing my new stove, and soon we were tossing around colours like Harvest Gold, Avocado Green, Bright Poppy Red and Coppertone, the kitchens of years gone by.

Coppertone was a favorite, as it went with the dark kitchen cabinets and the fake brick linoleum. The living room had floral Colonial furniture on orange and yellow shag carpets to match the red brick fire places.

We had huge cabinet televisions that usually contained a phonograph and an eight-track player, or maybe we upgraded to a big Realistic or Pioneer reel to reel sound system hooked to huge speakers with matching woofers and tweeters.

All of these items were built to last and engineered in such a way that a technician could repair them and make a living doing it. Our sound systems today look more like a clock radio and our phones can hold more music than all of our old albums. Everything we buy now is designed to be disposable and obsolete one month before Christmas, when the new model comes out.

My new stove doesn’t have knobs; it has a control panel with lots of LED buttons to push. I hope it lasts eight years because that’s how long it will take for me to learn how to use it.  At least that’s what McGregor says.

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