Posts Tagged ‘appliances’

Seems like people either love or hate Walmart. Whichever your side, this post isn’t trying to change your mind except on one point. I’m going to talk about something that’s annoyed me for a long time, the claim that nothing in Walmart is made in America; it’s all from China.

 

It’s true. Much of what is at Walmart comes from China. That’s not what annoys me.

Let me ask you this. Have you checked the tags or “Made in ______” labels other stores? If so, you know they do not say “Made in America” and almost all of them do say “Made in China”, whether appliances, utensils, clothing, knick knacks, or anything else.

When my husband moved to Naperville and needed kitchen items, I went to Target and decided to buy things made in America. I looked at virtually every single kitchen utensil and item in the store that he needed (as well as some he didn’t need) and about two were sporting “Made in America” labels. That’s two individual items, not two brands. Kitchen Aid; surely that’s made in America. No. Oxo? No. All the other brands. No.

Look at clothing labels. Very few of them say “Made in America”. If they don’t say “Made in China”, they’re likely made in another Asian country or sometimes in a central American one. Once in awhile, I find something at the thrift store that’s made in America. I like that. The Suave lotion in my kitchen says “Made in the USA” on the back. Take a look at things around your house or apartment? What do you see that’s made here or at least not in China? I’d love to know.

If you’re interested in what appliances are made in America, here’s a place you can look:

http://www.stillmadeinusa.com/appliances.html

Clothing made in America:

http://americansworking.com/clothing.html

A report on the costs of domestically made furniture and appliances:

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/made-america-domestically-made-furniture-appliances-cost-imported/story?id=13049571#.T02WAvVqSSo

“These websites are devoted to American companies or to sourcing where the everyday products you use are from. Use the links below and our interactive map to find companies near you”:

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/MadeInAmerica/made-america-resource-guide-find-american-companies/story?id=13057404#.T02WTfVqSSo

I read a fascinating book about trying NOT to buy things made in China, “A Year Without ‘Made in China’”, by Sara Bongiorni. Shoes and toys were difficult as were flip flops. Even buying gifts for children’s birthday parties was difficult. Read the book; you’ll enjoy it as well as sharing in her frustration. In the end, finding a thoughtful, middle ground was, as in so many other areas of life, the solution for the Bongiornis.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/06/28/us-books-madeinchina-idUSN2425061320070628

Whatever your beef with Walmart, one I don’t believe is legitimate is that they only sell things “Made in China.” If that’s something you want to avoid, you’ll be much better richer, because you won’t be doing much shopping, at Walmart or anywhere else.

Sometimes life just gives you lemons, although they may take time to grow. Do you make a horrible face or do you make lemonade?

The other morning, I had another close encounter of the annoying kind with my washing machine . Or it could be of the kind that helps you develop patience, or buy a new washer. Whatever. Most washing machines just…well, wash clothes. But this machine has developed its own, curmudgeonly personality, one that sometimes tests the bonds of our relationship.

Some years ago our very ancient, machine needed to be replaced. We have a local appliance store we like to patronize whenever possible, so we headed over there to do our bit to support independent stores. Every year they have a sale, with opportunities to win appliances, although we’ve never won anything. We talked with the sales person and he recommended a machine that he said lots of the people there owned. We’ve had good luck there, so we went with his recommendation, based on the other available options and prices.

We came away with our first front loader, a Maytag, evoking visions of that lonely repairman sitting dolefully somewhere, wishing that our machine would break down so that he’d have something to do. Nice thought! I hoped to keep him eating doughnuts and talking on his cell phone forever.

I really never thought I’d be very excited about a washing machine, but a front loader is something special. I was able to machine wash clothes that formerly I had to wash by hand, even things that might have required dry cleaning before this machine. Since one of our daughter, who will remain nameless, has quite a collection of special care garments, it was great. One of the things the salesperson touted was that by the time the load was done, your previous load would be dry. Of course, he forgot to mention the reason was that the cycle takes about 45+ minutes. But that was fine.

One problem did emerge early on. If the door was shut once the laundry was out, there was too much moisture and it became obvious that mold would be the next step. (We found out later this was a problem with this particular type of washer.) Pulling out all my intellectual stops, I decided to dry out the machine once I was done doing laundry and just leave the door open a bit. That worked well. In the war of the washer vs. me, I was doing well.

But sometime in the not-too-distant past, something went awry in the computer brain of this lovely machine. It got washing machine Alzheimer’s. First, it forgot how to turn on correctly. I’d put in the information, push start and the machine would tell me there’d been an electrical interruption. I bought it at first, because we do have electrical issues sometimes in our city. The next step was to have this happen multiple times.

I don’t really remember what happened next but now, I never know what machine I’ll meet. It’s the “Three Faces of Eve” washer. I might close the door and nothing on the panel comes on. Open and close, open and close; at some point it will start working, although I may have the “electrical” issues for some time. It might take one minute to start, it might take ten. And sometimes, it works perfectly. The permutations of what happens are, while not endless, certainly varied and certainly very frustrating, especially if time’s an issue.

I finally broke down and had a service person stop by. I was told on the phone that it might be something relatively inexpensive to fix or a computer issue and something quite expensive. Guess which one it was? No point in paying half the price (or more) of a new machine. I also found out from the repairman that this particular model did a great deal to put Maytag out of business, although they’ve since been bought by Whirlpool and he said their machines are once again worth buying. Nice to know, but not much help for this machine, which had turned out to be a bit of a lemon.

I’m treating my machine the way you might a relative who wasn’t quite as sharp as he used to be; I’m loving it and working with it. Not really sure I want to spend the money for a new machine. We’ll see what happens. But for now, I’m fixing my bayonets and making lemonade. And getting the laundry done…eventually.