Oh, she's beautiful. But there are reports she could be deadly.
She's the designated washer in our household, elevated to that position by virtue of (1) my incompetence in choosing the correct settings for washing and drying various types of clothes, and the related (2), Laurel's emphatic "just let me do it" when I offer to wash something that she values.
So I shuffled along two steps behind as Laurel took the lead in both researching washers and dryers online, plus checking them out in various Salem stores: Sears, Best Buy, Kelly's, Lowes, Brand Source.
This was fine with me. I quickly realized that my skills in choosing high-tech devices such as computers were largely useless in this instance. Consider this interchange:
Me. "Hey, how about this model? Consumer Reports says it's top-rated."
Laurel. "No, I don't like the colors it comes in."
At first I vainly tried to argue that how a washer and dryer work is a lot more important than how they look. But this impeccable male logic fell on deaf female ears. When we were out to dinner with another couple, I turned to the other woman and said, "Can you believe that someone, such as a someone at this table, would reject a top-rated washer because it isn't available in a color that person likes?"
She said, "Absolutely." Her husband wisely didn't say a word.
I also spent quite a bit of time reading reviews of washers we were considering, including the Samsung. I was struck by how often aesthetics came up. I began to realize that my psyche was still stuck in the era when all washers and dryers were white, and they were hidden away as inconspicuously as possible.
On the other hand, some reviews on the Samsung web site said:
I LOVE MY NEW WASHER! First the color, the steel blue looks even better in my home next to the soft green walls of my third floor than it did in the store. I had second guesses in the store about the steel blue, but I’m one-hundred percent certain now that I made the best decision... When I saw it in the store, I fell in love with the design and the color. We painted our laundry room a soft yellow to contrast with the blue and it looks beautiful... The color is gorgeous and matches my brown and robins egg blue master bathroom.
Fortunately, Laurel and I eventually agreed that the Samsung WF419AAU and her drying consort were both technologically sound and aesthetically appealing. When we walked into Lowes and saw a 20% off sale on Samsung applicance, the deal was almost done.
First Laurel had to be reassured that the Silver Care option wasn't going to automatically permeate our clothing with gadzillions of silver nano-particles. We'd read...
The secret behind SAMSUNG’s unique ActivFresh technology is silver - quadrillions of sanitizing silver ions are released into every wash.
The "every wash" concerned my super-Green wife. Appropriately, because there are significant valid reasons to be worried about countless silver nano-particles being released into the environment with the wash water, not to mention into our skin.
I pointed out to Laurel the "ActivFresh" button on the washer. If it isn't pushed, I told her, we'll be safe from the Evil Silver. Salespersons on several stores agreed. So did Samsung support, when she phoned them.
So we decided to buy the washer because its desirable other features outweighed the Silver Care drawback. ("ActivFresh" appears to be a new name for Silver Care, perhaps to hide this nano-particle technology from environmentally aware customers).
"There probably are risks, but we just don't know what they are, and that's the problem," Pat Mooney, executive director of ETC Group, an organization that studies the environmental and social impact of emerging technologies, said. "We're eating [nanotechnology], we're using it in all kinds of products that we wear on our skin and our clothing, and yet governments have no capacity to understand or regulate it."
...In November 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advised Samsung Electronics that a washing machine that produces "nanosilver" particles to kill bacteria in clothing would be regulated as a pesticide. The EPA is playing coy, stating publicly that the move "does not represent an action to regulate nanotechnology," although in fact it appears to be exactly that.
Yes, it does.
Well, the silver in the washing machine supposedly is only about the size of a stick of gum. And it lasts for more than a thousand washes. So we'll probably survive if a finger slips and pushes the dreaded ActivFresh button by mistake.
If we're ever both found dead, wearing sparkling clean clothes and with no obvious sign of what killed us, take the Samsung washer in for questioning.