The Whole DOES NOT Equal the Sum of the Parts

Surely I’m not the only one this happens to.  One little piece of something breaks.  I go online and search for that part, only to find that that one part will actually end up costing me more than it does to buy the whole appliance all over again.


Pardon me, but does this make sense? 


What in the world has gone wrong here?  Now if it were a motor or something really complicated, I could possibly understand, but we’re talking a little piece of plastic!  What was even more outrageous this time was that all the other little pieces of plastic and silicone are available for $20 or less, but this particular piece of plastic (no larger or more complex) costs over $60.  Say what????  WHY??? 


I have a theory.  Maybe I should call it Homefire’s Law.   I believe that the more likely a piece is to break, the more it costs to replace it.  This piece had the hook that fastened onto another piece–a high-risk area if I ever saw one–but nope, buying that part costs more than the whole apparatus altogether. 


My iced tea maker is another example.  The heater and pump work great.  The pitcher is cheap, brittle plastic.  Mine is badly cracked and patched together with Shoe Goo (which, amazingly enough, has held for quite a few months, now.)  Of course, this kind of pitcher is not readily available in stores, so in order to replace it you must order online and pay shipping, which totals as much as a new machine.  BAH!


The really irritating part of this is that we are hearing cautions about how the landfills are filling up.  Well, DUH!!!  If you have to throw away perfectly good things because you can’t afford to buy parts, then helloooo–landfills get the business!!   What else can they expect?


And why have we come to this?  Perhaps it’s because we have an inflated idea of what our time is worth.  Whenever our salaries are high enough that it’s not worth our time to take down the artificial Christmas tree and pack away the ornaments (so we just throw it all away) is it possible that we have overestimated ourselves?  (Did you know that many businesses do just that?)  Is this why America has become a disposable society?  Is this good stewardship, to pitch it rather than store it or fix it?  After all, my time is worth $30/hour–why should I waste an hour fixing a $24.95 item?


I think this is a good indicator of how far out of balance our culture is.  We now value our time far more than we value money.  It’s bizarre, but I don’t see any way to reverse it.  Anyone else have ideas on this?  I’m thinking there’s a lot more to this issue than I first realized.

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About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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8 Responses to The Whole DOES NOT Equal the Sum of the Parts

  1. fwren says:

    I second your “Bah”!  My dishwasher went out on Friday night last week, flooding the carpet in front of my sink ~ with out-of-state children home for the weekend!  A plumber came on Saturday morning (always happens on a weekend, right?) to check where the water was coming from ~ a pipe or whatever.  He said a seal went out on the dishwasher ~ might as well buy a new one.  It would cost more than feasible for the labor to replace it.  So not only do we have a bill coming for a plumber on overtime pay, but my Christmas present turned out to cost LOTS more than we were planning to spend ~ actually, we weren’t planning on buying each other anything at all this year.  So yeah ~ BAH!  It will be fun to have a new one though ~ I think.
    By the way, you are mentioned in my post today ~ 

  2. BooksForMe says:

    Oh, I agree with you and I think it is so messed up!  I actually knew a woman who did just what you described, throwing away her ornaments after Christmas.  Unbelievable.  The notion of our money being more valuable than our time is fascinating.  How horrifying the thought that we value ourselves so little.

  3. Anonymous says:

    RYC: I actually wonder why I relate so closely to a character that is expendible.
    I look forward to reading more of “Homefire’s Laws”.  I think you should make an entire book of them!!

  4. ElizabethDNB says:

    I agree.  That has happened to me more than once with toys and kitchen appliances.
    My husband has said the same thinga bout the value of time.  I’ll get really proud of myself for having spent 2 hours and gas to get parts and saved us $10!  He brings me back to reality.

  5. ShineOn1983 says:

    I think especially my generation is into throwing things away vs. keeping them, but it is creeping back into the older generations too. My grandma saves EVERYTHING; my mom does not. Maybe our parents watched their parents save so much and don’t want to be like them;)
    I’ve noticed this trend in money too. The younger generations mostly have no clue how to manage money. We’ve thrown away our grandparents values.

  6. msmarie0106 says:

    Found you through fwren’s site..  Really enjoyed your post.  It’s like sitting down and talking with a friend.  Have subscribed so I can keep up with your ‘laws”.  Take care.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I agree.  We needed a new plastic knob for our oven and it cost nearly $30!  That was after having to search for a matching one, which wasn’t easy.  It drives me crazy to have throw things away because it’s cheaper than simply getting the original one repaired.  I tend to keep things so long that when I finally do replace it, it really throws my kids off.

  8. Totally, totally agree. I get frustrated with this. I want to be a good steward, but is it a better steward to throw out the old and get new when it is cheaper or to repair the old?  Grr…Plus, we have SO much. To keep something for parts is just clutter.

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