My American Family – The Dishwasher

american-familythumbnail.jpg “What are you doing?” “What is she doing?” That’s what I heard from Denise and Keith when I was washing the dishes by hand one day, and I replied, in a confusing-sound way, “I’m cleaning the dishes!”. “You’re silly, you don’t have to do it like that, just put it in the dishwasher”, said Denise. Hadn’t they known that I’ve been in the US for 7 years and that dishwashers exist in Brazil (and have existed for many years), I’d have thought that they thought I just came out of the cave.

The things is I never used the dishwasher to wash my dishes! Even though I’ve had it. I have always washed my dishes by hand, and so has our nanny/cleaning lady in Brazil. Which means I was never exposed to the dishwasher and its use and consequently, I don’t even care, or even think, about it.

I’ve been thinking about this for quite sometime now, and I think that one easy way to understand the fact that the dishwasher is not as present in my life as it is at other people’s lives is this: top of mind. The dishwasher is just not top of mind for me when I think about washing dishes, as any other brand would be for any other of my needs/wants. I didn’t grew up with it (we got a dishwasher when I was a full grown teenager), I never used it and I’m so locked into my old habit of doing the dishes by hand (so much to say about habits!) that I won’t use the dishwasher even when it’s readily available to me.

WOW, and then, we marketers, have to think of creative ways to make people behave differently and buy our products! I can testify to it, it’s not easy… no dishwasher manufactured has convinced me, to this date, to use the dishwasher as opposed to my hands. The only thing that came close to me thinking about giving it a try was Grandma Lee’s comment about savings, that I should use the dishwasher “because you save more water”. That got to me… if there’s one thing I don’t like to do, is to waste. I have washed less dishes by hand now; I rinse my dishes and put them either in the sink (my friend said it’s ok, since she also hates when I do it by hand) or straight in the dishwasher.

It’s taken me a while, but I’m breaking an old habit that I thought I could never break.

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4 responses to “My American Family – The Dishwasher

  1. When I am in France, my mum always put the food in nice plates and dishes that we simply have to use a dishwasher.

    When I am in the UK, I never use any dishes so I can get away with cleaning the dishes myself – I guess it’s also a question of need and lifestage…

  2. While I grew up with a dishwasher in the house and in every living space I had while in college, I’ve often lived without one and never cared about having to wash dishes by hand. In the DR, for example, where the power (“la luz”) was so erratic, it made no sense to have appliances such as a dishwasher or microwave in the house. Everybody did them by hand — in fact, in a special sink in the back of the house or apt., on the patio if the former.

    In some places, it appears to be a status thing — only the poor or those “not developed” or “without a maid” do it by hand rather than by a dishwasher. I think this is what many advertisers rely upon in marketing dishwashers. Nonsense, to my mind.

    What Grandma Lee said is quite true of recent model dishwashers. You do save on water vs. the average water consumption when done by hand. And if the dishwasher is Energy Star certified (latest version) or similarly rated, you may save a wee bit on energy as well (on assumption that most of us wash using lots of warm or hot water.
    Um abraço,
    Keith

  3. I’ve always thought that doing dishes is one of the most annoying household chores. I like doing them by hand as well, however, because putting clean dishes away from the dishwasher is more difficult than just getting it all done at once!

  4. Hi, I just came by to look at this site. It looks really good and I liked viewing
    it, thank you for the great post!

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