Sometimes we just have to ‘make do’

Published 2:30 pm Friday, February 18, 2022

I haven’t owned many irons through the years. 

I remember when I was young, about 6 years old, my mom gave me a little red iron that actually worked.  I would plug it in and help her with the ironing using my little red iron and iron all the flat pieces—pillowcases, handkerchiefs, napkins, etc. 

My most recent purchase was about a year and a half ago.  I never cared for the iron that I had been using for years.  I felt that I paid too much for it to start with and it was heavy and took forever to heat up.  So, I decided to do some research and purchased a new one. 

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It was a Maytag. 

It heated up so quickly, had lots of steam, and was lightweight.  I was so happy with my new purchase.  That is until the plastic closure on the water tank broke.  It was just a little tab that snapped off.  And a design flaw in my opinion.  I contacted the company and was offered a replacement and told I didn’t need to return the damaged iron.  I was also told that I would be receiving the newest version of that iron.  Who could argue with an upgrade? 

Well, upon receiving the replacement, I was ready to argue.  It had the same water tank design which meant this one too could snap.  And it was much larger and heavier than the other iron.  I was not a happy consumer.  How many times have you had the experience that the newest item on the market was truly an inferior design?  Often the “new and improved” just isn’t! 

So, I decided to continue to use the original iron, flawed as it was, and to be careful not to allow the water to slosh out of the tank.  

I had a similar experience when I ordered some shampoo and conditioner that I was not able to buy locally.  It seemed to take longer to receive the order, given that the two-day shipping gods seem to be running behind lately.  And when I opened the box, the tube of shampoo had a split at the top.  Just a small one, but enough that some of the shampoo was oozing out.  I remember we have Duck tape and applied a small piece of tape across the small split.  Problem solved.  

But it got me to thinking how often we buy products that are damaged or products that don’t hold up.  Often, it’s the packaging that is the problem.  I bought a package of shredded mozzarella cheese that is resealable.  You know the concept of a ridge that fits into a complementary groove.  Except this package didn’t have the ridge! 

So, it was impossible to close by simply pressing the two sides together.  Of course, I had to stuff the package into a zip-lock bag in order to keep the contents fresh and contained in the package.  Was that package the only one in the batch that was missing the groove to reseal the package, or was it a batch of thousands?  What about quality control?  

In each instance that I’ve mentioned, I probably could have returned the product but that was inconvenient to do.  And in the case of the iron, I had already spent a fair amount of time to get the replacement.  

We often “make do” because it’s the path of least resistance.  I know everything can’t be perfect all the time, but the glitches and the flaws are happening more and more it seems.  Am I being unrealistic when I think things should work the way they’re supposed to?  Ah, yes!  I know what you’re thinking.  Yes, I do have more important things to worry about, so I’ll let this gripe go for now.  Thanks for listening.  


Bonnie Brown writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle. Contact her at