Back in 2019, our dishwasher failed and flooded the kitchen. We got new flooring out of that, and a new kitchen island my brother made for us.

I discovered this morning that the replacement dishwasher we bought then has now itself developed a fault—fortunately, not in a way which leaks water. We had purchased a more expensive, higher-end brand then, thinking that the availability of parts and a repair network would mean that when this day eventually came, we could fix it, or pay someone to do so. In practice, not so much.

I began to see the writing on the wall for this idea a couple years ago when the top cover bracket, the part that encases the display, came loose and got bent out of shape. It’s just a thin piece of metal which should be easy to replace, so I tried to order a replacement. It was not to be found. The manufacturer, which sells plenty of other parts, apparently doesn’t sell that part. But of course, it was mostly cosmetic—you just had to make sure to close the dishwasher a particular way: annoying, but bearable.

Fast forward to today, when the machine is not merely annoying, but non-functional, and we’re forced to consider repair versus replacement. Can it be fixed? Are the parts available? How much will it cost? And lastly, but most importantly, how long will it take? Ten people create a lot of dirty dishes! And how long will it be before we’re in this spot again? With those ten people’s dishes, we’re washing loads three and sometimes four times a day. Will the next dishwasher even last as long?

So we will probably just go to Home Depot or Lowe’s, find a new one that isn’t terrible, install it, and throw the old one out. This is problematic in lots of well-known structural and systemic ways (waste disposal, environmental concerns, supply chain, planned obsolescence, and so on); but it’s also likely the rational choice for us. I wish that weren’t true, because I like the idea of well-crafted, repairable machines. Maybe one day.