Early on in our marriage, Brian and I moved into the house that my mother inherited from her mother. We lived there while fixing it up for my parents to rent out after we moved. There wasn’t a washer and dryer in the house; my grandmother had washed everything by hand.

A wonderful family from our church gave us their old, working washer and dryer. That same washer and dryer are in the basement of that house, being use by the current renter, 15 years after we moved out!

Is it too much to ask for appliances to last like that any more?

In November of 2011, we had to replace the washing machine that came with the house that we bought after moving out of my grandmother’s. It was the machine that the previous owners had used; it wasn’t new. That washing machine was at least 15 years old when we had to replace it.

We bought a front-loading, energy-efficient machine. I was excited. I finally had a washing machine that could fit more than three pairs of jeans at a time in it. I bought big, believing we’d have that machine well into our boys’ teen years, and at some point I’d have the jeans of three men plus my own to wash.

Less than a week after the warranty on the washing machine expired, the door latch wouldn’t lock. If the latch won’t lock, the machine won’t turn on. I made an appointment online for the store where we purchasedit  from to come out, and received a confirmation by email about the appointment.

What happened next was the epitome of clichés about customer service in the United States. They were coming to fix a product that I had bought from their company and that had broken within a week after its warranty expired. When the time window I was given for my appointment was almost up, I phoned to make sure they were coming. Although I had a confirmation number for the appointment, the phone customer service person, who spoke very poor English, couldn't confirm I had an appointment. She put me on hold to get more information and disconnected me. Next, I tried the live, online customer service person. She confirmed there was an appointment but couldn't confirm anyone would actually be out. No one showed up.

The ensuing fiasco of my experience with the customer service manager from the repair department is another story completely. I was promised discounts, a new warranty, and I was told that the manger would personally oversee everything if I would reschedule. I gave them a second chance. Huge mistake. Almost none of what I was promised actually materialized.

Eventually, the washing machine got fixed. The repair guy who finally showed up was great. Everything else about the experience was a total letdown.

Now a month and a half later, I find myself with another appliance, bought at the same store, that’s broken. If you remember, two years ago I wrote about washing dishes by hand. Our dishwasher broke, and we were debating about whether to replace it, but we chose to do so. The dishwasher we bought stopped working yesterday. No warning. No coughs, hiccups or sputters. It just doesn’t turn on. Less than two years after it was brand spanking new. I have a local, independent repair company coming out on Monday to take a look at it.

I’m angry. I’m discouraged. I’m never buying an appliance from that store again.

Is it too much to think that appliances should last 15 years or more? Instead of maybe one and two years?  Is that even an option anymore?

How do you know if an appliance is good? Brian and I have been reading reviews on various models of dishwashers. Most of those reviews were written by people who have had the appliances for a short time and were happy with them. I was happy with the washing machine and the dishwasher at first. I would have written good reviews on them if I had chosen to write reviews.

When we buy new appliances for our kitchen, I want to do what I can to make sure we’re buying quality, long-lasting ones. Any suggestions? Where do you go for good appliances, and do you have any hints or tips on picking ones that will last? I would really appreciate your ideas.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Where do you get quality appliances these days?
Dealing with 2 broken appliances that are relatively new has our food blogger wondering: How do you choose quality, long-lasting appliances?