Maybe You Definitely Need Something You Never Even Wanted

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No one likes a toaster oven that’s smarter than them.

Perhaps you’re one of the people who has spent a few sleepless nights wondering what the washer and dryer are up to when you’re not around.

If so, the executives over at the Whirlpool Corporation, that global manufacturer that has been trying to turn drudgery into fun for over one hundred years, have got you covered. They’ve come up with something they’re calling “6th Sense Live ™ Technology” which sounds like it would give your appliances the ability to speak with the dead, doesn’t it? But no, it is actually something much, much worse better. From the Whirlpool website:

With Whirlpool® 6th Sense Live™ technology, you can go anywhere with complete confidence that everything is running smoothly at home. Near or far, it’s never been easier to monitor and manage all your appliances. You’re always connected. And with that peace of mind, you’re free to focus on whatever else you want to do.

Whirlpool App

The app is free, but the appliances that go with it cost $4000.

And there you have it. Whirlpool has succeeded in making this line of appliances “smart” like those fancy cellphones we all carry now, so you can access them from anywhere, using an application on your fancy cellphone. The appliances range in price from $949 (for a know-it-all dishwasher) to $1999 (for the smarty-pants refrigerator), which both seem like bargains, because how much are you willing to pay for “focus” and “peace of mind”? Plus, they’ll wash out your coffee mug and chill the pinot grigio.

But it turns out, skeptical Americans remain unconvinced, and Whirlpool hasn’t had much success selling these appliances, at least according to this piece in the Washington Post, “Whirlpool’s ‘Internet of Things’ Problem: No One Really Wants a ‘Smart’ Washing Machine.”

From what I read in that article, it seems as though Americans want their washing machines, like their reality television shows, dumb. We don’t want to be “connected” to our appliances the way we want to be connected to, let’s say, Twitter or Words With Friends. We want our appliances to stay over there, in the cramped laundry room or the creepy basement, and not bother us too much. And we certainly don’t want our appliances to get smart, otherwise they might start harping about the crappy way we load the silverware basket.

So Whirlpool is presented with the problem of trying to get a bunch of us to realize we definitely need something that we never even wanted, which was the same dilemma facing every guy I dated while trying to convince me to have anal sex.

Good luck with that, Whirlpool.

The image of the neon appliance can be found at freeimages.com. I took the picture of the My Smart Appliances app on my very smart iPhone. 

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10 thoughts on “Maybe You Definitely Need Something You Never Even Wanted

  1. Ellen Hawley says:

    What my neighbors’ dryer got up to one night when they were asleep was starting a fire and it would’ve burned the house down if one of them hadn’t happened to wake up and see flames dancing outside the window. So stay awake, folks, and keep an eye on those appliances. They’re up to no good.

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    • Karen says:

      I, too, had a friend with an arsonist dryer, so we must always be vigilant.

      And perhaps that’s where Whirlpool’s advertising campaign should go: show all the disasters that could be averted by smart appliances with the ability to text you messages like, “Hey! I’m on fire!” or “My temperature is rising and the ice cream is melting!” or “You overcooked the chicken, again!” so we could dial 911 or order take out.

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  2. Michelle at The Green Study says:

    Comedian Don Friesen does a very funny bit about smart appliances, except his talk. There’s the Dr. Phil alarm clock and the toaster that he has to go to couples therapy with, because it feels ignored until someone wants toast.
    In this instance, people are smarter than the machines, because usually we can absolutely be sold on things we don’t want. I didn’t even know I needed a special machine to walk or a car that gives me directions. When the technological apocalypse comes, I’m going to be lost and unable to move.

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    • Karen says:

      You know, I’m big on technology, and there are few things that I prefer to do in real life that aren’t made better by the internet, but I can’t imagine a scenario in which I would want my washing machine to text me.

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  3. Elyse says:

    Until the machine can sort the laundry, wash it, transfer it to the dryer, fold it when done and put it away, I’m not interested. Come to think of it, I’m not terribly interested in the front-loader I bought a few years ago that take four hours to wash a load which comes out still stinky (my husband’s clothes of course; mine never stink). Next washing machine I buy will be a rock and a scrub brush.

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    • Karen says:

      Exactly. After I wrote this post, a friend of mine texted me joking about his lunchtime battles with the microwave at work, which he can never quite get to reheat his leftovers properly. Why can’t there be a microwave with three buttons: one to heat a cup of water for tea, one to pop popcorn and one to reheat leftovers? Who uses their microwave for anything else?

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  4. pinklightsabre says:

    I dig the APPLIANCES graphic. And how you manage to bring this around to anal sex, which I didn’t see coming. But does remind me of the Sonic Youth album Washing Machine, and an erotic moment I had with that that I won’t share here because that’s not my bag or yours. I’m feeling Dirty, which is another Sonic Youth album, not as good as Sister. Sorry, good night.

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