Monday, November 30, 2009

Information Overload - Why I Hate Shopping for Appliances

Don't laugh, but my biggest problem right now is my dryer.  Of all the things that can go wrong I know this is small potatoes, but a problem none the less.

Every so often my dryer just doesn't.  It will be working fine and then, POOF, it stops drying.  I start it again, and it does just fine.  If an appliance had the ability to be in death throws, I think this is what it would look like.  It is like watching an oncoming train and I don't like it.

I finally admitted to myself it was time to start looking for a new washer/dryer to replace the 13 year old pair we have.  To my amazement I have no idea what I want.  There is so much information out there that I have absolutely no idea what to buy.

I am fairly certain I want a front load washer.  If for no other reason, a front load washer is the "hip and cool" trend.  I remember seeing a front load washer in Chile when I lived there years ago and I thought they were soooo old fashioned, but now I must have one.  Can anyone say sheep...baaaaa?

I think I also want the pedestals, let's face it, this old gray mare just ain't what she used to be, and I don't want to bend down.  (You may ask yourself why I want a front load washer then, but you must remember they are hip and cool and I am a sheep.)

Now is the real problem, do I want steam?  Am I willing to pay for steam?  Do I even know why steam is important? Do I want to steam my clothes anyway?  Agghhhh! I hate struggling with the mysteries of the universe.

Here is the rub, these beasts are expensive.  I can get cheap units made in the old style, but remember I want hip and cool.  Right there I have doubled the price.  Now I am considering this magical steam, which once again doubles the price.  Then I have to add the pedestals, which adds almost $400 to the price.  I have just given up my first born's college account and I still don't know if I have the right machine picked out.  grrrr

After stewing on this all weekend and missing some great sales, I realized the problem is the amount of information I am being asked to digest.  There is Consumer's Report, which I LOVE.  I use it for all major purchases.  Then there are the individual store web sites where you find not only manufacturer information but customer reviews as well.

Have you ever noticed how different customer reviews can be?  One person will love the item with a passion to last the ages and someone else will hate it so much it burns your eyeballs to read the review.  How can one item cause such passion?  More importantly, who do you believe?  I am on serious reviewer overload.

So here I sit, no washer and dryer set picked out, my dryer mocking me and me just as lost as I was when I started.  I want some unbiased knowledgeable person to knock on my door and explain all of this to me using regular English and data based analysis.  I want this mythical person to then sum up the conversation with a decision, preferably one I can afford.

As I doubt this will happen I am forced to go back to my original options.  Option one is to ignore the problem and hope my dryer has a burst of new energy.  (Did I mention my dryer sucks energy? Yet one more reason to get rid of it.) Option two is to throw a dart at the list of options and just buy that one.  Option three is to let my husband decide.  He did a great job last time and as we already know, I am a sheep.  My last option is to lock the door, hunker down, wade through the information and make a choice.

So anyone want to buy me a dryer?  No...?  I told you I had a problem.

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