Television sets are excellent machines; the problem is only with what's on them. The sets themselves hardly ever break. That is apparently why it's a lot easier to find someone to replace your hip than it is to find someone to fix your television set.

Washing machines, unlike television sets, break all the time. So do dryers. Automatic dishwashers are even more fragile, maybe because they have a place for dropping spoons down.

Breakdowns dominate consumers' thoughts about these appliances. Maytag, rather than make commercials about how its machines get everything clean, makes commercials claiming that the machines break down so...

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