Misdirected rage


United Airlines’ PR nightmare related to the forced removal of a seated passenger has drawn the collective ire of people across the globe and sent United’s market cap on a billion dollar tailspin.

While we should all join in chastising United for this clear disregard for its customers, it’s taking our focus off other devastating atrocities being perpetrated against humanity… namely the quality of today’s appliances. We recently said goodbye to our Bosch dishwasher — a temperamental member of our household for the past six years. While in the market a few years ago, we did what data-empowered consumers are supposed to do. We looked to Consumer Reports for the most reliable models. We poured through customer reviews online. We spoke with salespeople at respected stores. When we chose our $800+ Bosch, one of the top brands in the category, we did so with informed confidence.

But a few weeks ago, our dishwasher decided to stop performing the one function it was put on this Earth to do. And a serviceman’s estimate pegged a repair to cost somewhere between $400-500, making the more sound decision to buy a new appliance. Just as you’d tell the vet you have no interest spending $2000 for a surgery that may not save the life of a pet you never truly liked, we chose to let our dishwasher go. This was difficult for our family, not because we had developed a special bond with our Bosch, but because this meant having to research our next purchase, find $800 in our couch cushions (which coincidentally also need to be replaced), and contribute to our consumerism-fueled growth in landfills.

Six years of bi-weekly use? Six? Despite our extensive pre-purchase analysis, had we bought a lemon? You hear about people having to replace a Maytag they’d owned for 25 years. How could this high-end brand have fallen so short of these expectations? Because that’s the new norm. A few candid conversations with salespeople and installers revealed the average life for a dishwasher to be 5-6 years. We’ve all heard of planned obsolescence, but six-sigma design and manufacturing was supposed to bring us more durable, longer-lasting products, even if they cost more. And even if this is the category “average”, will no manufacturer step up and claim a leadership position for making longer lasting products? And where is the consumer outrage? Shouldn’t we be railing against Whirlpool, Kitchen Aid, Samsung and others for stealing 19 years of dutiful utility from us? This is where we should be focusing our anger, energy, and influence, far before we protest and boycott United Airlines. So, here’s the order:

  1. Protesting degredation of appliance quality
  2. Boycotting United Airlines

Ooops. I totally forgot about the genocide in Syria, one of the worst humanitarian crises of our generation. We should also try to affect change for the millions who have been murdered or displaced by the barbarism and conflict in the region. OK, here’s the revised order:

  1. Demanding greater support for refugees and pushing for regime change in Syria
  2. Protesting degredation of appliance quality
  3. Boycotting United Airlines

I hope there’s enough fury to go around. I believe in you America.