King versus Super Sized

My dryer is now acting out for attention by leaving rust colored marks on my clothes. It will have to be replaced. Consumer Reports’ recent review suggests either a GE model DPSB620GCWW (bear with me here) or Sears/K-Mart Kenmore model 7699/7698/7697/etc would be a good match for our staggering laundry production.

I wanted to compare flavors of brands because I noticed the model numbers are off by a few digits which means… GE has marketers who are also hoping to have a premium bundle with just enough bells and whistles that people will be willing to pay for.

The same thing happens with cars. For example, consider any vehicle. There’s usually a cheapskate entry-level line, sans suffixes, with cloth seats and functional, but boring wheel covers. For $600 more, you’ll get “traction control” and shiny, aluminum rims. Or, for $1,600 more, you get Corinthian Leather seats, a CD player, and remote mirrors. Or, you can buy the “LS” line with most of these for $2,100 more. Or, for still more money, you can buy the “Grand Touring” line with rhythmic independent suspension, heated remote mirrors, Canadian Leather seats, a multi-CD changer and a compass.

If this sounds confusing, it’s because it’s intended to be. They don’t want to sell me just remote mirrors (because my kids keep knocking them), when they can coerce me into buying something else. It’s all upsell. Such is the case with dryers.

There are three “trim lines” of this dryer. The DPSB620GCWW, hereafter referred to as “620” is the de luxe model. The middle trimline, the DPSB619GCWW, aka “619” is $60 less. Even less expensive than that is the DPSB613GCWW, aka “613.” Here are mini pictures:

Model: 620 619 613
MSRP $749 $689 $629

It’s pretty obvious what the diffences are, right? You don’t see it?!? Sheesh, the 620 is King Sized whereas the other two are merely Super Size. Do I have to spell it out for you? The 620 has 7 cubic feet capacity while the 619 and 613 have only … 7 cubic feet capacity.

But seriously, as best as I can tell, they’re all essentially the same dryer. The 620 has additional buttons on the faceplate enabling something called “Perfect Dry&tm; System”, defined as:

Uses dual electronic thermistors to quickly and evenly dry almost all types of fabrics. And it keeps pace with the wash system, so there’s no more waiting between loads.

It sounds 21st century, but my marketing bullshit detector was tripped on the weasel-word “almost” then again on the implication that the dryer and washer are in cahoots. (I know my old ones were conspiring against me.) Translated into English, they’re saying for $120 you get a few more heat settings and an LED countdown timer.

I happen to be enough of a tightwad that I’m going to spend time understanding the differences, but I found that GE’s comparison was slightly misleading. From their chart, you might think the 620 was bigger. It clearly isn’t. If I didn’t have kids, I might be interested in the additional delicate cycles. However all my clothes are doomed until my kids are in college .. but not enough that I’ll forgo free rust stains.

I’m picking on GE here because I’ve spent more time looking at their models. Sears — I still can’t get used to the idea that K-Mart bought Sears — is just as bad. At least their marketers have a cheesy sense of humor with this description of the ever-important interior dryer light:

Your socks will never go “AWOL” again, thanks to this handy feature! A convenient drum light enables you to see deep into the cavity of the drum to retrieve all your clothing items. That means no more missing socks!

The GE model is more expensive than the Sears dryer, though it’s hard to tell with all the rebate-ese. Since I can’t bring it home on my bike, I’m going to have to add a delivery fee, but that’s rebated back by each. One vendor offered an additional spiff since I’ve also purchased a GE washer recently. However, the stated offer expiration conflicts with the date on the form. Nondeterminism in pricing is usually bad.

7 Responses

  1. “I still can’t get used to the idea that K-Mart bought Sears”

    When I first heard that, I couldn’t believe my source hadn’t gotten the story backwards. K-mart has seemed to be on its last legs for ten years, and it just keeps on pulling out more legs. Wish I had some stock in it right about now.

    Good luck on the dryer.

  2. I got the 7.3cf LG model at Best Buy last year–even more important than the sock-finding light, these have controls that look like a MP3 player and it sounds like a classic NES game. Looks and sounds aside, it works great–and we wash/dry kids stuff, sleeping bags & comforters w/o problems.

    LG is definitely into the marketing game, too. They even change the order of the bullets to make it more difficult to determine differences between models. Basically, for the higher-end stacker you get ‘Attractive Design’ (a silver ring around the window, ‘TilTub’ (angled drum) and a couple more drying modes. Most importantly–both feature a ‘XL Load Capacity with NeveRust Stainless Steel Drum’ with both models.

  3. What has happened to natural products? Don’t you have sun over there? And no need for all this math ;-o)


  4. I apreciate the break down of the complex manufacturers washer and dryer marketing tactics. I and my wife are moving and looking to buy a good but efficient washer/dryer. I am amazed by all of the options/costs available to do two imple things (was and dry) In my opinion, and we all know what opinions are like, consumers are getting a screw job by manufacturers and service providers. We just sit back and accept having to pay for something that we don’t want and certainly don’t need so that some one else can make a buck. I have been conteplating on writing a book about the subject perhaps in an effort to seek out other consumtion consious peole like my self, or so that I too can cash in on the naievity of todays consumer. Either way, I apreciate the information contained within this and other blogs. I encurage others to stad up for them selves, become informedand about what you are actually paying for, and to not accept the crap handed to them by todays industy. We are not sheep, but we are certainly being led to the proverbial slaughter house.

    My two cents worth. Take it or leave it.