Thursday, June 09, 2005

We Are Stupid Consumers

A couple weeks ago, the oven on my Mother In Law's stove stopped working. She called a repair guy, who told her that it would cost $400 to fix the over. At that price, he advised she get a new stove. Good for him for not taking advantage of MIL.

But here's the problem: In economics, a stoves and other large appliences are what is called durable goods. Durable goods are suppose to have a 15 year life span. The stove in question was 7 years old. Oh, sure, there will be some that will fail in less than 15, but others will last 21, so it evens out-- right?

Turns out, the problem with her stove was that the computer that controlled the ovens temperature had failed. The repair guy explained that it was going to cost him $300 to buy the replacement part. WTF! Who in the world decided that replacing a $3 mechanical thermostat with a $300 computer system was a good idea?

And $300 for the computer? You can buy a bare bones Dell for $300!

Here's the problem: computers do not like heat. As a matter of fact, they prefer being supercooled. So why are we putting a computer inside a machine that is meant to operate at 400 degrees?

This is stupid... But you know what-- It is now the industry standard. I didn't like the stove in my new house and I had to look at about a hundred models to find one that didn't have a computerized oven.

We consumers should nat stand for this; but we will, because we're stupid.

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