Fighting Against Planned Obsolescence

On July 12, 1980 I got married to my darling wife, Aura.  On that same date we purchased a refrigerator for our new house among other things.  It was a Whirlpool refrigerator which has challenged the passing of time.  To this very day, the fridge is still making ice cubes and keeping our drinking water cold.

On January 5th, Mr. Rolando Speid extracted our old refrigerator from our house to have it painted at his shop.  The poor creature was falling apart.  The doors were not shutting properly, it was squirting condensed water on the inside and rust could be seen everywhere.  It reached a point of dilapidation, that we were ready for a replacement.  But, and this is a big but, we would make a last attempt to save the artifact.  Then we called Mr. Speid, who happened to be a friend of a friend, of a friend.  You know how it goes.

Mr. Speid recommended a high quality paint known as polyurethane and Epoxy Prime which should expand the life of the appliance for at least another ten years.  I’m positely sure it will outlast us.

When the refrigerator was finally sand blasted and painted, it looked like a brand new artifact out of the box.  We are a very traditional marriage who don’t believe in trends and fashion.  We do things when they are needed, not when a company tell us that our products should be discarded and replaced by a state-of-the-art new model.  We don’t understand how anybody would camp outside a mall in the middle of the night under freezing temperatures, just to be the first customer to buy a new iPhone.  Others wait for hours in long lines waiting for the shopping mall to open, then they storm into the building, literally fighting their way in to get hold of the box of their dreams.  I’ve seen on TV two persons wrestling on the floor, desperately trying to capture the box of their obsession.  Nope, we don’t agree with this crazy conduct.

Sorry for the digression, I got carried away by the absurdity of irrational behavior and planned obsolescence used by greedy companies who think we are zombies.

Back to our story. The fridge is back home and looks like a million bucks.  It’s working like a Swiss clock and purring like a kitten.  I enjoy looking at its bright oyster color.  This is the third time our refrigerator has been painted and we will keep doing it until it says “No Más”.  Below are several pictures of the renovated appliance.

Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
You can still see the stained rubber band which we have tried to clean with Clorox. So far no joy. Since the rubber band is still insulating the doors, we will not replace it. If it ain’t broken, why fix it. Right? Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.
Photo by ©Omar Upegui R.

As technology advances in strides, old products fall into obsolescence.  What do I mean by that?  Any good dictionary worth its salt will define obsolescence as “a process of becoming obsolete; falling into disuse or becoming out of date.” Example:  A policy of planned obsolescence.  In the case of our Whirlpool refrigerator this axiom doesn’t hold any water.  Good Day.



12 thoughts on “Fighting Against Planned Obsolescence”

  1. What a beautiful home. It’s amazing that it has never been used since 1956. The GE appliances do look as if they’ve never been used. If I had the money and I live nearby I sure would be interested in buying this good looking property.

    Thank you for the link. It was a pleasure reading this article early in the morning.



  2. I so agree with the consumerism comments! It is disgraceful that people act that way on Black Friday after Thanksgiving. They leave all common sense and courtesy at home when they go out shopping. I prefer to not go out on those days if possible, haha. Your fridge looks great! We had to replace ours when something went wrong and it just stopped working. It was cheaper to get a replacement but we are like you and don’t replace things just because of newer models.

    Interesting article, Jim and Nena. Really lovely kitchen but it is strange that no one lived in the home for so long but maintained it. Hmmm.

  3. In Panama we are copycatting the Black Friday frenzy. Last Christmas it was really nasty. You expressed it very well Barbara. People leave their good manners and courtesy at home when they go out to buy on a Black Friday.

    The article provided by Jim and Nena is a beautiful story of conservation and excellent maintenance. Amazing!



  4. I prefer varnishing to painting, but when I do paint, I use marine quality one-part polyurethanes or epoxy paint. If it holds up on the outside of a boat for years, it ought to do for decades on an inside-the-home appliance.

    You might take a look and see if this Barkeepers’ Friend is available there. I’ve used it successfully on the rusty stains on my own refrigerator’s gasket. I got the idea because it works like a dream on rust stains on fiberglass, on the boats. It’s got oxalic acid as the active ingredient, although at a very low concentration, like 10%. If there’s just a little place, you even can make a paste of it, put it on, and let it sit. It might be worth a try.

    And, if it doesn’t work, it’s still great for sinks, stainless, and so on. What your price would be I can’t say, but the last time I bought a can of the powdered it was $1.49!

  5. I recall that Mr. Rolando Speid used Epoxy Prime to paint our refrigerator. He explained it was used to paint the hull of boats in Panama and very resistant to rust.

    I’ll drop over to our nearest Do-It-Center and find out if they carry Bar Keepers Friend® Cleanser & Polish. I read its properties and certainly worth a try. As you know, Panama has a very humid climate and rust is an everyday problem. This product can be extremely useful.

    Thank you for your recommendations, Linda.



  6. Omar, you can find Bar Keepers Friend® Cleanser & Polish here. If Do-It-Center doesn’t have it (and they may very well in the city) try Discovery Center.

  7. Nope, we decided to give it a fresh coat of Oyster white paint. Now it’s as white as a snowflake. I’m going to try the product suggested by Linda which I understand is carried by Discovery Center.

    Anyway, I’ll jot down your suggestion of white vinegar and baking soda, just in case. Thank you for your tip, the pazeras.

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