(Just a heads up: this post is not an advertisement, despite a paragraph that may lead you to believe otherwise. I am in no way compensated by Speed Queen, nor do I endorse their products. Get whatever appliances you want, what do I know, I’m an idiot.)
I moved back into my house this week after a few months away recovering from a broken ankle/leg and the requisite surgery that followed. The first evening back I washed the clothes that had sat crumpled and ignored in the hamper for two months, and then decided to change my bed linens which had been soiled by vermin in my absence (shoutout to the mouse that made a nest in my pillowcase).
I started doing laundry around 4:30pm. At 11:00pm I was still doing laundry. It wasn’t a gargantuan pile of laundry or anything, it was merely one load of darks and one load of whites. So why did it take over six hours? Because my washer and dryer are shot. My washer actually isn’t too bad - it’s a 1970s model, and aside from being way too freaking small and occasionally eating an item of clothing in the agitator mechanism, it’s fairly reliable. The real issue is my dryer, an early 2000s model I’m guessing, which doesn’t so much dry clothes as gently toss them around until they’re somewhere in the neighborhood of lukewarm. It takes well over two hours for a load of laundry to dry on a good day.
Now there are some obvious reasons why this is a concerning issue:
#1. This could very easily burn my house down #2. It’s a collossal waste of electricity #3. It’s a collossal waste of time #4. Seriously, it’s a thousand wonders it hasn’t burnt my house down
My father kindly pointed all this out to me over the phone (as if I weren’t aware), and made the point that I could have already purchased a new dryer with the added cost to the electrical bill I’m paying to run the dryer for hours longer than necessary. It just so happens that Dad is an assistant store manager at a large nationwide retail home improvement chain. “I’ve got some nice scratch and dent models that are only $300!” But he knows I’m holding out for a particular brand and model. I don’t want any old crappy mass-produced, consumer-grade, disposable dryer. Through exhastive, comprehensive internet research I have determined that if you want a long-lasting, reliable, high-quality washer and dyer, you have to buy a Speed Queen. This company uses real gears and produces appliances that last for decades at a time. Even their consumer line is commerical-grade. Unfortuantely, quality comes with a hefty price tag, and Dad knows this. “You could have bought 3 new dryers for the price of one of those Speed Queens!” he tells me.
He’s right. Of course he is. I could have bought three dryers for just one of the others. Even if I have to replace it three times, I’d still break even on the financial side. And yes, my problems could have already been solved by now. But is price all that really matters?
Isn’t there something to be said about craftsmanship? About making something that is dependable? About fighting planned obsolescence? About buying something once, maintaining it, repairing it if it breaks, and keeping the thing for the majority of your life? Isn’t that the environmentally responsible option? Isn’t it a little like sticking it to the man, fighting the rampant scourge of capitalism and consumerism? Isn’t that how things should be?
Every decision in life has trade-offs. I’m way too analytical. I’m way too idealistic. I’m cursed with a desire to research the best products ad naseum to find what best fits with not only my needs, but also my priciples. This means that I often end up with overpriced, long-lasting things that perfectly suit my lifestyle.
It also means my clothes are often cold and soggy.