When I make a mistake I try to admit it. If I can turn it into something positive it helps reinforce this behavior. Writing this post is about as good as it gets for this one.

From my wife’s point of view I have a very bad habit of maintaining our appliances well past their prime. In part it’s because I’m cheap but it also gives a sense of satisfaction. Starting out with no knowledge on the appliance, doing the troubleshooting to determine the problem, finding the parts that have been out of service for the last ten years and then actually seeing it work again. I’ll take that over Sudoku any time.  It helps that I’m very good at it.

My washer and dryer were 14 years old before I replaced them. My microwave was still running well at 22 years before my wife forced me to get a newer one. The oven is now 22 years old and everything still works.  I did replace the refrigerator early. It still worked but moving into the country forced us to get a larger one. Yes, I’m bragging but that’s almost over.

As of last week my dishwasher was 22 years old. A year ago the upper rack broke. I tried brazing, epoxy, even cable ties (they worked the best). I finally located a new rack for $140. Hmm, the lower rack was in similar shape and would  cost almost the same to replace. For almost $300 I would have a 22 year old dishwasher with new racks. The data clearly showed it was time to look at the sales catalogs.

I enjoy doing research. My Mother-in-Law still reminds me about taking  three months to select a label maker. When it comes to consumer appliances though, the Internet is anything but friendly. Google dishwasher reviews and the majority of hits are price comparison with a few reviews from “customers”. I want to believe that all the reviews are done by customers but in my heart I know better.

I still read the reviews but when you see 20 reviewers talking about how slow it dries and then see another 20 talking about how fast it dries, which do you believe? The five star reviews usually look like they were written by an ad agency. It’s really hard to believe all of them. Then there’s all the one stars. The majority of these are usually people that got a bad unit or had unreasonable expectations to start with. Finding unbiased reviews is an art onto itself.

What features do I really need? What’s a good price point? What’s a dependable brand?  After a lot of research I finally decided on a Samsung dishwasher. It had all the basics, good reviews and the price point was reasonable. Now to find it on sale.

Best Buy actually put my model on sale just before Christmas for almost 30% off. Too soon, I was budgeting for Christmas and I saw no way I could pass this off as a Christmas present to my wife. I still had time.

Two days ago, while I was doing a load of dishes, water started coming out from under the washer and the pungent smell of burning electronics filled the air. I had waited too long.

Times have changed. Distributors no longer have all the models they carry sitting in a warehouse for someone to buy. That inventory represents money and there’s much better uses for it. I spent two days trying to find a model I liked that I could get before July 7. I never could find a good way to refine my search to existing stock. Someone needs to develop an app for that. I finally gave up, went to the local appliance store and asked them to show me what they had in stock. That one question quickly reduced my choices to two models.

As of today, I have a brand new dishwasher that has most of the features I wanted, in a brand that I didn’t research and at about $200 more than my sale price. The wife is really happy though, she no longer has to refasten that cable tie.

© Copyright 2012 Byron Seastrunk, All rights Reserved. Written For: Opinion by pen