‘I’ve joined the throwaway society - but I rather resent it’

Photo: PA

Photo: PA - Credit: PA

My mother will haunt me. Any day now I expect her to appear at my side, wagging a spectral finger and telling me off for wanton extravagance. All because I bought a new tumble dryer.

I'm not sure she even approved of tumble dryers in the first place – not when you could have a clothes horse and a house full of steam.

But we'd had the old dryer for nearly 10 years. For the past two years we've had to open the door with a spoon. I looked at buying a new door. The last time I did that it cost £35 and I fitted it myself. Now it's nearly £70.

So we carried on using the spoon. Mother would have approved. She didn't believe in replacing anything unless you had absolutely no choice. Half the machines in her house were held together with duct tape or string or needed a special knack to get working, they were so long past their sell-by dates.

But then something else went on our dryer. Maybe the lock. Another £25. So that would be £95.


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I wasn't sure if I could fit the lock myself – if that indeed was the problem – so I looked at call- out charges. £99! So that could easily be £194 for a repair.

A brand new tumble dryer – new version of the same model – would be £200. No contest.

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So I immediately ordered online and it was delivered next day by two cheerful chaps who manoeuvred it into the very tight tumble-dryer shaped space in our utility room. Problem sorted in just over 24 hours.

And they took the old one away.

Now apart from a dodgy lock, which could no doubt be fixed in two minutes by someone who knew what they were doing, that was a perfectly good machine. Yet it was probably going for scrap.

It seemed a wicked waste. But I had been manoeuvred into an impossible position, not of my choosing. Why would anyone repair a 10-year-old machine when a brand new one cost only £6 more?

The tumble dryer joins a long list of machines forcibly replaced for lack of one small part. Even if you could fit them, many manufacturers don't supply them or charge such exorbitant prices that we are forced to buy new.

My sons can't see the problem, happily sling out the old and replace with the new and talk cheerfully of creating jobs – even if mostly abroad – and boosting the economy and all that.

But I find it all vaguely worrying. A wicked, needless waste.

Maybe I'm more like my mum than I realised…

•The opinions above are those of Sharon Griffiths. See the EDP each day for more from our columnists.

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