I only do it about ten times a week, max. I tried to on Tuesday and it was shot. No picture came on the television just a black screen. This RCA television came new to our home three years ago fresh out of the box as a gift. In less than a year, the DVD stopped playing and now, three years out, the whole darn thing is officially junk. We left it in the alley for electronics and appliance vultures that circle our neighborhood. They once devoured an entire dishwasher in less than an hour. Perhaps I should take better care because I don’t know how much of the appliance they use and then recycle. But, it’s too late now, they flew by night and that tatty television is gone. I’m guessing its carcass is completely disemboweled in some den in the Denver metro area.
This left us in a conundrum. We don’t have the money or the desire to race out to some superstore and purchase the latest generation of television. Despite what the world tells us, we felt no need to upgrade. I wonder if that is an American thing, when personal or home electronics or appliances flop it is mandated that one must upgrade to the latest generation regardless of what one can afford or truly needs.
To my family, television is television. It’s not an experience. We don’t have cable. We’re very predictable; PBS, CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, 60 Minutes and maybe an evening show if we’re too dog-tired to read to the kids. 60 Minutes comes from my childhood with my grandfather and we would watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom beforehand. Now my girls and I watch PBS’s Nature after 60 Minutes. Good to know that some things stay roughly the same they just might get shuffled about.
My husband, Mr. Golightly, quickly solved our problem. He took a television he’d bought at a thrift store for $20 a few years back from his garage workshop and replaced the toasted telly. He likes to watch football games while he does manly things that involve power tools which occasionally result in stitches in this workshop.
I spoke yesterday with the cashier at Goodwill and asked if they check TVs to ensure that people aren’t donating toast. She explained they plug them in to ensure that, unlike my television, a picture comes on but they don’t have time to hook TV’s up to cable to gauge picture quality. If a recent generation TV comes along, they will do further testing. Besides, customers are free to find an outlet in the store and make their own determination. Furthermore, customers have 10 days to return the product if it doesn’t meet needs.
We are up and running with the old new television and it only involved a little household shuffle, not $700 or more. I’m curious to know how long this television will compare to its out of the box rival, a kind of a John Henry thing. My old new coffee maker is still brewing up morning joe as told in the November post “A Kindness Like No Other.”
What happened to the days when electronics and appliance companies took pride in the quality and durability of their product? I’m reluctant to buy new. After so many breakdowns with so many repairmen telling me it’d be cheaper to replace the appliance than repair it, I’m quite disenchanted and figure I’ll stick with thrift.
My grandparents just replaced their clothes washer of over thirty years. In the last ten years, I’ve gone through three. Things are wickedly wrong. How can we feel so at ease tossing huge things like clothes washer/dryers, televisions, PC monitors over our shoulder and buying more just to add that to the waste stream in a few short years?
I’m not so certain that the super stores that worked on making items “more affordable” to the public did us much a favor. Based upon my personal experience, I have the firm impression that a cheap price on the new goods market translates to poor quality. Add to that the constant turnover of product and I must wonder if we are we actually paying a higher economic and environmental cost in the long haul. I think we are and that makes me think that cheap is ultimately steep.