Items not worth a flip

Published 8:17 pm Friday, April 9, 2010

As a new subscriber to Consumer Reports magazine, I am discovering that a lot of my stuff falls under the category of “not recommended.”

About a year ago, we bought a new Chrysler 300 from Reggie Dean. We love the car. Consumer Reports doesn’t.

On my riding lawnmower, a YardMachine, I can cut our lawn and the lot next door in about 45 minutes. It sits outside in the weather, always starts, even after sitting a few months in the winter weather.

Email newsletter signup

It does what it is supposed to do—cut grass. I think it’s a great machine. The magazine doesn’t even list it for a test, recommending top of the line machines with many wonderful expensive attachments.

Our Whirlpool glass stop stove is at the bottom of the list, and the Whirlpool refrigerator fairs somewhat better, but far from top-of-the line.

Exasperated with two weed trimmers in my garage, one electric and one gas, neither of which work worth a flip, I delivered them both last week to the garbage truck, which comes every Tuesday.

Then on TV, comes now this remarkable battery driven yard trimmer, touted by Robin Hartl, who used to co-host a PBS home improvement and renovation series. I figured if she said it was OK, then it must be OK.

After agreeing to three monthly payments, I looked down the list of trimmers in this month’s CR inspections, and found the expensive trimmer I just purchased isn’t listed.

The car.

CR reports the interior décor is without glamor, lacking in imagination and quality workmanship. We think the car is terrific. Smooth on the road, wonderful gas mileage, comfortable to drive, easy to handle, and extremely good looking. Black is beautiful.

I checked the Chrysler 300 on line, to discover what other 300 owners thought about their cars, and found no negative comments, some comparing it favorably to former Mercedes vehicles they had owned.

Go stick it, CR.

Our glasstop Whirlpool range was at the bottom of a list of 11 selections, gaining a score of 75 out of 100 points. It was only a list, no further explanations given of any problems. If they had given reasons, I might have agreed with some of them, but the stove provides its basic functions, yet there is something about it I don’t like. I don’t know what it is about this range I don’t like, I just know I don’t like it.

Our side-by-side Whirlpool refrigerator only gets 68 points out of a hundred, but the Whirlpool top-of-the line, $1,800, gets best of show. Our less pricey model comes in for some hits, mainly that it is noisy.

I agree. It is noisy. Sometimes at night, about 3 a.m., it sounds as if a home-invasion wrecking crew is coming through the front door.

After two years, I am still amazed at the extremely sharp quality picture from our Hitachi plasma HDTV. CR says the LCD model is an acceptable buy, but fails to list my plasma at all.

The last issue graded home carpet cleaners, and alas, my Oreck was not on the list. I would have really suspected something if the Oreck was listed, which meant they tested it, and found possibly the machine had possibly something of value.

If CR wants to know about the Oreck, I can give them an earful. It lasted about three applications before falling apart. It too went off with the Tuesday trash truck. Stanley Steemer got the carpets clean.

The screaming meemie Oreck vacuum cleaner is not far either from the Tuesday trash truck.

If you are a regular reader of CR magazine and similar organizations that test stuff, you discover that top of the line merchandise is not available in little ‘ole towns like ours.

So if you live in the big cities, chances are a top-of-the-line merchandise is more available.

So where does that leave us, those of us who like small town living.


Don’t subscribe to Consumer Reports. Life will be so much simpler, and you won’t have the aggravation that everything you own isn’t with a flip.