Planned or Unplanned Obsolescence.

On a Saturday in April, my refrigerator broke down. First we noticed that suddenly there was a puddle of water in the ice cube bin and that the frozen artichokes hearts that I had been saving for a great future were now limp and tired.

The freezer did not fib; all my good food was getting warm and spoiling rapidly.

We consumed the delicious Chioppino (Italian fish stew) that I had made with care and dollars immediately for lunch. The next day, Bill went back to Texas where he had a working refrigerator and lots of local fast food restaurants. I began to throw out left overs and new beginnings.

The local small town appliance repair company who did not answer their phone until early Monday morning, gave me their soonest appointment late afternoon on Friday. “We are sorry, but we are all booked up.”

Friday came and the now empty frig got a careful examination. “Yes”, said the charming lady appliance repair person whose parents I knew and I remember crawling happily as a toddler at a picnic. “ Your ____board isn’t working and I am not sure about your compressor. First we will have to fix the____, before we know if the ____ is done for.”

Two days later, I got the bad news that the part for my nineteen-year-old refrigerator was “no longer available.” Now, I am very fond of this appliance and it still really looks good…no broken shelves, no dents and no visible scars. And it fits in its own counter depth cabinet.

I looked online for the replacement. I felt quite discouraged by the prices. I went to town and I visited local stores to review my choices. I soon learned that new appliances are only expected to last ten years. Nineteen years is an aberration. I wasn’t convinced. Still in town, I stopped and I visited the repair company’s office. I sat down with the pretty young service manager. We had a heart to heart conversation.

I asked, “What will you do with my old refrigerator?” The reply: “We will take out the Freon and put it in the dump.” I must have looked quite dismayed. After I left, the manager went the extra step and called the factory. Later that day, I got the “good news” –I could send my part to the factory and they could repair the part in house. After the ___ board was put it and only then we would find out if the compressor was functioning.

I wanted to save my old and still good-looking refrigerator that fit perfectly in my kitchen. Yes, I gambled $500 to fix the part, meanwhile living on oatmeal and smoked oysters-urrp!

Three weeks later the part went in and the refrigerator. …Well the dear girl is up and cold.

What about the old girl, Claire. Will the parts be available if I need them???

Planned obsolescence. …hmmm me too.