Coffee heat rising

Why are American products in the can?

Because nothing better is on offer, at least not for what most people can afford?

American consumers tend to look for the best they can afford. When they find there’s nothing any better than what’s on offer, they take what’s on offer. Eventually manufacturers realize that if they keep their production standards low so as to keep (at least some) prices low, people will buy products built to a lower standard: cheaper to produce than the older, better-quality products were, and easier to sell lots more units.

Car manufacturers have been forced, by government regulation, to produce vehicles that have at least some safety features that we didn’t have back in the “good” old days. Fine: cars have shoulder harnesses and effective brakes and at least something more than a layer of plastic between you and the oncoming. It would be hard to argue that automobiles are not better than the ones we had in the 1950s. Lots better.

But now look at appliances:

Stoves that have no real burners: just sheets of glass with hot spots. Fewer details to have to clean: true. But problematic when it comes to popping corn, to any kind of preparation that requires rapid changes of heat, to creams and sauces that require accurate temperature control.

Refrigerators that clank and clonk and grind and roar but work no more effectively than your mother’s did…maybe less so.

Ovens that reside in a kitchen cabinet….very handy. And they’re self-cleaning, also exceptionally handy. But the heat emitted by an oven set to “self-clean”…what does that do to the wooden cabinetry around it? Nothing, maybe…or maybe we don’t wanna know.

Microwaves are extremely…uhm, kewl. We didn’t have those in the good ole’ days. Cooking the breakfast bacon left you with a pan holding a puddle of grease to clean up, and there was no such thing as heating a bowl of soup or a dish of leftover spaghetti in 60 seconds.

Sometimes I think — maybe le mot juste is “know” — that the sense that newer ain’t necessarily better is a function of old age. Yep: I’m getting crankier. I’m getting more and more reluctant to have to learn new devices and new procedures to do tasks that have always been simple and inexpensive to accomplish. This Brave New World of ours ain’t for the faint of heart.

Or for anyone who’s sot in her ways… 😀

Have to drive down to the dentist’s this morning. Don’t wanna.

But not because I don’t want to visit the excellent dentist, but because I just don’t want to drive to 16th Street and Maryland right this minute.

It’s not very far. No. But…the roads will likely be blocked with construction and certainly clogged with lunatic nitwit drivers. People around here seem to lose touch with common sense when they get behind a steering wheel. They jerk around. They run signals. They ride the center lane. They drive 25 mph in a 35 mph zone. They refuse to get out into the intersection when preparing to turn left. They refuse to turn right on red, nevvermind that no traffic is coming. They tailgate. They get into the fast lane and drive so slow they invite their fellow homicidal drivers to tailgate.


What used to be fun — driving around town — has evolved into an unpleasant experience. I used to love to drive — in fact, sometimes used to waste gasoline just puttering around exploring the city. No more! If I could never have to get on the road again — private car or public transit — I’d be happy.

And I suspect that sentiment applies to other modernized tasks, like shopping. Yeah…like shopping for a GD refrigerator.

2 thoughts on “Why are American products in the can?”

  1. My guess is that the increased prevalence of plastic parts/components in appliances results in shorter lifespan due to reduced durability.

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