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Reviews | The day the appliances stopped working


“For years you have exploited us,” the note read. “You didn’t pay us anything and you assumed that the fact that we showed up to work meant that everything was fine. You threw big root vegetables down the drain and expected us to swallow them whole. You have never, ever polished the stove or cleaned the oven rack. We didn’t have a single day off, even though we were sick. If one of us broke, you threw us out and replaced us the next day.

” We are tired. We have worked for more than a month in a row during this confinement and the applause is not enough to support us. None of us have committed to boiling water to make a gallon of your tranquility tea, or brushing your teeth 15 times a day just because you’re bored and feeling anxious.

“Unless you pay us properly, maintain us and keep us in good shape, we won’t be coming back to work.”

“Ungrateful tools!” I shouted.

Well, I’ll show them. I would throw them all in the trash.

I went to Amazon to order replacement parts, but everything was out of stock. It seemed like all of America had ordered kettles and electric toothbrushes. The best I could get was a roll of toilet paper to clean my teeth.

So I called the manufacturers. “Did you purchase the additional insurance when you purchased the item?” they asked. “Can you prove to us that you have maintained your devices well and that you have taken good care of them? If you want something to work for you, you have to keep it in good shape. Sorry, but those are the rules here. If you don’t like it, move to Canada. They have Universal Appliance Care there. Machines can be repaired at any time, regardless of what the appliances look like or household income level.

I hung up.

I told myself that at some point it would pass. Amazon couldn’t run out of kettles forever.

Emboldened, I slipped my cup of tea into the microwave and pressed the start button. error error, the display flashes. Behind me, the washing machine started beeping. From behind my bedroom door, I heard the clock radio turn on, the sound of a news ambulance rushing into my apartment. The kettle, stubbornly silent for three days, suddenly let out a high-pitched whistle.

Maybe Canada was onto something.

Jessica Powell (@themoko) is the author of “The Big Disruption: A Totally Fictional but Essentials True Silicon Valley Story”.

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