Middleagemum.com: things I can live without -needy electronics

I am about to destroy the fridge in my kitchen. I am seconds away from grabbing a giant size hammer from the shed and smashing it into tiny, silent pieces. The reason for my rage is the constant, whinny beep it makes every time I leave the fridge door open for a mere moment. It is extremely needy and can’t cope with being open for too long and does this maddening ‘beep beep beep!’ at me, usually when I’m in the middle of a tricky culinary manoeuvre balancing mug of tea in one hand and straining spaghetti or some such with the other…It drives me insane.

I appreciate that the beep is supposed to be helpful, to remind me that I haven’t closed the fridge properly which I might regret later when…well I’m not sure what disaster might befall a fridge that’s left open apart from the fact everything gets a bit warmer. But instead, the  beep feels like the kitchen police, nagging me into acceptable domestic behaviour more suited to a Magnet kitchen advert…something I object very strongly to, I am not keen on being told what to do by my nearest and dearest so when the kitchen equipment starts to harass me  I’m really not going to take it well.

And it’s not just the fridge that beeps at the slightest provocation, EVERY inanimate electronic machine in my kitchen now has a voice, an annoying, needy little voice that doesn’t know when to stop. My nice new AEG washing machine beeps brightly when the wash is finished, the tumble dryer nags to have its water filter thingy emptied when it’s full, the steam iron beeps when it needs water and the couldn’t-live-without-it rice cooker has a (actually quite nice) Japanese sounding beep when the rice is done.

When did our ‘helpful’ electronics start talking back at us and ordering us around? Every time the fridge beeps, someone in the kitchen will tell it to f**k off.  I no longer shout at younger teen if he uses the F word at it either, I’m right behind him with the abuse. Sometimes you can’t hear yourself think when they all beep together, let alone tell which machine wants what (open?close?empty?refill?stop? start?). Our favourite cookery writer Debora  Robertson (@lickedspoon) tweeted at me one Sunday when I was complaining about the needy beeps that she wished they were designed to be an uplifting hymnal or some such, so at least it was a pleasent listen.

The better mannered equipment has a beep that goes on for a bit and then stops but some less well brought up machines just don’t know when to quit and go on and on until you tend to their demands, a bit like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory knocking on Penny’s door with his ‘Penny..knock knock..Penny.. knock knock..Penny..knock knock’ ad infinitum until she answers,( v funny but annoying if you are Penny). Enough already! It’s like I am living with slightly autistic design product.

So if any kitchen product designers are reading this, can we please STOP WITH THE BEEPING. Even Road Runner got annoying eventually and he was cute, something my fridge definitely is not. Thanks for thinking of a way of warning us that the world might come to an end if the bread maker isn’t acknowledged for its fine work in cooking the perfect loaf, but next time I buy any bit of kitchen machinery I’ll be heading straight  for the ones that aren’t quite so needy and wont beep at all.



  • Helen says:

    Gosh Amanda, that was a proper rant. I don’t think I have ever heard you bristling with quite so much rage.

    Luckily the only thing that beeps in our kitchen is the dishwasher, but I’m sure I would be just as inclined to kick and swear at any appliance that attempted to tell me what to do.

  • freethequay says:

    SO RIGHT!!

  • Anna says:

    Actually with you on this – the worst culprit in our house is the washing machine, which nags on and on and on. We also have a smoke alarm that goes off every time we make toast – which is every bloody day. Waving a cushion under it has become daily routine. I know I can take the batteries out – but can’t too paranoid about fire as our house is made of timber. xx

  • Marv says:

    Right with you, nothing that beeped in our kitchen would live more than a few days. And would quite probably have had even fruitier language than f-off yelled at it. Must however point out that it’s:

    ‘knock, knock, knock,
    knock, knock, knock,
    knock, knock, knock,

    I know this because I have a BBT mug. I love Sheldon, but fear that sometimes I recognise just a tad too much of myself in him!

  • Amanda says:

    Helen, I fear needy beeping electronic machines may be my achilles heel, a chink of badd-ass in my otherwise outward nice-ness. Sorry about that But I feel much better now I’ve got it off my chest. Thanks for listening.
    Anna, I nearly added the smoke alarm…we’ve actually disengaged ours now as it drove us mad. I know that’s terrible.
    Marv, thanks for putting me right on Sheldon, yes, you are right, you are a bit like him. A

  • Lesley says:

    Try lengthening the front legs of the fridge, so the door naturally swings back shut. If your fridge doesn’t have legs that screw so you can alter them, try sliding a thin block of wood under each of the front legs to tip it back slightly. It needs only a slight tilt to make the door swing shut.

  • Amanda says:

    Lesley…clever. A

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