What Can You Say About a Three Year Old Coffee Grinder that Died?

It used to be, if your appliance broke down, you could take it in and get it fixed. Now that most are cheap, you just throw it away and replace it. According to a study of the yellow pages, between 1998 and 2006, the number of listings for appliance repair shops has dropped by 62%. According to Normand Tetreault of Personal Edge, a Quebec company that specializes in the sales and service of small electric appliances- "many products are now made in China and it can be hard to get parts". He says also that appliances are less robust, with a lot more plastic.

Our three year old seventy-five dollar Cuisinart coffee grinder just died, and I am pretty handy and thought I would look inside. I opened it up and found- a circuit board. Why are there electronics in a coffee grinder? I knew there were three switches in it, but could only get at one without buying an extra long screwdriver, and what would I do when I got to it? they are all moulded into the casing and there is no way I could replace the part.

I determined that I would go to the Gaggia store and buy their cheapest machine, a strong, mechanical unit with no circuit boards that would last as long as I do. The owner told me that it was three hundred and seventy-five dollars. I choked.

This is what we have come to. If you can afford to shop at Williams Sonoma or the European import shops you can get quality that lasts. Otherwise you get formerly great names like Cuisinart at the outlet mall or Wal-Mart and throw it away after three years, adding to the growing pile of waste that is burying us.

I don't need circuit boards in my coffee grinder; I am smart enough to tell it when to turn off. I will pay a fair price for quality. Am I alone?

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