It used to be the Sears Kenmore brand was made by Whirlpool & they were the workhorse machines you could count on getting 20 years of use. Maybe a repair or two along the way, but even the middle-of-the-road priced machines were built to last. That was then .
At some point Sears decided to let other lower bidders make their signature brand, and that is when the Kenmore name went to hell in a handbasket.
Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence in industrial design is a policy of deliberately planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete or nonfunctional after a certain period.
This Kenmore washer lasted 10 years. It required at least 2 repair visits. In the end the agitator might turn once for every 20 motor rotations. If it costs $120 bucks to have a repairman come to the house, plus additional parts & labor these days, a third strike & a decade of use,
make it not worth paying to have it repaired again.
The spin cycle that didn't.
Early on the final rinse & spin option filled the tub with rinse water, but then it just stopped.
You would come to the machine ready to rotate the load, only to find it full of water. It required a human to manually click the dial to the spin & then it would spin out, draining the water.
This mechanism is the weak link in the system- a plastic part on the lid that pushes a metal piece , telling the machine it is OK to complete the cycle & spin out.
Sometimes it worked, about half the time it did not.
Some bean counter @ Sears figured out a way to increase their profit margin. Get a less expensive, less quality manufacturer to make their goods, and make more money. I can buy a comparable Whirlpool agitator machine for less money today, than what we paid for this machine a decade ago.
Technology has changed big time since then & now they have super high efficient machines w/o agitators, that use a fraction of the amount of water. It sounds good, but will it be like those low flow toilets that used so much less water for flushing-- you just had to flush it 2 or 3 times to get a successful flush?
In any case, I hope Sears figures out customers who got the funky product are not coming back to buy more of their machines. So when I heard this financial update about Sears, I knew why:
"In its earnings warning after the market closed Monday, the company cited a drop in appliance, clothing and electronics sales. It forecast a loss for the quarter that ended April 30 of $145 million to $195 million, or $1.35 to $1.81 per share, compared with a first-quarter profit a year ago of $16 million.
Revenue at Sears stores fell 5.2 percent.
Hey Mr. Sears CEO--- Here's a tip : Don't make crappy machines!
So now Kenmore & Maytag are on our shitlist.
Although they assure us Maytag is now made by Whirlpool, the last dishwasher experience- a funky machine that did not do the one job it was designed to do- clean dishes, from day one, then a few years later, a notice that the machine has a heating element problem & to cease & desist using the machine, due to a fire hazard. They would replace the faulty element for free, or we could have a coupon to get another Maytag machine. Game over.
We rolled the dice on a new Whirlpool washing machine, and it will be delivered today. But it's is weird to think buying a spendy machine is "rolling the dice". Owner reviews vary wildly, including remarks that the teched up electronic machine went belly up in 2 year's time & the mfr did nothing to remedy the situation. We purchased it with much trepidation. Do I really want a fancified machine with so may features to potentially go wrong?
Plan B will be to go back to the old style agitator machine .Plan C is go down to the river & hand wash???
Is a machine with all it's sensors, chimes, electronic countdown-- so smart IT chooses the water levels & such... really smart enough to be making all my laundry decisions?
I see it runs for 73 minutes, on a normal load, yet it is supposed to be super efficient. Using much less water, but for a longer time... not sure how that makes it super efficient.... but for some reason we decided to try this space age technology. We felt that for $100 bucks, getting the extended 4 year warranty, making it 5 years total was worth it. $25 bucks a year to not have to worry about the machine going belly up, ¬ being a product test guinea pig was worth it. But really, that is what it has come down to in the 21st century. Buying a more expensive machine, with more bells & whistles, but feeling more vulnerable that we would be left holding the bag, should the machine fail prematurely.
The store has a 30 day return policy, so we will have our way with this machine & see if this whiz bang machine that reviewers say "you MUST read the manual" in order to operate properly, to see if it is all that it claims to be.
Consumer Reports call it a "Best Buy", but we'll be the judge of that.
Goodbye Kenmore, hello Whirlpool!
Let's hope it all comes out in the wash, as they say!
P.S. This house IS Pandora's box. The installer guy came, brought in the machine, hooked it up & the cold water spigot sprung a steady drip, where there was not one before. Sometimes it happens, he shrugged, as he left. So now we have to get a plumber to come, on a Saturday because it is not just a matter of unscrewing off the old spigot connection. The manager said it's not the installer's fault, it is an "old plumbing in the house" issue. He also said we were lucky to be home when this happened.
Let's see how "lucky" we feel when we get the bill from the plumber.