…. yet, there have always been appliance repairmen.
This is a conversation that I have almost everyday. Seems like everyone has an old fridge or chest freezer in the basement that has ‘never needed a day of service.’ While in general I do believe that appliances made today will not last as long as older stuff did, I do see large differences between the appliances of yesteryear and today. i.e. fridges of more or less the same exterior dimensions hold almost 2x the food that older fridges did due to better insulation and lighter construction. Your old washer (top load style) would consume around 40 gallons per load where the new High Efficiency (HE) machines use as little as 5 gallons. The water savings are much the same in dishwashers as well.
Further, because of energy regulations, manufacturers are producing appliances with motors that are ‘just big enough’ to save energy rather than being way oversized which consumed a lot more energy. Oh … and all the complaints about electronics in stoves? They are more accurate with their temperature control now than they’ve ever been. I know people complain whenever they get a new oven or stove that it does not heat ‘properly’ but after testing, all I can ever show is that the set temperature is dead accurate. It is most often the case that people are used to the way their old stove cooked and sometimes have to adjust recipes and methods to match an appliance that is at temp rather than being 15 or 20 degrees too hot or too cool. (I use Betty Crocker cake mixes for testing … they come out great in a wide range of cooking environments, and are a great snack on a busy day. lol.)
My final thought on this topic is that modern appliances have way to many features and options. This is due to both consumer demand and regulation, but either way the multiple options and settings tend to cause more confusion than any help they may provide. I’ve ‘reset’ countless washers that were ‘not getting the clothes clean’ to use warm water instead of cold … higher water levels instead of ‘eco’ settings and less soap rather than ‘more is better.’ Too many options = confusion and a bad appliance experience.
The one thing I know is that as long as there are appliances, there will be appliance repair people!