The dishwasher here at Stately Rice Manor has been acting up lately. It sounds normal enough when it’s running, but seems to have lost power. Our plastic cups aren’t tossed around like they used to be; and the more substantial ones don’t always get clean.

It has other problems. The top rack is losing its plastic coating, and the wire underneath is rusting. The bottom rack is missing about a quarter of the…prongs? spikes? – the pointy things that hold the dishes upright have been breaking off, one by one, for a long time. Having a large dead zone like that does rather complicate loading an entire meal’s worth of dishes.

So today we went to Sears and bought a replacement. It was an interesting experience.

Dishwashers start at $300, and the high end models are over $1,000. (“For that much,” I said to Jennifer, “it had better load & unload itself.”) The prices do not include installation, which is a bit misleading. I imagine nearly everyone who buys a dishwasher from Sears will have Sears install it, which adds $150 to the cost. It would be more honest to include that in the advertised price, and offer a corresponding discount to the (few) do-it-yourself types out there.

Proudly displayed on each model is its loudness rating – measured in decibels, as if potential buyers had any grasp of what that means. How loud is 54 decibels? Is there any meaningful difference between 54 and 51? The really high-end models were in the forties, which is effectively silent. (Is it worth $1,000 to have a dishwasher that quiet? I think not.)

The sales clerk really pushed the service plan, to the point Jennifer was getting annoyed by the hard sell. Sam & I were off looking at electronics, so we missed all that. (Jake was at school.)

Our new dishwasher arrives next week. And there will be much rejoicing.