Who makes the decision when it comes to household appliances?

Over a group dinner recently, I played a quick quiz game. I asked the hubbies present at the dinner the following questions: What is the brand of your washing machine, refrigerator, vacuum cleaner and toothbrush? My husband failed terribly. The other hubbies could at least tell me which brand toothbrush they used.

My hubby (T) does not get very much involved in household matters. I hardly consult him when I purchase a household appliance. I may ask him if he has a particular brand in mind, but I don’t make it a point to seek his input. Why? Well, the primary reason is that T is not really interested in such household decisions. He’s a relatively easy guy to please; just feed him well, make sure he has clean socks and underwear everyday and he couldn’t care a hoot what brand his bed sheets are. I like to think that T is a big picture fella, he gives me parameters where he deems fit, and leaves it to me to make the small decisions.

Take a few months ago, my washing machine broke down after a good 16 years of daily use. Knowing that I needed to get a replacement very quickly, I whatsapped my CG and some close friends to ask which models they were currently using and whether they would recommend that model. I also asked via Facebook and surfed the net to check out reviews. Yup, my research is generally this superficial. Hubby called me midway when I was doing my “research” and so I told him I was getting a new washing machine. I asked him one question – did he want a dryer as well? He replied “nope” and the conversation on the washing machine ended. With some recommendations from some friends (I went with the “majority wins” guideline), I made my way down to Parisilk at Holland Village to have a look at the model. Well, the model was apparently so popular in Singapore that it was sold out across the island. So, to decide on alternatives, I gave them my simple criteria: has to be front load, and no more than a 7kg load. I also asked which country the machine was manufactured in. The sales chap showed me a few models and I picked the second cheapest model which met all my 3 criteria. Yeah, I do adopt this strange mentality – if a model is sold at a much cheaper price than the second cheapest model, it’s likely too good to be true. And that’s that, transaction completed and delivery date arranged. At the cashier, impromptu, I asked the sales chap to show me where the hand held vacuum cleaners were displayed, and picked the second cheapest one as well, I had been meaning to try out one for a long time but never took the time to patronise an appliance shop just for this sole purpose.

This bo-chapness non interfering style of my hubby extends to other areas of our lives as a family as well. He doesn’t get into the details of how I choose which tuition programs to send our sons to (and I am so relieved that he has never asked me how much all the tuition leading up to Big D’s PSLE had cost!). When we go on holidays, T just tells me the dates he can take leave, and he decides which country to visit, and then I go do the research, work out the schedule and decide where to stay. T does chip in details occasionally and with good intent. He says my itinerary is very female and that I need to rev it up for our sons. Indeed, his additions to the travel programme brings a much more adventurous flavour to our holiday.

Anyway, back to the dinner I was telling you about, I asked this friend why he allows his wife to make most of his household decisions, he wisely replied that over the years, he has come to see that 99.5% of the decisions she makes are correct, so just let her make the decisions. Mind you, he’s a pre-marital counsellor in the church. I think, after reflecting on all this, that men give their wives decision making roles so that their wives won’t feel so constrained in their roles.